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How Will the Crimea Debacle Affect $170 Billion FDI Investment in Kazakhstan?

What might Putin’s actions in Crimea mean for Kazakhstan, where foreign investors since 2005 have poured more than $170 billion in FDI into the country, primarily in the energy sector? In 2013 Kazakhstan’s oil production surged to roughly 1.64 million barrels per day. Kazakhstan has three percent of the world’s raw materials, with nearly 40 billion barrels of oil reserves and two percent of global production.

The wild card is the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU), founded in 2005 binding Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, which is due to be replaced by the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on 1 January 2015. The Russian-dominated union will potentially control one-third of the world’s proven natural gas reserves. Putin’s EEU Eurasian integration vision is widely perceived as an ideological alternative to the EU, “Soviet Union lite.” Ukraine had under Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich been negotiating to join the EEU. In an indication of the EEU’s importance to Putin despite rising tensions with Ukraine, which increased after Yanukovich fled to Russia on 22 February, on 5 March Putin convened a snap summit in Moscow. There the Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko and Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev reaffirmed their support for signing a treaty establishing the EEU to supercede the ECU by May 2014 at the latest, in less than two months. Sixteen days later, Putin signed legislation formally annexing Crimea, leading the…

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