Russia has long had ambitions to invest the EEU with political as well as economic function, but Kazakhstan has resisted this strongly. The Kazakh authorities still see the EEU as a vital mechanism for intra-regional trade. However, proximity to the dominant economy has downsides, and there are signs that Kazakhstan is vulnerable to economic risks emanating from Russia.
- The Russian elite seems oblivious to the anger the EEU sanctions issue has created in Kazakhstan.
- Belarus's new anti-West stance sets it and Russia apart in the five-member EEU.
- EEU scepticism could shift Kazakh-Russian relations substantially once Nursultan Nazarbayev finally leaves the political scene.