In his last major address as Russia's prime minister before retaking the presidency, Vladimir Putin outlined "five priorities" for his third presidential term. His fifth task is to boost cooperation across the Eurasian space, enhancing Russia's global position by having it lead a new effort towards integrating the states of the former Soviet Union. Speaking before the Duma last Wednesday, Putin said, "Creation of a common economic space is the most important event in post-Soviet space since the collapse of the Soviet Union."
Russia is already in a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, and it has long sought to bring Ukraine into the common economic space. Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization may help to remove some of the barriers that impeded Ukraine's participation. In addition, at the recent summit meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community in Moscow, the countries that make up the customs union, as well as the other Central Asian states that are members, committed to completing work on a proposed Eurasian Union treaty by 2015.