MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly submitted an agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union to the Russian parliament for ratification, Itar-Tass reports, quoting the Kremlin’s press office.
The agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was signed by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014, in Astana.
The agreement is the basic document defining the accords between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for creating the Eurasian Economic Union for the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce and conducting coordinated or common policies in key sectors of the economy, such as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.
The agreement stipulates the transition of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to the next stage of integration after the Customs Union and the common economic space.
The agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union is set to come into force on the territory of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan from January 1, 2015.
Putin has also approved the government’s proposal for Armenia’s accession to the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union.
The Russian president approved the government’s proposal on signing the corresponding agreement with Armenia, the Kremlin’s website said.
The Russian president’s instruction “deems it expedient to sign the Agreement at a session of the Higher Eurasian Economic Council at the level of the heads of state,” the document said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev cancelled a planned visit to Yerevan that was expected to focus on Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) reported, quoting Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian.
Abrahamian announced Medvedev’s trip, scheduled for September 8-9, on August 19, more than a month after the two men met in the Russian city of Sochi.
Abrahamian clarified on Monday that the Russian premier was supposed to arrive in the Armenian capital along with his counterparts from the two other EEU member states: Belarus and Kazakhstan. They had “tentatively” agreed to discuss the concrete terms of Armenia’s membership in the Russia-led bloc, he said.
Abrahamian told reporters that prime ministerial talks will not take place because “the matter [has] been transferred to the level of the presidents,” RFE/RL reports. “As you know, [Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan] Nazarbayev has stated that the [Kazakh, Russian and Belarusian] presidents will gather in Minsk on October 10,” he said.
One of the issues on the agenda of the Minsk summit is the signing of the accession treaty with Armenia that Putin approved, drafted in June by the EEU’s executive body, the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Both Belarus and Kazakhstan have been less enthusiastic about Armenia’s entry into the EEU than Russia, and the signing of the treaty before the end of this year is therefore not a forgone conclusion. It remains to be seen whether Yerevan’s membership bid will be further complicated by what appears to be friction between Moscow and Astana.
On Aug. 25, Nazarbayev told a Kazakh TV channel that he will not hesitate to pull his country out of the EEU if it poses a “threat to our independence.” In what some observers see as a stark warning to Kazakhstan’s longtime ruler, Putin publicly said four days later that the Kazakhs “had never had statehood” before the Soviet collapse and that most of them favor closer ties with Russia.