With the Commonwealth of Independent States virtually a dead letter, the former Soviet Union may be realigning in ethnic blocs. The predominantly Slavic countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus announced they will form an economic union with the aim of adopting common tariffs, trade rules, and perhaps even a single customs agency. Also, an Islamic-oriented grouping seems to be forming among Azerbaijan and the five Central Asian republics. The three Baltic republics constitute a third bloc.

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