Eurasian Integration: Effects on Central Asia
Rapidly growing Eurasian integration has become one of the most interesting developments in the post-Soviet region due to its economic and geopolitical dimensions. A Russian-led Eurasian integration process, which has included Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan so far, aims to establish a mechanism of intergovernmental cooperation focusing predominantly on economic partnership. With the establishment of supranational institutions in collaboration with the post-Soviet republics, Russia aims to reestablish its influence, foster economic ties and strengthen trade relationships in the region. While some experts see Eurasian integration as an important historical development, others are completely skeptical about itseffectiveness and even longevity. Eurasian integration has been perceived differently internationally. The United States sees Russian-led integration as the Kremlin’s imperial ambition to ‘re-Sovietize’ some of the former Soviet states by creating supranational structures that would eventually take control over not only economic issues but also political decision-making mechanisms. China, another interested state, interprets Eurasian integration as Moscow’s instrument for increasing Russian competitiveness in trade and securing access to Central Asia by setting up structural barriers to hinder Chinese competitiveness.