Economic integration in the Commonwealth of Independent States: perspectives, problems, solutions : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Policy at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
It has been 17 years since the Soviet Union broke up and its constituent countries gained their independence. In the beginning years the sovereignty was considered an indisputable priority, resulting in economic matters being put off. However, in the light of slow economic development in the area, it seemed to be imperative for these countries to pursue economic integration. Backed up by political will, several attempts had been made to establish various integration groupings, one of them being the Commonwealth of Independent States. The established organisation’s main aim was to assist countries in preserving the connecting links inherited from the former Soviet Union. Some of the countries in the region managed to achieve relatively high growth rates mainly due to their individual efforts. Unfortunately, so far, none out of a number of proposed integration projects has proven to be an effective and binding tool in the political and economic development of the region. This thesis aims to identify problems standing in the way of economic integration of the Commonwealth of Independent States. As of now, a free trade area – the initial form of economic integration – has not been established. Although trade ties between the member states function, the main export destination of these states is outside the Commonwealth. It is recommended that the initial steps in setting up a free trade area in this territory should begin with developing integration within regional associations, due to smaller numbers of participants and their common interests.