The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization, a free association of sovereign states, focused on cooperation on political, economic, environmental, humanitarian, cultural and other issues between a number of former Soviet Republics.
On December 8, 1991 in Minsk the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed by the heads of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Signing of the agreement marked the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The CIS announced that the new organization would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union.
The three Slavic republics were subsequently joined by the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, by the Transcaucasian republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (1993), and by Moldova. The remaining former Soviet republics—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—declined to join the new organization.
Thus, on 21 December 1991, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan agreed to the Alma-Ata Protocols, joining the CIS. The latter agreement included the original three Belavezha signatories, as well as eight additional former Soviet republics, and confirmed the promise of the former republics to cooperate in various fields of external and internal policies, and announced the guarantees for implementation of the international commitments of the former Soviet Union.
The signatories of the Alma-Ata Protocol
The signatories of the Alma-Ata Protocol were
Russia: Boris Yeltsin
Ukraine: Leonid Kravchuk
Belarus: Stanislav Shushkevich
Armenia: Levon Ter-Petrosyan
Azerbaijan: Ayaz Mutallibov
Kazakhstan: Nursultan Nazarbayev
Kyrgyzstan: Askar Akayev
Moldova: Mircea Snegur
Tajikistan: Rahmon Nabiyev
Turkmenistan: Saparmurat Niyazov
Uzbekistan: Islam Karimov
The CIS formally came into being on December 21, 1991, and began operations the following month, with the city of Minsk in Belarus designated as its administrative centre.
The CIS’s functions are to coordinate its members’ policies regarding their economies, foreign relations, defense, immigration policies, environmental protection, and law enforcement. Its top governmental body is a council composed of the member republics’ heads of state (i.e., presidents) and of government (prime ministers), who are assisted by committees of republic cabinet ministers in key areas such as economics and defense. The CIS’s members pledged to keep both their armed forces and the former Soviet nuclear weapons stationed on their territories under a single unified command. In practice this proved difficult, however, as did the members’ efforts to coordinate the introduction of market-type mechanisms and private ownership into their respective economies.
In August 2008, following an escalation of hostilities between Russia and Georgia over the separatist region of South Ossetia, Georgia announced its intention to withdraw from the CIS. The withdrawal was finalized in August 2009. A similar proxy war broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014 followed by the official withdrawal of Ukraine’s membership from the CIS.
The CIS performs its activities on the basis of the Charter, adopted by the Council of Heads of States on 22 January 1993, which stipulates the goals and principles of the Commonwealth, and rights and obligations of the countries. The Charter states that the Commonwealth was formed on the basis of sovereign equality of all its members and that the Member States were independent and equal subjects under international law. The Charter also states that the CIS serves the development and strengthening of friendship, inter-ethnic accord, trust, mutual understanding, and cooperation between States.
According to the Charter the goals of the CIS are defined as follows:
- cooperation in political, economic, environmental, humanitarian, cultural and other spheres;
- comprehensive and balanced economic and social development of the CIS member states;
- ensuring human rights and fundamental liberties in accordance with generally recognized principles and norms of international law;
- cooperation between member states to ensure international peace and security, realization of effective measures for the reduction of arms and military expenditures, and achievement of universal and full disarmament;
- peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts between the CIS member-states;
- assisting citizens of member states in free communication, contacts and movement in the Commonwealth and etc.
Ukraine and Turkmenistan have not ratified the CIS Charter, as a result of which these two countries de-jure were not considered as CIS member states, but only as founding-states or participating states.
On August 26, 2005, within the framework of Kazan CIS Summit, Turkmenistan stated that the country would be engaged in the activities of the Organization in the capacity of associate member.
In March of 1994 The CIS was granted the observer status in the UN General Assembly.
The Commonwealth does not have supranational powers. Countries’ interaction within the CIS is accomplished through its coordinating institutions, the Charter Bodies of the CIS:
- Council of Heads of States
- Council of Heads of Governments
- Council of Foreign Ministers
- Council of Defense Ministers
- Council of Commanders-in-Chief of Frontier Troops
- Economic Court
- Economic Council
- the Interstate Economic Committee of the Economic Union
- Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
- Council of Permanent Plenipotentiary Representatives of the Participating States of the Commonwealth to Charter and Other Bodies of the Commonwealth.
There are around 70 bodies of sectoral cooperation within the framework of the CIS aimed at assisting the interaction between the CIS member states in the sphere of economic and social development, humanitarian cooperation, combating crime and terrorism and other spheres of cooperation.
In 2008 The Statute on National coordinators of the CIS member states was adopted.
The CIS Executive Committee is a permanent executive, administrative and coordinating body of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The chairmanship of the CIS bodies is transferred alternately to the CIS member states based on the principle of rotation according to the Russian alphabet. Each state assumes the chairmanship for one-year term, if no other decision is adopted. The previous and the following chairmen-countries become co-chairs in the highest organs.
According to the CIS Charter, the Council of the Heads of State is the supreme body of the Commonwealth, which discusses and resolves fundamental issues related to the activities of member states in the field of their common interests.
Meetings of the Council of the Heads of Government, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Council of the CIS are also held on a regular basis to discuss issues of interstate cooperation within the framework of the CIS.
The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States holds inter-parliamentary consultations, develops joint proposals in the field of activity of national parliaments.
The CIS Economic Court was established to ensure unified application of agreements between the CIS member states and the economic obligations and treaties based on them.
The Council of Permanent Plenipotentiaries of the Member States of the CIS under the statutory and other bodies of the Commonwealth facilitates the interaction of states in matters of mutual interest.
The Collective Security Council adopted documents such as the Collective Security Concept, the Declaration by the Collective Security Treaty States, and the Basic Guidelines for Deepening Military Cooperation among the Collective Security Treaty States. In accordance with these documents, national contingents are organized into three sectors (Western, Trans-Caucasus, and Central Asia) and engage in joint exercises within their sector.
An important contribution to the CIS coordinated actions is made by intersectoral councils covering economically and socially significant areas of interaction. Such bodies include the heads of the relevant state authorities of the CIS member states.
Humanitarian cooperation is coordinated by the Council for Humanitarian Cooperation and the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS Member States. Intersectoral councils are also active in the area of security.
The central element of the economic configuration is the CIS multilateral free trade zone with a market capacity of more than 280 million people. In October 2011 the CIS Free Trade Zone Agreement was signed. The document significantly reduced the number of exemptions from the free trade regime upon import.
The headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States is located in the city of Minsk. The department of the CIS Executive Committee responsible for economic issues is situated in Moscow.
In 2022, under the presidency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, CIS Member-States continued the work on adoption of addresses and joint statements reflecting common views of the CIS Member-States on topical regional and global problems within the framework of political interaction.
At the meeting of the Council of the Heads of the CIS Member-States, which took place in Astana (October 14, 2022), the decision on the international organization to provide support and promotion of the Russian language was made and the Concept of creation under the CIS aegis of the international organization to support and promote the Russian language was approved. Agreements on cooperation of the CIS Member-States in combating corruption and on establishment of the Advisory Council of Heads of Electoral Bodies of the CIS Member-States were signed. Decisions on cooperation in the sphere of climate and on development of cooperation in culture were made as well as on renaming the position of the CIS Chairman of the Executive Committee — CIS Executive Secretary into «CIS Secretary General» since January 1, 2023.
A wide range of important documents were signed with CIS partner countries in 2022 in the economic, humanitarian, scientific and social spheres, including the Concept of scientific and technological cooperation and the Plan of measures for its implementation, the Concept of digital transformation of chemical industries, the Agreement on cooperation in preventing and responding to emergency situations in the field of public health, the Agreement on the Exchange of Biological Materials.
The Members approved in general the draft Agreement on free trade in services, establishment, activity and investments, which will be submitted for consideration at the next meeting of the CIS Heads of the governments.
The Concept of development of industrial cooperation and the Complex of measures on development of industrial cooperation until 2030 will serve as the basis for work on defining the list of priority industrial cooperation directions.
At the initiative of the Republic of Belarus, a working group was set up in 2022 to monitor the economic situation in the Commonwealth. The group has developed and adopted a list of joint measures to respond to emerging problems (approved by the CIS Economic Council on June 10, 2022), which provides for the promotion of mutual investments, deepening of industrial cooperation and cooperation in agriculture, simplification of customs regulations, formation of new logistical chains and introduction of digital technologies.
The CIS Economic Council decided to elaborate the issue of establishing a permanent high-level working group of representatives of the ministries and departments of the CIS Member-States with the involvement of chambers of commerce and industry and business communities in order to analyze the incoming claims of obstacles to mutual trade.
The CIS Member-States continued to work on the implementation of the concept of military cooperation until 2025 and the program of cooperation in strengthening border security on the external borders for 2021-2025.
In 2023, the presidency of the CIS passed to the Kyrgyz Republic.
The CIS countries unanimously confirmed their commitment to cooperation in this format. All of them want the CIS to grow more influential.Sergey Lavrov
We consider efforts to establish friendly, equitable and truly partner ties within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States as our unconditional foreign policy priority.Sergey Lavrov
MATCH THE TERM WITH ITS DEFINITION:
|designate||a diplomat given full power to conduct business for someone else|
|respective||relating to or authorized by statute (a law passed by a legislature)|
|comprehensive||to work out in great detail|
|expenditure||to settle or solve (a question, dispute, etc.)|
|stipulate||money spent; expense|
|assume||suppose; postulate; posit; to take over the duties or responsibilities of|
|resolve||to nominate or select; assign|
|plenipotentiary||to specify in terms of agreement|
|statutory||relating individually to each; particular|
|elaborate||of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive|
RESTORE THE SENTENCE BY FILLING IN THE KEY TERM:
|1. The CIS formally came into being on December 21, 1991, and began operations the following month, with the city of Minsk in Belarus …………….. as its administrative centre.|
|2. In practice this proved difficult, however, as did the members’ efforts to coordinate the introduction of market-type mechanisms and private ownership into their …………….. economies.|
|3. According to the Charter some of the goals of the CIS are defined as …………….. and balanced economic and social development of the CIS member states, and realization of effective measures for the reduction of arms and military …………….., and achievement of universal and full disarmament.|
|4. The CIS performs its activities on the basis of the Charter, adopted by the Council of Heads of States on 22 January 1993, which …………….. the goals and principles of the Commonwealth, and rights and obligations of the countries.|
|5. Each state …………….. the chairmanship for one-year term, if no other decision is adopted.|
|6. According to the CIS Charter, the Council of the Heads of State is the supreme body of the Commonwealth, which discusses and …………….. fundamental issues related to the activities of member states in the field of their common interests.|
|7. The Council of Permanent …………….. of the Member States of the CIS under the …………….. and other bodies of the Commonwealth facilitates the interaction of states in matters of mutual interest.|
|8. The CIS Economic Council decided to …………….. the issue of establishing a permanent high-level working group of representatives of the ministries and departments of the CIS Member-States with the involvement of chambers of commerce and industry and business communities in order to analyze the incoming claims of obstacles to mutual trade.|
COMPLETE THE PASSAGE WITH THE WORDS FROM THE BOX:
95th meeting of the Economic Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Moscow
The participants 1) ……………… the current issues of trade and economic cooperation between the CIS member states, including the 2) ……………… of a list of joint measures for responding to arising problems, approved at the meeting of the Economic Council in June.
The council members discussed the draft Agreement on Free Trade in Services, Establishment, Operations and Investment. The draft document is 3) ……………… designed to facilitate the sustainable development of a free services and goods trade zone and a more liberal 4) ……………… climate.
A report was presented on the implementation of the Interstate Programme for Innovation Cooperation between the CIS Member States until 2030 and establishing a common CIS innovation infrastructure for developing 5) ……………… , robotics and quantum technologies.
The participants also reviewed the draft Concept for the Digital Transformation of Sectors in the Chemical Industry of the CIS Member States, the Concept for Science and Technological Cooperation and an action plan for 6) ……………… measures for implementing the concepts.
They approved the draft Interstate Radio Navigation Programme for the CIS Member States for 2023-2026. This programme will 7) ……………… the use of radio navigation systems and equipment in the economic interests of CIS member states. The programme includes cooperative projects for developing and creating radio navigation devices for 8) ……………… transmissions and 9) ……………… systems that will primarily use electronic components from the CIS member states.
The Economic Council members approved a draft action plan for the CIS countries to reduce resistance to anti-microbial medications, as well as draft regulations on a central organisation for evaluating healthcare, quality control technologies and for financing medical 10) ……………… programmes in the CIS member states.
Cooperation between European Union and CIS countries
The European Union, together with its Member States, is the largest provider of technical assistance 1) for/ to Central Asian countries. 2) The/ X CIS countries in Central Asia are: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The 3) core/ crucial objective of the EC–Central Asian cooperation, 4) hence/ as set out in the Strategy Paper for Central Asia 2002–2006, is to promote the stability and security of the countries of Central Asia, and to assist in their pursuit of sustainable economic development and poverty reduction.
The EU 5) remains/ continues firmly committed to 6) working/ work with the Central Asia countries to support their political and economic transformation. Partnership and Cooperation Agreements constitute the framework 7) for/ of relations between the EU and the countries of Central Asia.
The formalisation of 8) bilateral/ multilateral relations between the EU and individual partner countries has been achieved through the negotiation of Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs), now in force with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.PCAs are legal frameworks based on respect for democratic principles and human rights, setting out the political, economic and trade relationship between the EU and its partner countries. Each PCA is a 9) 10-year/ 10-years bilateral treaty signed and ratified by the EU and 10) the/ an individual state.