Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 116

Russia’s deputy prime minister and CIS Interstate Economic Committee chairman Aleksei Bolshakov expects Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan to join the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union "in the near future." He said that experts are currently completing the drafting of relevant documents to ensure free movement of their goods across their territories. Bolshakov added that enterprises of the former USSR military-industrial complex on the successor countries’ territories can play an important role in the countries’ reintegration. (12)

The optimistic forecast appears designed to benefit the government in the current electoral campaign. The Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union is itself far from accomplished. The free movement of goods is less a function of interstate agreements than of Russian political decisions. Most recently, after Kazakhstan lifted all customs controls on the Kazakh-Russian border, Russia maintained its controls, ostensibly to keep out third-country goods, in reality, to protect Russian producers. Moscow does seek resuming control of military enterprises in those countries. Bolshakov last week conferred with Kyrgyzstan officials on reactivating the Issyk-Kul high-precision torpedo plant.

1. Reuter and Interfax, October 19

2. Reuter and Interfax, October 19

3. Interfax, October 18

4. Interfax, October 18

5. Interfax, October 17

6. Interfax, October 18

7. Interfax, October 17

8. BNS, October 17 and 18

9. BNS, October 17 and 18

10. Interfax-Ukraine, October 18

11. Interfax-West, October 17

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