Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has proposed forming a “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet nations, saying the bloc could become a major global player competing for influence with the United States, the European Union and Asia. Putin, who has lamented the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” denied that his proposal represents an attempt to rebuild the Soviet empire.
But he said in an article published Tuesday in the daily Izvestia that the new alliance should emerge as “one of the poles of the modern world, serving as an efficient link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.”
“There is no talk about rebuilding the USSR in one way or another,” Putin said. “It would be naive to try to restore or copy something that belongs to the past, but a close integration based on new values and economic and political foundation is a demand of the present time.”
“We aren’t going to stop at that and are putting forward an ambitious task of reaching a new, higher level of integration with the Eurasian Union,” Putin said. “Along with other key players and regional structures, such as the European Union, the United States, China and the Asia Pacific Economic Community, it should ensure stability of global development.”
Some observers said that Putin’s article heralds what could become a top policy goal after his return to presidency. “From the geopolitical viewpoint it represents an attempt to revive the USSR,” Alexander Dugin, a political scholar and a longtime proponent of Russian expansionism, said in comments in online news agency Nakanune.