Commonwealth of Independent States

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)[3] is a regional intergovernmental organization of 10 post-Soviet republics in Eurasia formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It has an area of 20,368,759 km² (8,097,484 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 239,796,010. The CIS encourages cooperation in economical, political and military affairs and has certain powers to coordinate trade, finance, lawmaking and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention.

The CIS has its origins in the Soviet Union (USSR), which replaced the old Russian Empire in 1917 when it was established by the 1922 Treaty and Declaration of the Creation of the USSR by the Russian SFSR, Byelorussian SSR and Ukrainian SSR. When the USSR began to fall in 1991, the founding republics signed the Belavezha Accords on 8 December 1991, declaring the Soviet Union would cease to exist and proclaimed the CIS in its place. A few days later the Alma-Ata Protocol was signed, which declared that Soviet Union was dissolved and that the Russian Federation was to be its successor state. The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), which regard their membership in the Soviet Union as an illegal occupation, chose not to participate. Georgia withdrew its membership in 2008. Ukraine, which participated as an associate member, ended its participation in CIS statutory bodies on 19 May 2018.[3]

Eight of the nine CIS member states participate in the CIS Free Trade Area. Three organizations are under the overview of the CIS, namely the 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 Russia and Belarus with a common government, flag, currency and so on.

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

Содружество Независимых Государств
Flag of Commonwealth of Independent States
Emblem of Commonwealth of Independent States
CIS (orthographic projection)
Largest cityMoscow
Official languagesRussian
Recognised regional languages
Minority languages
• CIS Executive Secretary
Sergei Lebedev
Alexey Sergeev
• Chairperson of the IPA CIS Council
Valentina Matviyenko
LegislatureCIS Executive Committee
Interparliamentary Assembly[1]
8 December 1991
21 December 1991
25 December 1991
22 January 1993
• Free Trade Area established
20 September 2012
• Total
20,368,759[2] km2 (7,864,422 sq mi)
• 2018 estimate
236,446,000 (without Crimea)
• Density
11.77/km2 (30.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
US$5.378 trillion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
• Total
US$2.696 trillion
• Per capita
HDI (2017)0.740
Time zoneUTC+2 to +12
Driving sideright
Internet a
Preceded by
Soviet Union
a De facto use across the CIS



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.

Belavezha Accords and Alma-Ata Protocol (1991–1993)

Flag of the CIS (UEFA Euro 1992)
Provisional flag of the CIS
RIAN archive 848095 Signing the Agreement to eliminate the USSR and establish the Commonwealth of Independent States
Signing of the agreement to establish the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 8 December 1991

Following the events of August's failed coup, 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 in its place on 8 December 1991 by the Byelorussian SSR, the Russian SFSR, and the Ukrainian SSR, when the leaders of the three republics met at the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50 km (31 mi) north of Brest in Belarus, and signed the "Agreement Establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States", known as the Creation Agreement (Russian: Соглашение, translit. Soglasheniye).

The CIS announced that the new organization would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union, and to other nations sharing the same goals. The CIS charter stated that all the members were sovereign and independent nations and thereby effectively abolished the Soviet Union. 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,[4] thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11.[5] Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993.[6] 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). The CIS and Soviet Union also legally co-existed briefly with each other until 26 December 1991, when Soviet President Gorbachev stepped down, officially dissolving the Soviet Union. This was followed by Ivan Korotchenya becoming Executive Secretary of the CIS on the same day.[7]

After the end of the dissolution process of the Soviet Union, Russia and the Central Asian republics were weakened economically and faced declines in GDP. Post-Soviet states underwent economic reforms and privatisation.[journal 1][8] The process of Eurasian integration began immediately after the break-up of the Soviet Union to salvage economic ties with Post-Soviet republics.[journal 2]

CIS Charter (1993 to present)

CIS Summit 20-22 June 2000-1
The 20–22 June 2000 CIS Summit

On 22 January 1993, the Charter (Statutes) of the CIS were signed, setting up the different institutions of the CIS, their functions, the rules and statutes of the CIS. The Charter also defined that all countries having ratified the Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS and its relevant (Alma-Ata) Protocol would be considered to be founding states of the CIS, as well as that only countries ratifying the Charter would be considered to be member states of the CIS (art. 7). Other states can participate as associate members or observers, if accepted as such by a decision of the Council of Heads of State to the CIS (art. 8). All the founding states, apart from Ukraine and Turkmenistan, ratified the Charter of the CIS and became member states of it. Nevertheless, Ukraine and Turkmenistan kept participating in the CIS, without being member states of it. Ukraine became an associate member of the CIS Economic Union in April 1994, and Turkmenistan became an associate member of the CIS in August 2005. Georgia left the CIS altogether in 2009 and Ukraine stopped participating in 2018.

During a speech at Moscow State University in 1994, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, suggested the idea of creating a "common defense" space within the CIS[9][10][11][12] Nazarbayev idea was quickly seen as a way to bolster trade, boost investments in the region, and serve as a counterweight to the West and East Asia.[10][13]

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",[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

The Council of Foreign Ministers met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 11 April 2003 to discuss the War in Iraq and consider a draft program for the fight against terrorism and extremism, with the particularly the need for an international role in post-war Iraq, was further addressed at the May summit in St. Petersburg.[18]

In May 2009, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine joined the Eastern Partnership, a project which was initiated by the European Union (EU).


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.[19] 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 therefore is not formally a member of the CIS. Nevertheless, it has been consistently invited to participate and has consistently participated in the CIS, as if it were a member state. Turkmenistan changed its CIS standing to Associate Member as of 26 August 2005 in order to be consistent with its UN-recognised international neutrality status.[20][21]

Although Ukraine was one of the founding countries and ratified the Creation Agreement in December 1991, Ukraine chose not to ratify the CIS Charter[22][23] as it disagrees with Russia being the only legal successor state to the Soviet Union. Thus it does not regard itself as a member of the CIS,[6][24] and according to the aforementioned Charter of the CIS was indeed not a member, as it never ratified the aforementioned charter. Nevertheless, Ukraine kept being allowed to participate in the CIS, although not being formally a member. In 1994, Ukraine became an Associate Member of the CIS.[25]

On 14 March 2014, a bill was introduced to Ukraine's parliament to denounce their ratification of the 1991 Agreement Establishing the CIS, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, but was never approved.[26][27][28] Following the 2014 parliamentary election, a new bill to denounce the CIS agreement was introduced.[29][30] In September 2015, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Ukraine will continue taking part in the CIS "on a selective basis".[31][32] Since that month, Ukraine has had no representatives in the CIS Executive Committee building.[31] In April 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko indicated that Ukraine would formally leave the CIS.[33] On 19 May 2018, President Poroshenko signed a decree formally ending Ukraine's participation in CIS statutory bodies.[3] However, as of 1 June the CIS secretariat had not received formal notice from Ukraine of its withdrawal from the CIS.[34] As Ukraine was not formally a member, it did not need to withdraw formally, in any other way apart from ceasing to participate.[35]

However, Ukraine may still be technically a part of the CIS, as the Belavezha Accords, i.e. the Agreement on the formation of the CIS, as well as the Alma-Ata Protocol, and the relevant Alma-Ata Declarations, define that Ukraine together with all other former Soviet Union states, apart from the Baltic States (and Georgia that denounced these treaties), form the CIS. This series of treaties and declarations also define that the Soviet Union ceases to exist and the former Soviet Union states participating in these treaties take over the Soviet Union's legal obligations. To this end, the CIS secretariat (as well as the Russian envoy to the CIS[36]) consider that Ukraine is still a state that that has not quit the CIS and may participate in it, while the Russian ministry of foreign affairs seems to take a more realistic stance and acknowledge that Ukraine has practically left the CIS.[35]

Ukraine had mostly ceased to participate in the CIS, from 2014, after being invaded by Russia, but on 19 May 2018, it passed a degree to officially stop participating at all.[35] Nevertheless, the CIS secretariat stated that they will keep inviting Ukraine to participate,[37] even though Ukraine is not a member and has officially and formally decided to stop participating.

Ukraine has further stated that it intends to review its participation in all CIS agreements, and only continue in those that are in its interests.[38][39] It was worth noting Ukraine was allowed to participate in the CIS, without even applying provisionally its Charter, which defines membership and other crucial issues regarding this organisation.

In light of Russia's support for the independence of breakaway regions within Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine,[40][41][42] 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.[43][44][45] A similar bill was proposed in January 2018.[46][47]

Member states

Country[48] Agreement/protocol ratified Charter ratified Notes
 Azerbaijan 24 September 1993 24 September 1993
 Belarus 10 December 1991 18 January 1994 Founding state
 Kazakhstan 23 December 1991 20 April 1994 Founding state
 Kyrgyzstan 6 March 1992 12 April 1994 Founding state
 Armenia 18 February 1992 16 March 1994 Founding state
 Moldova 8 April 1994 15 April 1994
 Russia 12 December 1991 20 July 1993 Founding state
 Tajikistan 26 June 1993 4 August 1993
 Uzbekistan 4 January 1992 9 February 1994 Founding state

Associate member state

Two states, Ukraine and Turkmenistan, have ratified the CIS Creation Agreement, making them "founding states of the CIS", but did not ratify the subsequent Charter that would make them members of the CIS. These states, while not being formal members of the CIS, were allowed to participate in CIS.[35] They were also allowed to participate in various CIS initiatives, e.g. the Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area[49], which were, however, formulated mostly as independent multilateral agreements, and not as internal CIS agreements. Additionally, Ukraine became an associate member state of the CIS Economic Union in 1994 and Turkmenistan an associate member state of the CIS in 2005.

Country[48] Agreement/Protocol ratified Charter ratified Notes
 Turkmenistan 26 December 1991 Not ratified "Founding state". Has not been a member, according to the Charter. "Associate member state" since 2005.

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.

Former participating non-member state

Country Agreement/Protocol ratified Charter ratified Withdrawn representatives Notes
 Ukraine 10 December 1991 Not ratified 19 May 2018 "Founding State". Was not an official member, according to the Charter. Became an associate member of the CIS Economic Union in 1994. Withdrew from CIS as a result of the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and Russia's involvement in the War in Donbass[50] As Ukraine was not a member, it did not need to withdraw formally, in any other way apart from ceasing to participate.[35] Ukraine had mostly ceased to participate in CIS since 2014, after the pro-Russian unrest in the eastern part of the country, but on 19 May 2018, it passed a decree to officially stop participating at all.[35] Ukraine may technically still be a part of CIS, according to the Agreement on the formation of CIS, its Protocol and the other relevant Alma-Ata declarations, but it has no obligation to it, as it is not a member of CIS.


Executive Secretaries

Name Country Term
Ivan Korotchenya  Belarus 26 December 1991 – 29 April 1998
Boris Berezovsky  Russia 29 April 1998 – 4 March 1999
Ivan Korotchenya  Belarus 4 March – 2 April 1999
Yury Yarov  Russia 2 April 1999 – 14 June 2004
Vladimir Rushailo  Russia 14 June 2004 – 5 October 2007
Sergei Lebedev  Russia 5 October 2007 – Incumbent

Interparliamentary Assembly

CIS meeting 2008
Meeting of CIS leaders in Bishkek, 2008

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.[51] The Assembly held its 32nd Plenary meeting in Saint Petersburg on 14 May 2009. Ukraine participates, but Uzbekistan does not.[52][53]

Human rights

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.[54]

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 examples such as the 2005 Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan 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.[55]


The Council of CIS Defense Ministers
The members of the council meeting in Moscow in 2017

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.[56]

When Boris Yeltsin became Russian Defence Minister on 7 May 1992, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, was 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[57] on the northern outskirts of Moscow.[58] Shaposhnikov resigned in June 1993.

In December 1993, the CIS Armed Forces Headquarters was abolished.[59] 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."[60] 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.[61]

The CIS is known to have mediated some regional hostilities between the "Stan countries" in Central Asia.


In 1994, negotiations were initiated between the CIS countries on free trade area (FTA), but no agreement was signed. A proposed free trade agreement would have covered all twelve then CIS members except Turkmenistan.[62]

In 2009, a new agreement was begun to create a FTA, the CIS Free Trade Agreement (CISFTA).[63] 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. Initially, the treaty was only ratified by Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine,[64][65][66] however by the end of 2012, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Moldova had also completed ratification.[67][68] In December 2013, Uzbekistan, signed and then ratified the treaty,[69][70] while the remaining two signatories, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan later both ratified the treaty in January 2014 and December 2015 respectively.[71][72] Azerbaijan is the only full CIS member state not to participate in the free trade area.

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.[73] An agreement was also signed on the basic principles of currency regulation and currency controls in the CIS at the same October 2011 meeting.[74]

Corruption and bureaucracy are serious problems for trade in CIS countries.[75]

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed that CIS members take up a digitization agenda to modernize CIS economies.[76]

Common Economic Space

After discussion about the creation of a common economic space between the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, agreement in principle about the creation of this space was announced after a meeting in the Moscow suburb of Novo-Ogarevo on 23 February 2003. The Common Economic Space would involve a supranational commission on trade and tariffs that would be based in Kiev, would initially be headed by a representative of Kazakhstan, and would not be subordinate to the governments of the four nations. The ultimate goal would be a regional organisation that would be open for other countries to join as well, and could eventually lead even to a single currency.

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 successor Viktor Yanukovych stated on 27 April 2010 "Ukraine's entry into the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is not possible today, since the economic principles and the laws of the WTO do not allow it, we develop our policy in accordance with WTO principles".[77] Ukraine is a WTO member.[77]

A Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was thus created in 2010,[78] with a single market envisioned for 2012.[79]

Economic data

Country Population[80] (2016) GDP 2007 (USD) GDP 2012 (USD) GDP growth (2012) GDP per capita (2007) GDP per capita (2012) Human Development Index(2017)
Belarus 9,480,042 45,275,738,770 58,215,000,000 4.3% 4,656 6,710 0.808
Kazakhstan 17,987,736 104,849,915,344 196,642,000,000 5.2% 6,805 11,700 0.800
Kyrgyzstan 5,955,734 3,802,570,572 6,197,000,000 0.8% 711 1,100 0.664
Russia 143,964,513 1,294,381,844,081 2,022,000,000,000 3.4% 9,119 14,240 0.816
Tajikistan 8,734,951 2,265,340,888 7,263,000,000 2.1% 337 900 0.650
Uzbekistan 31,446,795 22,355,214,805 51,622,000,000 4.1% 831 1,800 0.710
Azerbaijan 9,725,376 33,049,426,816 71,043,000,000 3.8% 3,829 7,500 0.757
Moldova 4,059,608 4,401,137,824 7,589,000,000 4.4% 1,200 2,100 0.700
Armenia 2,924,816 9,204,496,419 10,551,000,000 2.1% 2,996 3,500 0.755
The data is taken from the United Nations statistics division and the United States Central Intelligence Agency.[81]

Associated organisations

GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic DevelopmentGeorgia (country)AzerbaijanUkraineMoldovaTajikistanTurkmenistanCollective Security Treaty OrganizationEurasian Economic UnionUzbekistanKyrgyzstanKazakhstanArmeniaUnion StateBelarusRussiaCommonwealth of Independent StatesCommonwealth of Independent States Free Trade AreaBaltic AssemblyLithuaniaLatviaEstoniaCommunity for Democracy and Rights of NationsTransnistriaAbkhaziaSouth OssetiaRepublic of Artsakh
Euler diagram showing the relationships among various supranational organisations in the territory of the former Soviet Unionv • d • e

Organisation of Central Asian Cooperation

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, 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 Tajikistan and 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. Russia joined on 28 May 2004.[82] On 7 October 2005 it was decided between the member states that Uzbekistan will join[83] the Eurasian Economic Community and that the organisations will merge.[84] The organisations joined on 25 January 2006. It is not clear what will happen to the status of current CACO observers that are not observers to EurAsEC (Georgia and Turkey).

Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations

The post-Soviet disputed states of Abkhazia, Artsakh, 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.

Other activities

Controversial election observation body

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.[85]

  • 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 while the 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 Ukraine has suspended its participation in the CIS election monitoring organisation.
  • 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 elections".[86][87]
  • Moldovan authorities refused to invite CIS observers in the Moldovan parliamentary elections, 2005, an action Russia criticised. Many dozens such observers from Belarus and Russia were stopped from reaching Moldova.[88]
  • CIS observers monitored the Tajikistan parliamentary elections, 2005 and in the end declared them "legal, free and transparent." The same elections were pronounced by the OSCE to have failed international standards for democratic elections.
  • Soon after CIS observers hailed the Kyrgyz parliamentary elections of 2005 as "well-organised, free, and fair", as large-scale and often violent demonstrations broke out throughout the country protesting what the opposition called a rigged parliamentary election. In contrast the OSCE reported that the elections fell short of international standards in many areas.[89]
  • International observers of the Interparliamentary Assembly stated the 2010 local elections in Ukraine were organised well.[90] While the Council of Europe uncovered a number of problems in relation to a new electorate law approved just prior to the elections[90] and the Obama administration criticised the conduct of the elections, saying they "did not meet standards for openness and fairness".[91][92]

Russian language status

Russia has been urging that the Russian language receive official status in all of the CIS member states. So far Russian is an official language in only four of these states: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russian is also considered an official language in the region of Transnistria, and the autonomous region of Gagauzia in Moldova. Viktor Yanukovych, the Moscow-supported presidential candidate in the controversial 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, declared his intention to make Russian an official second language of Ukraine. However, the Western-supported candidate Viktor Yushchenko, the winner, did not do so. After his early 2010 election as President Yanukovych stated (on 9 March 2010) that "Ukraine will continue to promote the Ukrainian language as its only state language".[93]

Sports events

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 Russia national bandy team. The Soviet Union bandy championship for 1991–1992 was rebranded as a CIS championship.

Since then, CIS members have each competed separately in international sport.

In 2017 a festival for national sports and games, Фестиваль национальных видов спорта и игр государств — участников Содружества Независимых Государств, was held in Ulyanovsk. The main sports were sambo, tug of war, mas-wrestling, gorodki, belt wrestling, lapta, bandy (rink), kettlebell lifting, chess and archery. A few demonstration sports were also a part of the programme.[94]

See also


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.[95]


  1. ^ "Commonwealth of Independent States - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus".
  2. ^ Corresponds to the terrestrial surface. Including the Exclusive Economic Zones of each member state, the total area is 28 509 317 km².
  3. ^ a b "Poroshenko signs decree on final termination of Ukraine's participation in CIS statutory bodies". Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  4. ^ Plokhy, Serhii, The Last Empire: The final days of the Soviet Union, Oneworld, London (2014), ISBN 9781780746463, pp 356 – 365
  5. ^ Alma-Ata Declaration: 11 countries accede to the CIS, 21 December 1991 (English translation). Russian text here [1]
  6. ^ a b Ratification status of CIS documents as of 15 January 2008 Archived 30 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine (Russian)
  7. ^ Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS: 3 founding countries, 8 December 1991 (unofficial English translation). Russian text here [2]
  8. ^ "Russia Economic Conditions in Mid-1996". Library of Congress. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  9. ^ Alexandrov, Mikhail. Uneasy Alliance: Relations Between Russia and Kazakhstan in the Post-Soviet Era, 1992–1997. Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 229. ISBN 978-0-313-30965-6
  10. ^ a b Vladimir, Radyuhin. "Three-nation Eurasian union set up as bridge". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan sign 'epoch' Eurasian Economic Union". Russia Today. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Kazakhstan welcomes Putin's Eurasian Union concept". The Daily Telegraph. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Eurasian Economic Union to become a bridge between Europe and Pacific Rim". Vestnik Kavkaza. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  14. ^ 3 February 2006 (11 September 2001). "Georgia opts out of ex-Soviet military cooperation body". Pravda.Ru. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  15. ^ "RIA Novosti – World – Georgia's quitting CIS council will not affect security – Russian minister". Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  16. ^ Russia questions further existence of the CIS post-soviet organisation InfoNIAC
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External links

2009 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup

The 2009 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup was the seventeenth edition of the competition between the champions of former republics of Soviet Union. It was won by Sheriff Tiraspol for the second time.

2013 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup

2013 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup was the 21st annual Commonwealth of Independent States Cup since its establishment in 1993. It was hosted in Saint Petersburg, Russia between 18 and 27 January 2013.

Saint Petersburg hosted the event for the fourth time, with all matches being held in a single venue (Saint Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex). All participating nations were represented by their youth (U20/U21) national teams.

CIS (rugby)

CIS was a rugby union side that played matches during 1991 and 1992. The side consisted of members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The team played four matches, losing all four fixtures. Two matches were played in Moscow, with the other two games being played at away venues.

Due to various circumstances, the CIS did not qualify for the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

CIS Charter

The Charter of the Commonwealth of Independent States, also known as the Statutes of the Commonwealth of Independent States, (CIS Charter; Russian: Устав Содружества Независимых Государств, Ustav Sodruzhestva Nezavisimyh Gosudarstv, Устав СНГ) is an international agreement between the states forming the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

CIS national football team

The CIS national football team was a transitional national team of the Football Federation of the Soviet Union in 1992. It was accepted that the team would represent the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The CIS team was created to allow the Soviet national team further participation as it had already booked a spot in Euro 1992 through the 1990–91 qualification tournament. The only way to preserve the spot for the post-Soviet team was to take part in the competition as a unified team. Players had an option either to play for the team or to play for a team of their country.

With the end of Euro 1992, the Russia national team was recognized as the only successor of the CIS team.

CIS national ice hockey team

The CIS national ice hockey team was an ephemeral national ice hockey team that represented the Commonwealth of Independent States. Essentially the former Soviet team under a different name, the CIS team existed in the few months between the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of new ice hockey federations for the former Soviet states, now independent countries. Most notably, the team competed at the 1992 Winter Olympics as part of the Unified Team, winning the gold medal. However, the International Ice Hockey Federation would later attribute this gold medal to Russia as the successor state. The International Olympic Committee does not attribute that medal to Russia. After the Olympics, the CIS team ceased to exist and was replaced by the Russian team. In the 13 games the CIS played, they won 11 and lost 2.


Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare general good or advantage" dates from the 15th century. Originally a phrase (the common-wealth or the common weal – echoed in the modern synonym "public weal") it comes from the old meaning of "wealth", which is "well-being", and is itself a loose translation of the Latin res publica (republic). The term literally meant "common well-being". In the 17th century, the definition of "commonwealth" expanded from its original sense of "public welfare" or "commonweal" to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state".

The term evolved to become a title to a number of political entities. Three countries – Australia, the Bahamas, and Dominica – have the official title "Commonwealth", as do four U.S. states and two U.S. territories. More recently, the term has been used to name some fraternal associations of nations, most notably the Commonwealth of Nations, an organization primarily of former territories of the British Empire, which is often referred to as simply "the Commonwealth".

Commonwealth of Independent States Cup

The Commonwealth of Independent States Cup (Russian: Кубок чемпионов Содружества, Кубок Содружества, Кубок чемпионов содружества стран СНГ и Балтии) is a defunct annual regional association football tournament, recognized by FIFA.The tournament was initially established for football clubs of the former Soviet Union republics in 1993 (a year later since the collapse). On several occasions, some national football organizations of the former Soviet republics as well as individual clubs refused participation in the tournament for different reasons. Usually the invitation was sent to the best clubs of the Commonwealth of Independent States member states, as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, i.e. either a champion or a runner-up, while in the later editions the Cup (before 2012) saw participation of clubs from Serbia and Finland.

In 2012, the CIS Cup became a competition of national youth teams. Previously only the Russia under-21 team competed in the competition.

The competition was disestablished in 2016.

Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area

Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area (CISFTA) is a free trade area between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Five CISFTA participants, all except Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Tajikistan, are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, comprising a single economic market.

Commonwealth of Independent States national bandy team

The Commonwealth of Independent States national bandy team was the new name for the Soviet Union national bandy team after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

The team only existed in January and February 1992, playing games which the Soviet Union previously had been booked for. Its last appearance was at the Russian Government Cup 1992 on 28 January – 2 February 1992, where it was also playing against the new Russia national bandy team. Since then, the Commonwealth of Independent States does not have a unified bandy team, as many of the member states of the commonwealth have set up their own national teams.

There was also an equally short-lived youth team for the Commonwealth, taking part in the 1992 Bandy World Championship Y-23.

Council of Ministers of Defense of the CIS

The Council of Ministers of Defense of the CIS is a working body in the Commonwealth of Independent States responsible for military policy of the CIS.

Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States

The Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States is a judicial organ which was formed in order to provide exercising of its economic commitments by the participating states. The Court is empowered to consider the disputes in the fulfillment of economic commitments in accordance with international treaties within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Court considers other disputes under the agreement of the participating states. It is also empowered to interpret international treaties and the acts of the CIS bodies. The location of the Economic Court is the city of Minsk, Republic of Belarus.

Eurasian Patent Organization

The Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) is a regional organization set up in 1995 by the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC). Its task is to grant Eurasian patents. The official language of the EAPO is Russian and its current president is Alexander Grigoriev.

Interstate Aviation Committee

The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC; Russian: Межгосударственный авиационный комитет, МАК) is an executive body of the Civil Aviation and Airspace Use Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and was formed in 1991 according to the Civil Aviation and Airspace Use Multilateral Agreement, signed on 25 December 1991.

List of Russian military bases abroad

This article lists military bases of Russia abroad. The majority of Russia's military bases and facilities are located in former Soviet republics; which in Russian political parlance is termed the "near abroad".

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many of the early-warning radar stations ended up in former Soviet republics. Some, such as the radars at Skrunda-1 in Latvia and Dnestr radars in Ukraine are no longer part of the Russian early warning network. Others such as the radars in Belarus and Kazakhstan are rented by Russia.In 2003, Kommersant newspaper published a map of the Russian military presence abroad. In 2018, it was reported that Russia operates at least 21 significant military facilities overseas.

Nika Award

The Nika Award is the main annual national film award in Russia presented by the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts and Science. It was established in 1987 in Moscow by Yuli Gusman, and ostensibly modelled on the Oscars. The Russian Academy Award takes its name from Nike, the goddess of victory. Accordingly, the prize is modelled after the sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

The oldest professional film award in Russia, the Nika Award was established during the final years of USSR by the influential Union of Filmmakers.At first the awards were judged by all the members of the Union of Filmmakers. In the early 1990s, a special academy, consisting of over 500 academicians, was elected for distributing the awards which recognize outstanding achievements in cinema (not television) produced in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 2002 Nikita Mikhalkov established the competing Golden Eagle Award modelled on the Golden Globe Awards as it honors both film and television production of Russia.

The Nika Awards ceremony is broadcast annually and attracts huge publicity across Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.


The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Russian: Федеральное агентство по делам Содружества Независимых Государств, соотечественников, проживающих за рубежом, и по международному гуманитарному сотрудничеству), commonly known as Rossotrudnichestvo (Russian: Россотрудничество), is an autonomous Russian federal government agency under the jurisdiction of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a Russian government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. Rossotrudnichestvo operates in Central Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe (but mostly in Commonwealth of Independent States).

The agency was created from its predecessor agency by Presidential ukase, signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 6 September 2008, with the aim of maintaining Russia's influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and to foster friendly ties for the advancement of Russia's political and economic interests in foreign states.

Specialist degree

The specialist degree is an academic degree conferred by a college or university. The degree is formatted differently worldwide and may be either a five year program or a doctoral level graduate program that occurs after a master's degree but before a doctoral degree.

Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States

TACIS is an abbreviation of "Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States" programme, a foreign and technical assistance programme implemented by the European Commission to help members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (as well as Mongolia), in their transition to democratic market-oriented economies. TACIS is now subsumed in the EuropeAid programme.

Launched by the EC in 1991, the Tacis Programme provides grant-financed technical assistance to 12 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan). Mongolia was also covered by the Tacis programme from 1991 to 2003, but is now covered by the ALA Programme.

From the 2007-2013 EU Financial Perspective, the Tacis Programme has been replaced for the countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy and Russia by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. Nuclear safety projects are covered by the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. However Tacis projects programmed from 2006 will continue to operate until 2012.

The European Union remains the single largest donor of foreign assistance in the world.

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