There has been some concern over the new Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia which came into effect after July 2011. On November 19, 2011 the founding member states put together a joint commission on fostering closer economic ties, planning to create a Eurasian Union by 2015 – from January 1, 2012, the three states have begun introducing a single economic space, along with the Russian Federation’s entry into the WTO. The United States seems mildly opposed to the Customs Union, seeing it as an attempt to reestablish a Russian dominated Soviet-type union amongst the Post-USSR states. So far this has not been the case – in fact it has allowed greater cross territory trade to take that otherwise would have been 10s of billions USD less! Armenia, the Ukraine,  Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan are due to decide on union status in 2013 along with oddly enough Vietnam?

The US is mildly opposed to the Customs Union, seeing it as an attempt to reestablish a Russian dominated Soviet-like union amongst the former USSR republics as mentioned earlier, Former Secretary of State Clinton stated in December 2012: `It’s not going to be called that [USSR]. It’s going to be called customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that, but let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.’ Again much of this fervor has been dismissed by the business world, the IMF and the World Bank.

The Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC) was established by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, having grown out of the CIS Customs Union. Ukraine and Moldova have observer status in the community, however Ukraine has declared its desire not to become a full member state. Because having common borders with the rest of the community is a prerequisite for full membership, Moldova is thus barred from seeking it. Uzbekistan applied for membership in October 2005, when the process of merging CACO and the Eurasian Economic Community began; it joined on 25 January 2006.

EURASEC is being transformed as of 2010, along withe new Customs Union as a WTO entry vehicle for the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and with the possible help of the new Ukrainian Government (the Ukraine – which became a WTO member state in 2008). These other former Soviet Republics have never been accepted with the exception of the Ukraine, which leaned heavily West until 2010

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) consists of 12 former Soviet Republics that differ in their membership status. As of September 2008, 9 countries have ratified the CIS charter and are full CIS members (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), one country (Turkmenistan) is an associate member, one country (Georgia) has declared its decision to leave the CIS, and one country (Ukraine) is a founding and participating country, but legally not a member country – but again this may change with the new Moscow-centric President Viktor Yanukovych being elected in just February 2010.

The Union State (Russian: Союзное государство, Belarusian: Саюзная дзяржава), semi-officially known as Union State of Russia and Belarus (Russian: Союзное государство России и Беларуси, Belarusian: Саюзная дзяржава Расіі і Беларусі), is a supranational entity consisting of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

Originally, the Commonwealth of Russia and Belarus was formed on April 2, 1996. The basis of the union was strengthened on April 2, 1997, with the signing of the “Treaty on the Union between Belarus and Russia” at which time its name was changed to the Union of Belarus and Russia. Several further agreements were signed on December 25, 1998, with the intention of providing greater political, economic, and social integration. Nevertheless, the nature of this original political entity remained exceedingly vague. Under pressure from his own political opponents, who advocated a reunion of the two states, and from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who sought to tie his exceedingly weak economy to Russia’s, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin initiated the creation of the current Union in order to harmonize the political and economic differences between the two nations. A similar proposal had been put forward by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1994, envisioning the founding of a `Eurasian Union,’ but this proposal was never adopted or seriously pursued. The Treaty on the Creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus was signed on December 8, 1999. The intention was to eventually achieve a United Federation like the Soviet Union; with a common president, parliament, flag, coat of arms, anthem, constitution, army, citizenship, currency, etc. The current Union was ratified by the Russian State Duma on December 22, 1999 and the National Assembly of Belarus on January 26, 2000. The latter is the date the Treaty and the Union officially came into effect.

With a possible Moscow-centric and newly-elected Ukraine President and government on the horizon, and the joint Customs Union of the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan being created (all Foundation States of the former USSR) … many in the West have suggested that the Kremlin is pushing for the recreation of a Soviet-like Union of Republics.