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 supra-national organisation 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 organisation 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).
References / sourcesEdit
- ↑ 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
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Russia questions further existence of the CIS post-soviet organization InfoNIAC
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