RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has denied that he is trying to reinvent the Soviet Union, dismissing as “rubbish” accusations by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton last week called Putin’s initiative to unite former Soviet countries into a Eurasian Union and Customs Union “a move to re-Sovietise the region.”
While meeting top activists in his presidential campaign on Monday, Putin dismissed such comparisons, saying there are economic rather than political reasons for uniting the former Soviet allies.
“It’s very strange to hear when some colleagues abroad say that … it is a rebirth of Russia’s ambitions as the former Soviet Union. What rubbish.
“This is a process which is totally natural.
“We have a common language, to a certain extent a common mentality, a common transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure,” he said.
Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin was even more abrasive in his comments, comparing Clinton’s “intervention and prevention of positive processes” of post-Soviet integration to the “clumsy gait of a lame duck,” according to Interfax news agency.
Clinton is due to leave office when President Barack Obama begins his second mandate following his presidential election victory last month.
“Let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it,” Clinton said last Friday ahead of meeting Russia’s foreign minister in Dublin.
Uniting ex-Soviet countries into the Eurasian Union was first proposed by Putin in a pre-election article last October.
He called the project a “historical breakthrough” that will change the geopolitical configuration of the continent.
Currently Russia is in a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, which is proclaimed as a basis for further integration in the region.