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Putin proposes the formation of a 'Eurasian Union'

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the union would be based on a higher level of economic integration between former Soviet states – but insisted it was not some kind of re-formation of the Soviet Union.

Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/Press Association Images

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER Vladimir Putin has proposed that ex-Soviet states form a “Eurasian Union” from next year, which would aim to encourage a higher level of economic integration based on trade liberalisation between countries.

Putin wrote an article outlining his proposal which was published in the daily newspaper Izvestia. He insisted that he was not suggesting some kind of re-formation of the Soviet Union, saying that such a move would be “naive”.

He said that the Eurasian Union would seek economic integration with the European Union, Bloomberg reports.

It was recently announced that Putin would be seeking a return to the office of president when Dmitry Medvedev steps  down from the post next March; before Medvedev took over the presidency, Putin had held the position for eight consecutive years.

The announcement regarding the Putin’s presidential ambitions was met with some high-profile and public resistance: Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was asked to resign after saying that he would not continue to serve in Cabinet if Putin returned as President.

Kudrin has been widely credited with safeguarding the country’s fragile economy during his time in office, and concerns have been raised about the possible impact his leaving will have.

The proposal comes as Russia nears the end of 18 years of membership negotiations with the World Trade Organisation, Reuters reports.

Read: ‘He’s more popular’: Medvedev defends Putin’s latest presidential bid>
Read: Russia’s finance minister quits… after being ordered to>

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