Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) came into effect in January 2015, replacing a customs union. The EEU is an attempt to integrate the economies of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia -- with Kyrgyzstan set to join in May -- into a single market of 175 million people with a combined GDP of 2.4 trillion dollars. Supranational and intergovernmental institutions are intended to ensure the free movement of goods, capital, services and people within the union, which also foresees common transport, agriculture and energy policies, a single currency, and closer future integration.
- Following Crimea's annexation, the EEU is increasingly seen by skeptics as a Russian attempt to grow its political influence in Eurasia.
- Kazakhstan will continue to develop strong relations with China and the West despite being an EEU member.
- Russia's economic slowdown may have serious consequences for remittance payments back to other EEU member countries.