Kazakhstan welcomes Putin's Eurasian Union concept


Nursultan-NazarbayGovernments in the West may have read with alarm that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wanted to build a Eurasian Union out of the former Soviet bloc but in Kazakhstan the news was welcomed.


Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev first mentioned the concept of a Eurasian Union during a speech at a Moscow University in May 1994, less than three years after the breakup of the Soviet.


Since then Kazakhstan has transformed itself from a Central Asian backwater with aging Soviet infrastructure into a confident, global energy supplier complete with a new capital city full of glass and steel towers designed by some of the world leading architects.


But despite massive investment from the West and more recently China, the old ties to Russia remain strong as Roman Vassilenko, head of press and information at the Kazakh foreign ministry, explained.


"Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev personally have always stood for closer economic integration with Russia and other countries of the former USSR," he told the Daily Telegraph.


"The Eurasian Union that President Nazarbayev first proposed in 1994 is envisaged as a mutually beneficial union of mutually respectful partners."