The COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES (CIS; Russian : Содружество Независимых Государств, СНГ, tr. _Sodruzhestvo Nezavisimykh Gosudarstv, SNG_), also called the RUSSIAN COMMONWEALTH (to distinguish it from the English-speaking Commonwealth of Nations ), is a loose confederation of 9 member states and 2 associate members that are located in Eurasia , formed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union , and which were all former Soviet Republics . Georgia withdrew its membership in 2008, while the Baltic states ( Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania ), which regard their membership in the Soviet Union as an illegal occupation, chose not to participate.
The CIS has few supranational powers but aims to be more than a
purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers
in the realms of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also
promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention . Furthermore,
eight of the nine CIS member states participate in the CIS Free Trade
Area . Three organizations are under the overview of the CIS, namely
Collective Security Treaty Organization , the Eurasian Economic
Union (alongside subdivisions, the
Eurasian Customs Union and the
Eurasian Economic Space , which comprises territory inhabited by over
180 million people), and the
Union State . While the first and the
second are military and economic alliances, the third aims to reach a
supranational union of
* 1 History
* 2 Membership
* 2.1 Member states * 2.2 Associate states * 2.3 Former member state
* 3 Governance
* 3.1 Executive Secretaries * 3.2 Interparliamentary Assembly
* 4 Human rights
* 5 Military
* 6 Economy
* 7 Associated organisations
* 7.1 Organisation of Central Asian Cooperation * 7.2 Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations
* 8 Other activities
* 8.1 Controversial election observation mission * 8.2 Russian language status * 8.3 Sports events
* 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 References * 12 External links
Signing of the agreement to establish the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 8 December 1991
In March 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev , the president of the Soviet Union , proposed a federation by holding a referendum to preserve the Union as the Union of Sovereign States . The new treaty signing never happened as the Communist Party hardliners staged an attempted coup in August that year.
Following the events of August, the republics had declared their
independence fearing another coup. A week after the Ukrainian
independence referendum was held , which kept the chances of the
Soviet Union staying together low, the Commonwealth of Independent
States was founded on 8 December 1991 by the
Byelorussia SSR , the
Russian SFSR , and the
Ukraine SSR , when the leaders of the three
republics, met in the
Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50
km (31 mi) north of Brest in
On 21 December 1991, the leaders of eight additional former Soviet Republics – Armenia , Azerbaijan , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Moldova , Turkmenistan , Tajikistan , and Uzbekistan – signed the Alma-Ata Protocol which can either be interpreted as expanding the CIS to these states or the proper foundation or refoundation date of the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11. Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993. At this point, 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics participated in the CIS. The three Baltic states did not, reflecting their governments' and people's view that the post-1940 Soviet occupation of their territory was illegitimate (in 2004 they joined NATO and the European Union ).
Between 2003 and 2005, three CIS member states experienced a change of government in a series of colour revolutions : Eduard Shevardnadze was overthrown in Georgia; Viktor Yushchenko was elected in Ukraine; and Askar Akayev was toppled in Kyrgyzstan. In February 2006, Georgia withdrew from the Council of Defense Ministers, with the statement that "Georgia has taken a course to join NATO and it cannot be part of two military structures simultaneously", but it remained a full member of the CIS until August 2009, one year after officially withdrawing in the immediate aftermath of the Russo-Georgian War . In March 2007, Igor Ivanov , the secretary of the Russian Security Council, expressed his doubts concerning the usefulness of the CIS, emphasising that the Eurasian Economic Community was becoming a more competent organisation to unify the largest countries of the CIS. Following the withdrawal of Georgia, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan skipped the October 2009 meeting of the CIS, each having their own issues and disagreements with the Russian Federation.
There are nine full member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Creation Agreement remained the main constituent document of the CIS until January 1993, when the _CIS Charter_ (Russian : Устав, _Ustav_) was adopted. The charter formalised the concept of membership: a member country is defined as a country that ratifies the CIS Charter (sec. 2, art. 7).
Turkmenistan has not ratified the charter and changed its CIS standing to associate member as of 26 August 2005 in order to be consistent with its UN-recognised international neutrality status.
Ukraine was one of the founding countries and ratified the
Creation Agreement in December 1991,
Ukraine chose not to ratify the
CIS Charter as it disagrees with
In light of Russia’s support for the independence of breakaway regions within Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine, as well as its violation of the Istanbul Agreement (see Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty ), legislative initiatives to denounce the agreement on the creation of CIS were tabled in Moldova's parliament on 25 March 2014, though they were not approved.
COUNTRY AGREEMENT/PROTOCOL RATIFIED CHARTER RATIFIED NOTES
Armenia 000000001992-02-18-000018 February 1992 000000001994-03-16-000016 March 1994 Founding state
Azerbaijan 000000001993-09-24-000024 September 1993 000000001993-09-24-000024 September 1993
Kazakhstan 000000001991-12-23-000023 December 1991 000000001994-04-20-000020 April 1994 Founding state
Kyrgyzstan 000000001992-03-06-00006 March 1992 000000001994-04-12-000012 April 1994 Founding state
Tajikistan 000000001993-06-26-000026 June 1993 000000001993-08-04-00004 August 1993
Uzbekistan 000000001992-01-04-00004 January 1992 000000001994-02-09-00009 February 1994 Founding state
COUNTRY AGREEMENT/PROTOCOL RATIFIED CHARTER RATIFIED NOTES
Turkmenistan 000000001991-12-26-000026 December 1991 Not ratified Founding state. Associate since 2005.
Ukraine 000000001991-12-10-000010 December 1991 Not ratified Founding state. Participated since formation. Associate since 1993.
FORMER MEMBER STATE
COUNTRY AGREEMENT/PROTOCOL RATIFIED CHARTER RATIFIED WITHDRAWN EFFECTIVE NOTES
Georgia 3 December 1993 19 April 1994 18 August 2008 18 August 2009 Withdrew as a result of the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.
_ Meeting of CIS leaders in Bishkek , 2008.
NAME COUNTRY TERM
The Interparliamentary Assembly was established in 27 March 1992 in Kazakhstan . On 26 May 1995 CIS leaders signed the Convention on the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States eventually ratified by nine parliaments. Under the terms of the Convention, the IPA was invested with international legitimacy and is housed in the Tauride Palace in St Petersburg and acts as the consultative parliamentary wing of the CIS created to discuss problems of parliamentary cooperation and reviews draft documents of common interest and passes model laws to the national legislatures in the CIS (as well as recommendations) for their use in the preparation of new laws and amendments to existing legislation too which have been adopted by more than 130 documents that ensure the convergence of laws in the CIS to the national legislation. The Assembly is actively involved in the development of integration processes in the CIS and also sends observers to the national elections. The Assembly held its 32nd Plenary meeting in Saint Petersburg on 14 May 2009. Ukraine participates, but Uzbekistan does not.
Since its inception, one of the primary goals of the CIS has been to provide a forum for discussing issues related to the social and economic development of the newly independent states. To achieve this goal member states have agreed to promote and protect human rights. Initially, efforts to achieve this goal consisted merely of statements of good will, but on 26 May 1995, the CIS adopted a Commonwealth of Independent States Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Even before the 1995 human rights treaty , the Charter of the CIS that was adopted in 1991 created, in article 33, a Human Rights Commission sitting in Minsk, Belarus. This was confirmed by decision of the Council of Heads of States of the CIS in 1993. In 1995, the CIS adopted a human rights treaty that includes civil and political as well as social and economic human rights. This treaty entered into force in 1998. The CIS treaty is modeled on the European Convention on Human Rights , but lacking the strong implementation mechanisms of the latter. In the CIS treaty, the Human Rights Commission has very vaguely defined authority. The Statute of the Human Rights Commission, however, also adopted by the CIS Member States as a decision, gives the Commission the right to receive inter-state as well as individual communications.
CIS members, especially in Central Asia , continue to have among the world's poorest human rights records. Many activists point to the 2005 Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan, or the cult of personality around President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan (though not a CIS member), to show that there has been almost no improvement in human rights since the collapse of the Soviet Union in Central Asia. The consolidation of power by President Vladimir Putin has resulted in a steady decline in the modest progress of previous years in Russia. The Commonwealth of Independent States continues to face serious challenges in meeting even basic international standards.
Main articles: Collective Security Treaty Organization and Joint CIS Air Defense System
The CIS Charter establishes the Council of Ministers of Defense, which is vested with the task of coordinating military cooperation of the CIS member states. To this end, the Council develops conceptual approaches to the questions of military and defense policy of the CIS member states; develops proposals aimed to prevent armed conflicts on the territory of the member states or with their participation; gives expert opinions on draft treaties and agreements related to the questions of defense and military developments; issues related suggestions and proposals to the attention of the CIS Council of the Heads of State. Also important is the Council's work on approximation of the legal acts in the area of defense and military development.
An important manifestation of integration processes in the area of military and defense collaboration of the CIS member states is the creation, in 1995, of the joint CIS Air Defense System. Over the years, the military personnel of the joint CIS Air Defense System grew twofold along the western, European border of the CIS, and by 1.5 times on its southern borders.
When Boris Yeltsin became Russian Defence Minister on 7 May 1992, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov , the man appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the CIS Armed Forces, and his staff, were ejected from the MOD and General Staff buildings and given offices in the former Warsaw Pact Headquarters at 41 Leningradsky Prospekt on the northern outskirts of Moscow. Shaposhnikov resigned in June 1993.
In December 1993, the CIS Armed Forces Headquarters was abolished. Instead, 'the CIS Council of Defence Ministers created a CIS Military Cooperation Coordination Headquarters (MCCH) in Moscow, with 50 per cent of the funding provided by Russia.' General Viktor Samsonov was appointed as Chief of Staff. The headquarters has now moved to 101000, Москва, Сверчков переулок, 3/2, and 41 Leningradsky Prospekt has now been taken over by another Russian MOD agency.
The chiefs of the CIS general staffs have spoken in favor of integrating their national armed forces.
COLLECTIVE SECURITY TREATY ORGANIZATION
Main article: Collective Security Treaty Organization CSTO members GUAM members Other CIS members
Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) (Russian:
Организация Договора о Коллективной
Безопасности) or simply the
Ташкентский договор) first began as the CIS
Treaty which was signed on 15 May 1992, by
Russian Federation , Tajikistan
Uzbekistan , in the city of
Azerbaijan signed the
treaty on 24 September 1993, Georgia on 9 December 1993 and
The CST was set to last for a 5-year period unless extended. On 2
April 1999, only six members of the CSTO signed a protocol renewing
the treaty for another five-year period, while Azerbaijan, Georgia and
Uzbekistan refused to sign, and withdrew from the treaty instead;
The charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states, while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all. To this end, the CSTO holds yearly military command exercises for the CSTO nations to have an opportunity to improve inter-organisation cooperation. The largest-scale CSTO military exercise held to date were the "Rubezh 2008" exercises hosted in Armenia where a combined total of 4,000 troops from all 7 constituent CSTO member countries conducted operative, strategic, and tactical training with an emphasis towards furthering efficiency of the collective security element of the CSTO partnership.
In May 2007, the CSTO secretary-general Nikolai Bordyuzha suggested Iran could join the CSTO saying, "The CSTO is an open organisation. If Iran applies in accordance with our charter, we will consider the application." If Iran joined, it would be the first state outside the former Soviet Union to become a member of the organisation.
On 6 October 2007, CSTO members agreed to a major expansion of the organisation which would create a CSTO peacekeeping force that could deploy under a UN mandate or without one in its member states. The expansion would also allow all members to purchase Russian weapons at the same price as Russia. CSTO signed an agreement with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the Tajik capital Dushanbe , to broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug trafficking.
On 29 August 2008,
In October 2009, Ukraine refused permission for the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center to hold anti-terrorist exercises on its territory because Ukraine's constitution bans foreign military units from operating on its territory.
The largest military exercises ever held by the CSTO, involving up to 12,000 troops, were conducted between 19 and 27 September 2011 to raise preparedness and co-ordination in anti-destabilization techniques, to counter any attempts at popular uprisings like the Arab Spring .
Main article: Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area
In 1994, the CIS countries "agreed" to create a free trade area (FTA), but the agreements were never signed. The 1994 agreement would have covered all twelve then CIS members except Turkmenistan.
In 2009, a new agreement was begun to create a FTA, the CISFTA . In October 2011, the new free trade agreement was signed by eight of the eleven CIS prime ministers; Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine at a meeting in St. Petersburg. As of 2013, it has been ratified by Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Armenia, and is in force only between those states.
The free trade agreement eliminates export and import duties on a number of goods but also contains a number of exemptions that will ultimately be phased out. An agreement was also signed on the basic principles of currency regulation and currency controls in the CIS at the same October 2011 meeting.
Corruption and bureaucracy are serious problems for trade in CIS countries.
EURASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
Main article: Eurasian Economic Community
Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC or EAEC) originated from a
customs union between
COMMON ECONOMIC SPACE
After discussion about the creation of a common economic space
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries of
On 22 May 2003, the _
Verkhovna Rada _ (the Ukrainian Parliament)
voted 266 votes in favour and 51 against the joint economic space.
However, most believe that
Viktor Yushchenko 's victory in the
Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 was a significant blow against
the project: Yushchenko has shown renewed interest in Ukrainian
membership in the
European Union and such membership would be
incompatible with the envisioned common economic space. Yushchenko's
Viktor Yanukovych stated on 27 April 2010 "Ukraine's entry
into the Customs Union of Russia,
COUNTRY POPULATION (2015) GDP 2007 (USD) GDP 2012 (USD) GDP GROWTH (2012) GDP PER CAPITA (2007) GDP PER CAPITA (2012)
Kazakhstan 17,417,447 104,849,915,344 196,642,000,000 5.2% 6,805 11,700
Kyrgyzstan 5,776,500 3,802,570,572 6,197,000,000 0.8% 711 1,100
Tajikistan 8,610,000 2,265,340,888 7,263,000,000 2.1% 337 900
Uzbekistan 31,025,500 22,355,214,805 51,622,000,000 4.1% 831 1,800
Azerbaijan 9,356,100 33,049,426,816 71,043,000,000 3.8% 3,829 7,500
Armenia 3,022,000 9,204,496,419 10,551,000,000 2.1% 2,996 3,500
Euler diagram showing the relationships among various supranational organisations in the territory of the former Soviet Unionv • d • e
ORGANISATION OF CENTRAL ASIAN COOPERATION
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
formed the OCAC in 1991 as
Central Asian Commonwealth (CAC). The
organisation continued in 1994 as the Central Asian Economic Union
(CAEU), in which
Turkmenistan did not participate. In
1998 it became the Central Asian Economic Cooperation (CAEC), which
marked the return of Tajikistan. On 28 February 2002 it was renamed to
its current name.
COMMUNITY FOR DEMOCRACY AND RIGHTS OF NATIONS
Main article: Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations
The post-Soviet disputed states of Abkhazia , the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic , South Ossetia , and Transnistria are all members of the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations which aims to forge closer integration among the members.
CONTROVERSIAL ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION
The CIS Election Monitoring Organisation (Russian : Миссия наблюдателей от СНГ на выборах) is an election monitoring body that was formed in October 2002, following a Commonwealth of Independent States heads of states meeting which adopted the _Convention on the Standards of Democratic Elections, Electoral Rights, and Freedoms in the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States_. The CIS-EMO has been sending election observers to member countries of the CIS since this time; they approved many elections which have been heavily criticised by independent observers.
* The democratic nature of the final round of the Ukrainian
presidential election, 2004 which followed the
Orange Revolution and
brought into power the former opposition, was questioned by the CIS
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
found no significant problems. This was the first time ever that the
CIS observation teams challenged the validity of an election, saying
that it should be considered illegitimate. On 15 March 2005, the
Ukrainian Independent Information Agency quoted Dmytro Svystkov (a
spokesman of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry) that
suspended its participation in the CIS election monitoring
* The CIS praised the
Uzbekistan parliamentary elections, 2005 as
"legitimate, free and transparent" while the OSCE had referred to the
Uzbek elections as having fallen "significantly short of OSCE
commitments and other international standards for democratic
* Moldovan authorities refused to invite CIS observers in the
Moldovan parliamentary elections, 2005 , an action
RUSSIAN LANGUAGE STATUS
At the time of the Soviet Union's dissolution in December 1991, its
sports teams had been invited to or qualified for various 1992 sports
events. A joint CIS team took its place in some of these. The "Unified
Team " competed in the
1992 Winter Olympics and
1992 Summer Olympics ,
and a CIS association football team competed in
UEFA Euro 1992 . A CIS
bandy team played some friendlies in January 1992 and made its last
appearance at the 1992
Russian Government Cup , where it also played
against the new
Since then, CIS members have each competed separately in international sport.
1. ^ The Commonwealth of Independent States and the Commonwealth of Nations are also called the "Russian Commonwealth" and the "British Commonwealth" respectively to differentiate between them.
* ^ CIS leaders sign free trade deal, 18 October 2011. Retrieved 21
* ^ Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS: 3 founding
countries, 8 December 1991 (UNOFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION). RUSSIAN
* ^ Plokhy, Serhii, The Last Empire: The final days of the Soviet
Union, Oneworld, London (2014), ISBN 9781780746463 , pp 356 – 365
* ^ Alma-Ata Declaration: 11 countries accede to the CIS, 21
December 1991 (ENGLISH TRANSLATION). RUSSIAN text here
* ^ _A_ _B_ Ratification status of CIS documents as of 15 January
2008 Archived 30 October 2008 at the
Wayback Machine . (RUSSIAN)
* ^ 3 February 2006 (11 September 2001). "Georgia opts out of
ex-Soviet military cooperation body". Pravda.Ru. Retrieved 23 July
* ^ "
RIA Novosti – World – Georgia\'s quitting CIS council will
not affect security – Russian minister". En.rian.ru. Retrieved 23
_ Wikivoyage has a travel guide for COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES _.
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* CIS Executive Committee * Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the CIS *