The leaders of the member states of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EES) recently gathered for a videoconference to discuss the "strategic directions of development for Eurasian economic development through 2025."
Judging from reports, the leaders did not make much progress in their discussion.
Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev complained that EES plans disregarded the sovereignty of individual member states and Kyrgyz President Soronbai Jeenbekov called for the EES to have an arbitration court to resolve, among other matters, transit disputes that have taken a toll on his country's imports and exports and according to at least one report led to Kyrgyzstan having the highest increase in food prices among the five EES countries during the first four months of 2020.
Aside from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, the EES also includes Armenia and Belarus, while Moldova and Uzbekistan are observers.
On the latest Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager for South and Central Asia, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion looking at the problems during the May 19 videoconference and where that leaves the EES.
This week's guests are: Irina Busygina, a professor at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia, but currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University's Davis Center; from Bishkek, Askar Sydykov, the executive director of the International Business Council of Kyrgyzstan; from London, Ben Godwin, the head of analysis at PRISM political risk management; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.