Rafael Ultanbaev, Ph.D. (Econ.), leading researcher, Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia)

The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) is regarded as the most successful and promising integration project in the post-Soviet space.

This community came into being as the result of an unsuccessful attempt to integrate the newly independent states established after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. within the Commonwealth of Independent States. In effect, this was a manifestation of the partner countries adequate response to the challenges of our day, and also of their desire to find their own place in a globalizing world and make effective use of their untapped potential in their common interests.

The creation of an international regional economic organization consisting of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan was a logical completion of the process of gradual change in the nature of the association between these five CIS countries, which had taken the road of real economic integration.

The first step on this road was the signing in 1995 of a Customs Union Agreement between Russia and Belarus, subsequently joined by Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and later by Tajikistan. A major stage in the development of cooperation between these states was the conclusion in 1996 of a Treaty on Deepening Integration in the Economic and Humanitarian Fields, which provided for the creation of a community of integrated states.

The desire to make more efficient use of their production, scientific and technological ties and their economic complementarity for a recovery from the 1998 financial crisis brought the

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