What is the CIS? What are the objectives of this international organization? And how close is cooperation in the “Russia - CIS countries” system? This will be discussed in this article.

The history of the organization

The CIS is a voluntary international organization in Eurasia, created to strengthen cooperation between states. The abbreviation stands for “The Commonwealth of Independent States”. Which states are members of the CIS? The countries that were once part of the former USSR constituted the backbone of this international organization.

CIS: countries and organization

The creation of the organization was attended by the leaders of three countries - Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The corresponding agreement was signed by them in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in December 1991. By the same step it was recognized that the Soviet Union, as a state entity, ceased to exist. And so was born the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Countries were part of this organization on the basis of a common history, common roots and proximity of cultures. And the main goal of the future organization was declared the desire to develop and deepen relations between the young sovereign countries.

Five days after the meeting in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the heads of five states of Central Asia declared their intention to join the Commonwealth on equal terms. The main tenets of the organization’s activities were declared by its members on December 21, 1991 in Almaty. The last to join the organization were Georgia (in 1993) and Moldova (in 1994). And in January 1993, the Charter was approved in Minsk - the main document of this Eurasian organization.

CIS countries: list

At the moment, the organization has 9 members. Which countries are in the CIS today?

According to the organization’s Charter, only those countries that have ratified the agreement on its creation are considered members of the CIS. It is worth noting that some of the participating countries (in particular, Russia and Ukraine) have not implemented this formality. Therefore, purely legally (on paper) they cannot be considered members of the CIS.

The participating countries are listed below. All of them, more or less, contributed to the development of this structure. So, the CIS countries (list):

Two more states (these are Turkmenistan and Ukraine) have the status of “observers” in this organization.

In 2009, in connection with the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia leaves the Commonwealth. In the fall of 2014, the process of leaving the CIS was initiated in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Among other things, the desire to join the organization was expressed by those states that had no relation to the USSR. In particular, we are talking about Mongolia and Afghanistan. Today, these countries are observers in individual bodies of the Commonwealth.

Structure and main objectives of the CIS activities

The modern structure of the Commonwealth is represented by several dozens of different bodies. All important decisions are discussed and made at the Council of Heads of the CIS countries. To date, the head of this Council is Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The basis of the activities of an international organization is the principle of equality of its participants. The main objectives of the CIS include the following:

  • close economic, political, and cultural interaction between countries;
  • monitoring the observance of human rights in all states;
  • provision of mutual legal assistance;
  • assistance in the peaceful settlement of all conflicts and disputes between the CIS member countries.

Russia and CIS countries

Russia has been working closely with the Commonwealth since the very first year of the organization’s existence. Moreover, it is one of the three founders of the CIS.

Cooperation in the Russia-CIS system is carried out in the following areas:

  • industry;
  • agro-industrial complex;
  • building complex;
  • transport system and communications;
  • science and higher education;
  • trade and finance;
  • military defensive complex;
  • security issues and the fight against terrorism.

With all CIS countries, Russia introduced a visa-free regime. The annual trade turnover of Russia with the Commonwealth states is approximately 50 billion dollars. The organization also maintains close cultural ties between its members, which have developed over many years of a common history.


The Commonwealth of Independent States is an international organization of regional scale. Members of the CIS - countries that were previously part of the USSR. This international organization was established in December 1991, in the Belovezhskaya Forest, immediately after the collapse of a powerful superpower.