Thursday, July 1, 2010

Commonwealth of Independent States

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 more than a purely symbolic organization, 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.[3] 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.[4] 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 – agreed to join the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11.[5] Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993.[6] 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, and emphasizing that the Eurasian Economic Community became a more competent organization to unify the biggest countries of the CIS.[7] 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).

Military structures

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[8] on the northern outskirts of Moscow.[9] Shaposhnikov resigned in June 1993.
In December 1993, the CIS Armed Forces Headquarters was abolished.[10] 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.'[11] General Viktor Samsonov was appointed as Chief of Staff.

[edit] 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.[12] 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.[13][14] Although Ukraine was one of the three founding countries and ratified the Creation Agreement in December 1991, Ukraine did not to ratify the CIS Charter and is not a member of the CIS[6][15].
Country Signed Ratified Charter ratified Membership Status
 Armenia 21 December 1991 18 February 1992 16 March 1994 official member
 Azerbaijan 21 December 1991 24 September 1993 14 December 1993 official member
 Belarus 8 December 1991 10 December 1991 18 January 1994 official member
 Kazakhstan 21 December 1991 23 December 1991 20 April 1994 official member
 Kyrgyzstan 21 December 1991 6 March 1992 12 April 1994 official member
 Moldova 21 December 1991 8 April 1994 27 June 1994 official member
 Russia 8 December 1991 12 December 1991 20 July 1993 official member
 Tajikistan 21 December 1991 26 June 1993 4 August 1993 official member
 Turkmenistan 21 December 1991 26 December 1991 Not ratified unofficial associate member
 Ukraine 8 December 1991 10 December 1991 Not ratified de facto participating; officially not a member
 Uzbekistan 21 December 1991 1 April 1992 9 February 1994 official member
Between the years of 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, lastly, Askar Akayev was toppled in Kyrgyzstan. In February 2006, Georgia officially 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",[16][17] but it remained a full member of the CIS until August 2009, one year after officially withdrawing in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 South Ossetia war.

[edit] Former members

Country Signed Ratified Charter ratified Withdrawn Effective
 Georgia 3 December 1993 19 April 1994 18 August 2008 17 August 2009
Following the South Ossetian war in 2008, President Saakashvili announced during a public speech in the capital city Tbilisi that Georgia would leave the CIS[18] and the Georgian Parliament voted unanimously (on 14 August 2008) to withdraw from the regional organization.[19] On 18 August 2008 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia sent a note to the CIS Executive Committee notifying it of the aforesaid resolutions of the Parliament of Georgia and Georgia’s withdrawal from CIS.[20] In accordance with the CIS Charter (sec. 1, art. 9),[12] Georgia's withdrawal came into effect 12 months later, on 18 August 2009.[21][22]

[edit] Executive Secretaries of CIS

Meeting of CIS leaders in Bishkek in 2008
Name Country Term
Ivan Korotchenya  Belarus 26 December 1991 - 29 April 1998
Boris Berezovsky  Russia 29 April 1998 - 4 March 1999
Ivan Korotchenya (acting)  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

[edit] Recent events

Following the withdrawal of Georgia, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan skipped the Oct 2009 meeting of the CIS.[23]

Population (2007) GDP 2006 (USD) GDP 2007 (USD) growth (2007) 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 8.1% 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 logo of the CSTO.
     CSTO members     GUAM members     Other CIS members
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[31] 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.

[edit] Renewal

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 -- Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan refused to sign and withdrew from the treaty instead. 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.[32] 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.[33]

[edit] Recent events

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."[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]
On 29 August 2008, Russia announced it would seek CSTO recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Three days before, on 26 AugHelpust, Russia recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[37] On 5 September 2008, Armenia assumed the rotating CSTO presidency during a CSTO meeting in Moscow, Russia.[38]
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.[39]

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