Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan want to create their own answer to the European Union within the next four years.
The three leaders signed a deal on Friday to improve economic ties between the three countries and remove barriers to trade.
It forms part of Moscow’s push to re-establish its influence from the Polish border to its Asian frontiers.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the agreement to create a Eurasian Economic Commission, modelled on the EU’s executive arm, was “a very powerful step towards a Eurasian Economic Union. A union that without doubt detmine the future of our countries.”
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the union, to be created by 2015, would be “the greatest in the post-Soviet world and the most attractive for our neighbours to join. “
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko also welcomed the deal.
The Eurasian Union idea was floated by Russian Prime Minister and former head of state Vladimir Putin last month.
He is expected to reclaim Russia’s top job in next year’s presidential election.