Over at The Diplomat, I look at the cycle of Russian officials continually lobbying for a common Eurasian Union currency, and Kazakh officials continually pushing back:
The most recent line of divergence came forward earlier this month, in the vein of a common currency. Like common passports before it, Kazakhstan had managed for the past year to stanch movement toward a single EEU currency. Time and again, Russian officials had lobbed notions of a single currency with Kazakhstan officials repeatedly demurring, highlighting the fact that no substantive discussions, let alone agreements, had taken place within EEU bodies.
Russian officials, however, seem to not have gotten the message, and seem set on continuing to lobby the inevitability of a common currency within the EEU. On December 2, Russia’s National Payment Council Alexander Murychev told Izvestia that a common currency was all but certain. Further, Murychev added that intra-EEU transactions would soon ban both dollars and euros, building a “joint payment space” based, for the time being, on national currencies. “The creation of a single payment space in the EEU will create … a fast transition to a single currency space,” Murychev said. According to Tengrinews, Duma member Natalya Burykina backed Murychev’s claims, “in light of the plans to create a single economic space within the EEU.” Russian official Yevgeny Tarlo further added support to banning the dollar and euro because “the collapse of the US economy could not be ruled out.”
The Kazakhstani response was swift, with the country’s National Chamber of Entrepreneurs noting that the current EEU treaty “does not preclude use of foreign currencies in mutual settlements between residents of the EEU member-states.” The Eurasian Economic Commission even weighed in, noting that the proposal to ban dollars and euros “had no basis in reality.”