- Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Содружество Независимых Государств (СНГ)
Sodruzhestvo Nezavisimykh Gosudarstv (SNG)
Flag Administrative center Minsk Largest city Moscow Working language Russian Membership Government Commonwealth - Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev - Presidency Russia Establishment 21 December 1991 - CST 15 May 1992 - CISFTA signed 1994 - CISFTA established By end of 2010 Area - Total 22,100,843 km2
8,533,183 sq mi
Population - 2008 estimate 276,917,629 - Density 12.53/km2
GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate - Total $2,906.944 billion - Per capita $10,498 GDP (nominal) 2007 estimate - Total $1,691.861 billion - Per capita $6,110 Currency Time zone (UTC+2 to +12) Website
1 Founding countries 2 Has not ratified the charter 3 Associate member 4 Georgia was an official member from 1994 to 2009
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (Russian: Содружество Независимых Государств, СНГ, tr. Sodruzhestvo Nezavisimykh Gosudarstv, SNG) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The CIS is comparable to a very loose association of states and in no way comparable to a federation, confederation or supranational union such as the old European Community. It is more comparable to the Commonwealth of Nations. Although the CIS has few supranational powers, it is aimed at being more than a purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on democratization and cross-border crime prevention. As a regional organization, CIS participates in UN peacekeeping forces.[dead link] Some of the members of the CIS have established the Eurasian Economic Community with the aim of creating a full-fledged common market.
The organization was founded on 8 December 1991 by the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, when the leaders of the three countries met in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Brest in Belarus and signed a Creation Agreement (Russian: Соглашение, Soglasheniye) on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of CIS as a successor entity to the USSR. At the same time they announced that the new alliance would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union, as well as 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 Soviet Republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – signed the Alma-Ata Protocol and joined the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11. Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993. As of that time, 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics participated in the CIS. Three former Soviet Republics, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, chose not to join.
In March 2007, Igor Ivanov, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, expressed his doubts concerning the usefulness of CIS, emphasizing that the Eurasian Economic Community was becoming a more competent organization to unify the biggest countries of the CIS. In May 2009 the six countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine joined the Eastern Partnership, a project which was initiated by the European Union (EU).
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 chiefs of the CIS general staffs have spoken in favor of integrating their national armed forces.
Membership status of CIS countries
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 formalized 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-recognized international neutrality status. Although Ukraine was one of the three founding countries and ratified the Creation Agreement in December 1991, Ukraine did not choose to ratify the CIS Charter and is not a member of the CIS.
Executive Secretaries of CIS
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 since 5 October 2007
Free trade area (CISFTA)
Eurasian Economic Community
The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC or EAEC) originated from a customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on the 29 March 1996. It was named the EAEC on 10 October 2000 when Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan signed the treaty. EurAsEC was formally created when the treaty was finally ratified by all five member states in May 2001. Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine hold observer status. EurAsEC is working on establishing a common energy market and exploring the more efficient use of water in central Asia.
Organization of Central Asian Cooperation
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan formed the OCAC in 1991 as Central Asian Commonwealth (CAC). The organization 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. On 7 October 2005 it was decided between the member states that Uzbekistan will join the Eurasian Economic Community and that the organizations will merge. The organizations 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).
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 April 27, 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". Ukraine is a WTO member.
The data is taken from the UN Statistics Division.
Country Population (2007) GDP 2006 (USD) GDP 2007 (USD) GDP growth (2007) GDP per capita (2007) Belarus 9,724,163 36,961,815,474 45,275,738,770 8.6% 4,656 Kazakhstan 15,408,161 81,003,864,916 104,849,915,344 8.7% 6,805 Kyrgyzstan 5,346,111 2,834,168,893 3,802,570,572 8.5% 711 Russia 141,941,200 989,427,936,676 1,294,381,844,081 8.5% 9,119 Tajikistan 6,727,377 2,142,328,846 2,265,340,888 3.0% 337 Uzbekistan 26,900,365 17,077,480,575 22,355,214,805 9.5% 831 EAEC total 207,033,990 1,125,634,333,117 1,465,256,182,498 30.17% 7,077 Azerbaijan 8,631,512 20,981,929,498 33,049,426,816 25.1% 3,829 Georgia 4,357,857 7,745,249,284 10,172,920,422 12.3% 2,334 Moldova 3,667,469 3,408,283,313 4,401,137,824 3.0% 1,200 Ukraine 46,289,475 107,753,069,307 142,719,009,901 7.9% 3,083 GUAM total 62,861,573 139,888,538,550 186,996,463,870 33.68% 2,975 Armenia 3,072,450 6,384,452,551 9,204,496,419 13.8% 2,996 Turkmenistan 4,977,386 6,928,560,446 7,940,143,236 11.6% 1,595 Grand total 277,863,109 1,278,421,583,732 1,668,683,151,661 30.53% 6,005
Collective Security Treaty Organisation
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (Russian: Организация Договора о Коллективной Безопасности) or simply the Tashkent Treaty (Russian: Ташкентский договор) first began as the CIS Collective Security Treaty which was signed on 15 May 1992, by Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in the city of Tashkent. Azerbaijan signed the treaty on 24 September 1993, Georgia on 9 December 1993 and Belarus on 31 December 1993. The treaty came into effect on 20 April 1994.
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; together with Moldova and Ukraine, formed a non-aligned, more pro-Western pro-US group known as the "GUAM" (Georgia, Uzbekistan / Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova). The organization was named CSTO on 7 October 2002 in Tashkent. Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed secretary general of the new organization. During 2005, the CSTO partners conducted some common military exercises. In 2005, Uzbekistan withdrew from GUAM, and on 23 June 2006, Uzbekistan became a full participant in the CSTO and its membership was formally ratified by its parliament on 28 March 2008. The CSTO is an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.
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-organization 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 organization. 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 organization.
On 6 October 2007, CSTO members agreed to a major expansion of the organization that would create a CSTO peacekeeping force that could deploy under a U.N. 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, Russia announced it would seek CSTO recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, three days after Russia officially recognized both. On 5 September 2008, Armenia assumed the rotating CSTO presidency during a CSTO meeting in Moscow, Russia.
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 held by the CSTO, involving up to 12,000 troops will be conducted between September 19 and 27, 2011 to raise preparedness and co-ordination in Arab Spring style anti-destabilization techniques.
Election observation missions
The CIS Election Monitoring Organization (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.
- 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 Organization 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 organization.
- 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".
- Moldovan authorities refused to invite CIS observers in the Moldovan parliamentary elections, 2005, an action Russia criticized. Many dozens such observers from Belarus and Russia were stopped from reaching Moldova.
- 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-organized, free, and fair. A 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.
- International observers of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly stated the 2010 local elections in Ukraine were organised well. While the Council of Europe uncovered a number of problems in relation to a new electorate law approved just prior to the elections and the Obama administration criticized the conduct of the elections, saying they "did not meet standards for openness and fairness".
The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, established in March 1995, is a consultative parliamentary wing of the CIS created to discuss problems of parliamentary cooperation. The Assembly will hold its 32nd Plenary meeting in Saint Petersburg on 14 May 2009. Ukraine participates, but Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan do not participate.
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 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, Viktor Yushchenko, the winner, did not do so. After his early 2010 election as President Yanukovych stated (on March 9, 2010) "Ukraine will continue to promote the Ukrainian language as its only state language".
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. Since then, CIS members have each competed separately in international sport.
Concept of a Single Legal Space for the CIS and Europe
Russian legal scholar Oleg Kutafin and economist Alexander Zakharov produced a Concept of a Single Legal Space for the CIS and Europe in 2002. This idea was fully incorporated in the resolution of the 2003 Moscow Legal Forum. The Forum gathered representatives of more than 20 countries including 10 CIS countries. In 2007 both the International Union of Jurists of the CIS and the International Union (Commonwealth) of Advocates passed resolutions that strongly support the Concept of a Single Legal Space for Europe and post-Soviet Countries.
The concept said: "Obviously, to improve its legislation Russia and other countries of CIS should be oriented toward the continental legal family of European law. The civil law system is much closer to the Russian and other CIS countries will be instrumental in harmonizing legislation of CIS countries and the European Community but all values of common law should be also investigated on the subject of possible implementation in some laws and norms. It is suggested that the introduction of the concept of a Single legal space and a single Rule of Law space for Europe and CIS be implemented in four steps:
1.Development plans at the national level regarding adoption of selected EC legal standards in the legislation of CIS countries;
2.Promotion of measures for harmonization of law with the goal of developing a single legal space for Europe and CIS countries in the area of commercial and corporate law;
3.Making the harmonization of judicial practice of CIS countries compatible with Rule of Law principles and coordination of the basic requirements of the Rule of Law in CIS countries with the EU legal standards.
4.Development of ideas the Roerich Pact (International Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institution and Historic Monuments initiated by Russian thinker Nicholas Roerich and signed in 1935 by 40 percent of sovereign states in Washington D.C.) into the law of CIS countries and European law. It depends only from the good will of the European legal community where the “Legal Europe” will be situated in 20–40 years: at the Pacific Ocean or on the western border of Russia.” 
- ^ Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Agreement
- ^ 
- ^ PDF (354 KB)
- ^ Agreement on the Establishment of the CIS: 3 founding countries, 8 December 1991 (unofficial English translation). Russian text here
- ^ 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 (Russian)
- ^ Russia questions further existence of the CIS post-soviet organization InfoNIAC
- ^ Johnson's Russia List #2142, 9 April 1998
- ^ Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military, p.385-86
- ^ Interfax, 22 December 1993, via Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paige Sullivan, 'Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States' CSIS, 1997, p.464 via Google Books
- ^ SIPRI 1998 Annual, p.18
- ^ "CIS chiefs of staff want military integration." RIA Novosti, 3 December 2010.
- ^ CIS Charter, 22 January 1993 (unofficial English translation). Russian text here 
- ^ Decision on Turkmenistan's associate membership, CIS Executive Committee meeting in Kazan, Russia, 26 August 2005 (Russian).
- ^ Turkmenistan reduces CIS ties to "Associate Member", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 29 August 2005.
- ^ September 2008 Statement by Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko, “Ukraine does not recognize the legal personality of this organization, we are not members of the CIS Economic Court, we did not ratify the CIS Statute, thus, we cannot be considered a member of this organization from international legal point of view. Ukraine is a country-participant, but not a member country”
- ^ Russia Facing Resistance With Allies On CIS's Southern Flank
- ^ Russia expects the CIS countries to create a free trade zone by yearend, 2010-06-17
- ^ WTO WT/REG71/1
- ^ Foundation Agreement of EAEC AGREEMENT ON FOUNDATION OF EURASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
- ^ Central Asian Cooperation Organization
- ^ Working group discusses Uzbekistan's accession to EurAsEC
- ^ Collective Security: A Timeline
- ^ a b Yanukovych: Ukraine won't join Customs Union, Kyiv Post (April 27, 2010)
- ^ Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus plan on common economic space
- ^ Russia expects CIS countries to create free trade area
- ^ The Charter of the CSTO
- ^ Евразийский дом - информационно-аналитический портал
- ^ “Rubezh 2008”: The First Large-Scale CSTO Military Exercise | PfP Information Management System (PIMS)
- ^ Iran invited to join Central Security Treaty Organization
- ^ Gendarme of Eurasia - Kommersant Moscow
- ^ Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
- ^ Halpin, Tony (30 August 2008). "Kremlin announces that South Ossetia will join one united Russian state". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4635843.ece. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- ^ Armenian News - PanARMENIAN.Net | Armenian News Agency - CSTO Security Councils Secretaries meet in Yerevan
- ^ Ukraine refuses to hold CIS anti-terrorist drills on its territory, Kyiv Post (29 October 2009)
- ^ Central Asian armies start exercises to counter potential Arab Spring-style unrest, The Daily Telegraph (20 September 2011)
- ^ Foreign observers differ in their evaluation of the election in Uzbekistan
- ^ Alexander Yakovenko, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Russian Media Question Regarding International Observers' Conclusions on Election Results in Ukraine and Uzbekistan
- ^ CIS Observers Outraged by Deportation of Colleagues
- ^ CIS: Monitoring The Election Monitors
- ^ a b EU will not condemn the local elections in Ukraine, Razumkov Centre (3 November 2010)
- ^ Interview: Top U.S. Diplomat Discusses Regional Developments, Abuses, Stalemates, And Cooperation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (November 05, 2010)
- ^ Ukraine's Ballot Flawed, U.S. Says, The Wall Street Journal (November 4, 2010)
- ^ CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
- ^ http://www.iacis.ru/html/index-eng.php?id=52
- ^ Yanukovych: Ukraine will not have second state language, Kyiv Post (March 9, 2010)
- ^ Evgeny Semenyako, Petr Barenboim, The Moscow-Bruges Concept of a Single Legal and Rule of Law Space for Europe and Russia, Justitceinform, Moscow, 2007, ISBN 978-5-7205-0911-8; Peter Barenboim, Naeem Sidiqi, Bruges, the Bridge between Civilizations: The 75 Anniversary of the Roerich Pact, Grid Belgium, 2010. ISBN 978-5-98856-114-9
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- Interstate Statistical Committee of the CIS
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- Z Kembayev Legal Aspects of the Regional Integration Processes in the Post-Soviet Area (Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009) Summary and Sample Pages
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