Petr Topychkanov: The Customs Union and Afghanistan are Separate IssuesMarch 26, 2014, 06:00
At the public lecture, “Afghanistan After the Withdrawal of the International Coalition: Threats, Risks and Challenges for Russia,” Carnegie Moscow Center analyst Petr Topychkanov claimed that Afghanistan’s problems would not spread or affect the Customs Union.
According to Mr Topychkanov, the Russian authorities now perceive the CU as a political project.
“Though the [Customs Union] had some political roots, it was primarily conceived as an economic project. After the events in Ukraine, the project was reconceived as a political one…some voices in the Russian government began to present the project as a political vehicle,” he said.
Co-presenter Alexei Malashenko, senior researcher of “Religion, Society and Security” in the Moscow Carnegie Center further stated his opinion that the idea that joining the Customs Union will have a negative impact on Kyrgyzstan’s national interests does not correspond to reality.
“The Customs Union is first and foremost an economic integrative process. Countries will be able to cooperate during integration without harming their respective national interests.” However, he noted that the events in Ukraine have “hugely damaged the integrative process.”
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