The meeting resulted in the signing of the December 21 1991 of the Alma-Ata Declaration. The CIS countries emphasized their readiness to create a common economic space, and the unified command of the strategic armed forces remained. In 1993, Georgia became part of the CIS, but then the country again left the ranks of the Commonwealth of Independent States. As for the Baltic states, they initially demonstrated their unwillingness to participate in any integration processes and took a hostile position towards the Russian Federation, completely reorienting themselves to the United States and NATO.
Then there was still hope that the CIS will become to some extent a successor to the USSR and within its framework the countries of the Commonwealth will strengthen economic, military-strategic, and cultural relations. However, the actual practice of two and a half post-Soviet decades has shown that every year the former republics of the Soviet Union are further and further distancing themselves from each other. Since then, many political conflicts have occurred in the post-Soviet space, some of them even took the form of armed confrontation. Relations between some countries - participants of the CIS turned out to be spoiled, which could not but affect the functioning of the institutions of the organization - to a greater degree formal. For example, can Armenia and Azerbaijan seriously integrate, or, after the well-known events in the Donbas, Russia and Ukraine?
Nevertheless, on Friday in Bishkek, representatives of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States gathered in Bishkek. The capitals of Kyrgyzstan did not receive high-ranking guests for the first time - this is the third meeting of the CIS summit in Bishkek. However, at the summit, as expected, far from all the heads of the CIS countries arrived. For example, the leaders of Ukraine, Moldova and Turkmenistan traditionally refused to participate in the summit, having sent their representatives. This is due to several reasons. In Moldova, there is a difficult political situation now, so the president chose not to leave the country. Ukraine and Turkmenistan have never signed the charter of the CIS, so from a legal point of view they cannot be considered members of this organization, although they take part in its activities. Therefore, the Prime Minister arrived from Moldova, and the Deputy Prime Minister from Turkmenistan. Ukraine was represented at the lowest level by the country's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan was represented by the Foreign Minister - but everything is clear here, because President Islam Karimov recently passed away, and Acting Head of State Shavkat Mirziyoyev is now preparing for the upcoming presidential elections.
The fact that the summit would not be very simple was clear even before it began. The specificity of the political and economic processes taking place in the post-Soviet space is such that sooner or later it would be worth asking a question about the future prospects of the existence of the Commonwealth of Independent States, about the meaning and direction of the integration processes. The initiative to review the activities of the CIS was Kazakhstan. As you know, Kazakhstan is one of the few post-Soviet states that can boast a relatively high level of economic development and political stability by the standards of the former USSR. For this, the country is certainly worthy of every respect, like its leader Nursultan Nazarbayev - the last, after the death of Islam Karimov, the “old-timers” of the post-Soviet political Olympus. This time, Kazakhstan spoke in favor of reducing the CIS apparatus, as well as retaining only “strong” political and military issues in the competence of the discussion of the heads of state of the Commonwealth.
According to Nursultan Nazarbayev, which he expressed before, many of the hopes placed on the Commonwealth of Independent States did not come true. When the CIS was created, its founders hoped that a common defense space would be created, there would be free economic relations between members of the Commonwealth, citizens of the CIS countries would be able to move freely within the Commonwealth. But in reality, these hopes were unattainable. Every year the CIS countries increasingly distance themselves from each other, which indicates only one thing - dreams of integration break up when confronted with reality and it is hardly necessary to expect that this situation will suddenly change. Therefore, we must accept the situation as it is, and this also implies the adaptation of the CIS to the realities of the modern post-Soviet space.
For example, the military-strategic cooperation of the CIS countries today is largely carried out within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. These countries can indeed be considered military-political allies, especially since there were no armed and political conflicts between them that would be an obstacle to the development of cooperation in the defense sphere. It is within the CSTO that most joint military exercises in the post-Soviet space are being held today.
At the same time, Nazarbayev believes that the Commonwealth of Independent States is prematurely to bury. The CIS may well exist as a structure that allows for dialogue between the leaders of the post-Soviet republics. Thus, Nazarbayev led the CIS to the need to remove economic issues from the competence of this association of states. Considering that Kazakhstan has other integration projects, the CIS in this regard really does not represent much interest for Astana.
Nazarbayev’s stance on withdrawing economic issues from the CIS was supported at the Bishkek summit by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. He also complained that the republics-participants of the CIS did not manage to come to an agreement on many issues. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko described the results of the twenty-five-year existence of the Commonwealth of Independent States as disappointing and stressed that the CIS has gone from “the best to the worst”. Hope to improve the integration processes are no longer necessary.
In fact, over the twenty-five years of the existence of the CIS in the post-Soviet space, other integration projects have emerged, in which Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus play the most important role. It is no secret that warmer relations have developed between individual participants in the CIS. It turns out that within the space of the Commonwealth there are other, and more effective, integration structures. The most famous among them is the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. We can single out a group of countries that are more interested in the real development of integration processes. First of all, it is Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, as well as Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. To a lesser extent, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Uzbekistan are involved in integration processes, and to a still smaller extent - Turkmenistan.
As known. Turkmenistan has long pursued a policy of self-reliance, distancing itself from the integration processes in the post-Soviet space. However, among the post-Soviet republics, oddly enough, Turkmenistan is one of the most economically prosperous and maintains political stability, even if the political system established in the republic is accused of authoritarianism. Ashgabat managed to avoid bloody conflicts and the total economic crisis that accompanied the life of many states in the post-Soviet space.
As for Ukraine, until recently there was hope that the third post-Soviet Slavic state would take an active part in the integration processes. But after a coup d'état took place in Kiev in 2014 and pro-Western nationalist forces came to power in the country, hopes for Ukraine’s participation in the integration processes began to rapidly melt. It is already clear that Kiev has finally reoriented itself towards the United States and the European Union, and has taken an openly hostile position towards the Russian Federation. This actually excludes the possibility of full participation of Ukraine in the integration processes in the economy and, especially, in the military-political sphere.
By the way, the Ukrainian situation, as was to be expected, was touched upon at the Bishkek forum. When Nikolai Doroshenko, the country's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, who represented Ukraine, took the floor, he did not fail to return to the “Crimean issue”. The formal reason for the discontent of the Ukrainian representative was that the presidency in the Commonwealth of Independent States passed out of turn to the Russian Federation. The reason for this is Moldova’s refusal of the presidency. On this occasion, Doroshenko declared a protest of Ukraine. Secondly, the Ukrainian ambassador was very unhappy with the planned population census, which was decided to be held in all countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2020. As the representative of Ukraine, if Russia in the census will take into account the inhabitants of the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine does not recognize the results of the census. Recall that Kiev still refuses to recognize the accomplished reunification of the Crimea with Russia and calls the Crimea and Sevastopol only as “occupied territories”.
However, the Ukrainian ambassador received a worthy response from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Turning on his microphone, Vladimir Putin stressed that, first, Russia did not annex anything, and the events in Crimea were caused by the illegal actions of certain Ukrainian political forces and the coup d'état in Ukraine. Putin stressed that Crimea became Russian not as a result of annexation, but as a result of the free will of people living on the peninsula, which meets the requirements of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Secondly, as Vladimir Putin noted, Ukraine in its time did not sign the Charter of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Therefore, Ukraine’s attempts to make proposals regarding the functioning of the CIS, including criticizing the order of chairmanship in this structure, look very strange. Indeed, it is not entirely clear on what grounds Ukraine, without being formally a member of the CIS and not having signed the organization’s charter, is trying to dictate who, and in what order, should preside over the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Thus, the Bishkek Summit in the CIS was another confirmation of the arguments in favor of reforming this structure. The last years of the CIS exist as a “stillborn child”, and many of its members have uneasy relations with each other. It is possible that in the foreseeable future, if no steps are taken in the direction of revising the very concept of the existence of this trans-state organization, it will either cease to exist or remain only on paper. The role and place of the CIS in the post-Soviet space can take more successful projects. In the economic direction it is the Eurasian Economic Union, in the military-political - the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In order to preserve the CIS, it is necessary to revise the very foundations of the existence of this organization and answer the questions “what does the CIS need in the modern world?”, “What tasks can be solved in the future within the CIS?”, “Are all CIS countries really aimed at or should any of them be free? ”
Meanwhile, cooperation of the post-Soviet states is still extremely important, given the numerous risks and dangers of the modern world. For example, in Central Asia and the South Caucasus today there is a rather tense situation connected with the activation of international terrorist organizations in the countries of the Near and Middle East. Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan are the objects of increased attention from radical groups operating in the territory of neighboring Afghanistan. But the solution of the problem of ensuring antiterrorist security is hardly possible for each of these countries without active cooperation with other states, including the Russian Federation.
Of particular importance is the control over the situation in the post-Soviet space for Russia. After all, "a holy place is never empty," and as soon as Russia weakens its influence on political processes in the former Soviet republics, immediately there are ubiquitous competitors - the United States, the European Union, China, which, although it is a partner of Russia, pursues its own goals in the same Central Asia