Vladimir Putin creates ex-Soviet trade bloc, denies new USSR
Published on May 29, 2014 7:15 PM
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty with Kazakhstan and Belarus on Thursday creating a vast trading bloc which he hopes will challenge the economic might of the United States, the European Union and China.
Mr Putin denies the forging of the Eurasian Economic Union with two other former Soviet republics, coupled with Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, means he wants to rebuild a post-communist Soviet Union or as much of it as he can.
He does, however, intend the alliance, with a market of 170 million people, a combined annual GDP of US$2.7 trillion (S$ 3.3 trillion) and vast energy riches, to demonstrate that Western sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine will not isolate Russia.
But the world's major economic powers may not be quaking in their boots.
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