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The Empire is back!
15 February 2013

Nothing can stop or slow down the reintegration of the post-Soviet space, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

According to the Russian News Agency RIA Novosti Putin told a meeting of officers of the Russian Security Service the FSB "We've heard some recent nervous and outspoken remarks regarding integration in the post-Soviet space. Let's put them down to the emotional rhetoric of these politicians."  

"Close integration is an intrinsic global process," he said, adding Russia could face attempts to stop work toward integration.

"Different forms of pressure, including mechanisms of so-called ‘soft power' may be used here," the president said calling for closer contacts with Belarus, Kazakhstan and other integration partners.

"Any direct or indirect interference in our domestic matters, any forms of pressure on Russia, our allies and partners is intolerable," Putin said.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have since January 1, 2012, been part of a Common Economic Space (EEP), or Customs Union. The union allows free movement of capital, goods and services across the three states' national borders. Kazakhstan's Central Asian neighbor Kyrgyzstan has applied to join.

Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment:

"The choice of audience for this statement is unfortunate, and will not fill people with hope or encouragement. If Putin is looking at his security service as the tool to achieve re-integration of the Soviet space it could only mean that all other means have been considered and exhausted. There is absolutely no appetite in the former Soviet republics for any kind of recreation of the Soviet Union. The successor states are now well entrenched as independent states, and the elites that were the backbone of the Soviet system are now very comfortable in their new roles in the independent countries. Putin may still represent a generation of Russians that hanker with nostalgia for the Soviet days, but even among Russians the mood is changing and on this as on other issues Putin is coming across as increasingly "yesterday's man". This is all unfortunate since Russia could and should be a key player in the Eurasian region using its cultural and economic clout rather than the old tools of the past. Putin's statement could have been better understood if it was made to a group of businessmen or University rectors. By raising the issue in front of his security service officers Putin has shown insensitivity and lack of vision."

source: commonspace.eu with RIA Novosti News Agency

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