Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) - UPSC IR Notes

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1991 amongst the former countries of the Soviet Union. This article talks about CIS and its importance for the IAS Exam.

International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. International relations is a very dynamic part and is crucial for multiple papers in Prelims and Mains. Students preparing for UPSC 2020 and other Government Exams must be aware of the topic. 

What is the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)?

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization of the former Soviet Republics which is focused on cooperation in the following aspects:

  • Political, 
  • Economic, 
  • Environmental, 
  • Humanitarian, 
  • Cultural and Other Issues

History of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 leading to the foundation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). 

The founding states of the CIS include Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. 

The remaining republics of the Soviet Union joined the Commonwealth of Independent States after signing the Alma-Ata Protocol. Now, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has the following countries as its members:

  • Russia, Belarus & Ukraine
  • Armenia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.

Meetings are held periodically on a rotating basis at the CIS countries’ capitals. Forums include the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Prime Ministers, and the Council of Foreign Ministers.

What is the role of CIS?

  • The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) meets periodically on a rotating basis at the capitals of the Member Countries.
  • The Council of Heads of State, Council of Prime Ministers and Council of Foreign Ministers are included in the forums. 
  • The CIS performs its activities based on the CIS Charter which was signed in 1993 in order to set up various institutions of the CIS and their rules and functions.
  • This Charter incorporates the rights and obligations of the member countries along with the goals and principles of the Commonwealth.
  • 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. 
  • It also mentions that the Commonwealth of Independent States shall serve in developing and strengthening trust, mutual understanding, friendship, Inter-ethnic accord and cooperation between the member states.

Members of Commonwealth of Independent States

12 States — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

CIS Member Countries

The Commonwealth of Independent States has its headquarters located in Minsk, Belarus. Another important department of CIS i.e., CIS Executive Committee which looks after the economic affairs is situated in Moscow, Russia.

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