CIS Sec­ond Breath: the Rus­sian Pres­i­dency in 2017

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Dr.Vladimir Evseev

In De­cem­ber, the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States turns 25 years old. Al­ready for a long time, one pre­dicts the or­ga­ni­za­tion to­tal obliv­ion and a way to the his­tor­i­cal past. How­ever, CIS continues to ex­ist and, per­haps it has even more strength­ened its po­si­tion in the near fu­ture, given Rus­sia’s chair­man­ship in the Com­mon­wealth in 2017.

Sum­ming up the re­sults of ac­tiv­ity of the CIS, it can be seen that it is the most rep­re­sen­ta­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion in the postSoviet space. Its struc­ture still con­sists of 11 of the 15 for­mer re­publics of the Soviet Union. The Baltic states im­me­di­ately re­fused to join the Com­mon­wealth, they later be­came part of the Euro­pean Union and NATO. Ge­or­gia in De­cem­ber 1993, was adopted in the CIS, but in Au­gust 2008, came out for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons. It should be noted that, in ac­cor­dance with the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion of 1969, Ge­or­gia is a mem­ber state of 75 mul­ti­lat­eral in­ter­na­tional agree­ments signed within the Com­mon­wealth. In par­tic­u­lar, the agree­ment on a free trade zone, judicial co­op­er­a­tion in crim­i­nal mat­ters, and other still con­tinue to be ap­plied. Tbil­isi is still will­ing to de­velop friendly and mu­tu­ally “in com­pli­ance with the prin­ci­ples of the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of States and tak­ing into ac­count bilateral in­ter­ests”. One rea­son for the longevity of the CIS is the fact that, ac­cord­ing to the Alma-Ata Dec­la­ra­tion, signed on 21 De­cem­ber 1991 in the then cap­i­tal of Kaza­khstan. The ac­tiv­ity of the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States is based on “the prin­ci­ple of equal­ity, through co­or­di­nat­ing in­sti­tu­tions formed on a par­ity ba­sis”. Com­mon­wealth “is nei­ther a state, nor a supra­na­tional en­tity”. This not only con­trib­uted to the so-called “civ­i­lized di­vorce” of the for­mer re­publics of the Soviet Union, but also cre­ated the con­di­tions for fur­ther eco­nomic relations with the coun­tries - par­tic­i­pants of the Com­mon­wealth be­gan to be built more on a bilateral ba­sis or within the frame­work of ma­jor in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions: UN, OSCE, NATO, the IMF, the WTO and oth­ers. And the dom­i­nant di­rec­tion of the for­eign pol­icy strat­egy of most for­mer Soviet re­publics be­came a so-called multi-vec­tor pol­icy. In ad­di­tion, the Alma-Ata Dec­la­ra­tion marked a re­spect for the states of the Com­mon­wealth, which will aim to achieve a nu­clear-free and neu­tral sta­tus, as well as “com­mit­ment to co­op­er­ate in the for­ma­tion and devel­op­ment of a com­mon eco­nomic space, Euro­pean and Eurasian mar­kets”. This has the ter­ri­tory of Kaza­khstan, Ukraine and Be­larus. Se­condly, it helped Turk­menistan ob­tain the sta­tus of a neu­tral state. Third, it ini­ti­ated the process of multi-level in­te­gra­tion of the for­mer Soviet Union, and not only in the eco­nomic sphere.

In May 1992, Ar­me­nia, Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Rus­sia, Ta­jik­istan and Uzbek­istan signed in Tashkent Col­lec­tive Se­cu­rity Treaty (CST). In Septem­ber of the fol­low­ing year Azer­bai­jan and Ge­or­gia joined the treaty, in De­cem­ber - Be­larus. That is, nine of the eleven CIS states signed the CST. How­ever, the sign­ing of the Col­lec­tive Se­cu­rity Treaty did not rule out mil­i­tary-po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion within the Com­mon­wealth. Es­pe­cially in view of the fail­ure in 1999 of Azer­bai­jan, Ge­or­gia and Uzbek­istan to renew its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Col­lec­tive Se­cu­rity Treaty. One of the rea­sons of the CIS de­mand was the need to re­solve re­gional se­cu­rity is­sues. In par­tic­u­lar, the CIS Coun­cil of De­fense Min­is­ters was forced to in­ter­vene in the civil war in Ta­jik­istan. This led to the cre­ation there of the CIS Col­lec­tive Peace­keep­ing Force, that coun­try. In Au­gust 1994, by the de­ci­sion of of the CIS Heads of State col­lec­tive forces were de­ployed for a pe­riod of six months for peace­keep­ing mis­sion (up to 3 thou­sand peo­ple). In re­al­ity, the pe­riod of 14 years that pre­vented a full-scale mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion be­tween Ge­or­gia and Abk­hazia. At the Com­mon­wealth summit in 2004, it was de­cided to es­tab­lish the CIS Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to com­bat ter­ror­ism in As­tana. In ad­di­tion, based on an agree­ment of ten CIS coun­tries (ex­cept Azer­bai­jan and Moldova), signed in 1995 in Alma-Ata, in­te­grated system of air de­fense (PVO) of the CIS coun­tries is op­er­at­ing. In 1997, Ge­or­gia and Turk­menistan

ac­tu­ally came out of it, and Uzbek­istan co­op­er­ates with this does not pre­vent the hold­ing of reg­u­lar joint ex­er­cises in If one talks about the prospects of the CIS, it should be noted that cur­rently the mil­i­tary struc­tures of the CIS and the Col­lec­tive Se­cu­rity Treaty Or­ga­ni­za­tion (CSTO) par­tially over­lap. Given the on­go­ing ori­en­ta­tion of Ge­or­gia, Moldova (in the pol­icy of the repub­lic may be some ad­just­ments, if its par­lia­ment in the near fu­ture qual­i­ta­tive changes) and Ukraine to the West, as well as the preser­va­tion of Turk­menistan’s neu­tral sta­tus, ap­par­ently, one should ex­pect weak­en­ing of the mil­i­tary struc­tures of the Com­mon­wealth. In­stead, sim­i­lar to the CSTO frame­work will act.

The con­cept of eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion of the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States (adopted in 1997) was based on the prin­ci­ple of “the mov­ing ge­om­e­try” of multi-level and mul­ti­co­op­er­a­tion. This al­lowed to cre­ate a com­mon eco­nomic space, in­clud­ing a free trade zone, pay­ments union, cus­toms union in prac­tice, within the CIS it failed to be im­ple­mented be­cause of the amor­phous and the in­ef­fec­tive­ness of co­op­er­a­tion in cer­tain ar­eas. As a way out of this si­t­u­a­tion, Kazakh Pres­i­dent Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev pro­posed on the ba­sis of the Com­mon­wealth to than that of the CIS. But it brings to­gether at least half of the states - mem­bers of the Com­mon­wealth. Con­se­quently, there re­mains a need in the con­ser­va­tion area to re­solve eco­nomic prob­lems. From this point of view, the re­place­ment of the CIS is still not in sight. A ma­jor chal­lenge was the Ukrainian cri­sis for the CIS, which relations be­tween the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion and Ukraine. But only the West­ern vec­tor in the form of as­so­ci­a­tion with the EU has brought eco­nomic pros­per­ity both to Kiev (and Tbil­isi and Kishinev). In such cir­cum­stances, the CIS holds Ukraine in the orbit of the for­mer Soviet Union, so one can ex­pect the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Kiev in the or­ga­ni­za­tion (on the back­ground of the com­ing to power of a new US Ad­min­is­tra­tion). Given the above, the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion’s chair­man­ship con­cept in the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States in 2017 has been de­vel­oped and the Ac­tion Plan for its im­ple­men­ta­tion. Within the frame­work of the Rus­sian Chair­man­ship it is planned to di­rect its ef­forts on the devel­op­ment of the Com­mon­wealth as a re­gional in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion, in­creas­ing its cred­i­bil­ity on the world stage, in the fur­ther co­or­di­na­tion of for­eign pol­icy ac­tiv­ity of the states - par­tic­i­pants of the CIS. In ad­di­tion, within the frame­work of the Com­mon­wealth co­or­di­nated ac­tions will be car­ried out to im­prove the co­op­er­a­tion in the CIS mech­a­nisms to mod­ern re­al­i­ties of in­te­gra­tion devel­op­ment, to en­sure po­lit­i­cal sup­port for dif­fer­ent lev­els of in­te­gra­tion pro­cesses, the devel­op­ment Com­mon­wealth, as well as the ex­pan­sion of cul­tural and hu­man­i­tar­ian co­op­er­a­tion. Achiev­ing th­ese goals will en­able the Com­mon­wealth to up­grade qual­ity to match the cur­rent for both re­gional and global re­al­i­ties. But this re­quires se­ri­ous sup­port from all states - par­tic­i­pants of the CIS. CIS has not yet ex­hausted its po­ten­tial, and the forth­com­ing Rus­sian chair­man­ship in the or­ga­ni­za­tion will cre­ate good op­por­tu­ni­ties for the strength­en­ing of the Com­mon­wealth, and for the gain­ing in this space multi-level in­te­gra­tion pro­cesses (pri­mar­ily in the frame­work of the CSTO and EAEC).

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