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. Some of the members of the CIS have established the Eurasian Economic Community with the aim of creating a full-fledged common market.
HistoryThe 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 – agreed to join 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, and emphasizing that the Eurasian Economic Community became 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).
Military structuresWhen 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.
 Membership status of CIS countriesThe 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 to ratify the CIS Charter and is not a member of the CIS.
|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|
 Former members
|Georgia||—||3 December 1993||19 April 1994||18 August 2008||17 August 2009|
 Executive Secretaries of CIS
|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|
 Recent eventsFollowing the withdrawal of Georgia, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan skipped the Oct 2009 meeting of the CIS.
|Population (2007)||GDP 2006 (USD)||GDP 2007 (USD)||growth (2007)||per capita (2007)|
Collective Security Treaty Organisation 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.
 RenewalThe 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. 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.
 Recent eventsIn 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 before, on 26 AugHelpust, Russia recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 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.