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CIS Project: new reset

photo: daryo.uz
17 October 2023
Yuri SolozobovYuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

On 13 October 2023, Bishkek hosted the session of the Council of the Heads of States Ц members of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CHS CIS). President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and General Secretary of CIS Sergey Lebedev took part in the summit. A series of important documents were signed at the session of the Council of the Heads of States Ц members of CIS, including the Resolution on establishing the status of CIS observer and partner, establishing international organization for support and promotion of Russian language under the auspices of CIS. [1] This allows to say that CIS is being gradually reformatted and is opening the opportunities for new integration processes.

Two functions of the Commonwealth

Today there are completely opposite evaluations of the position and role of CIS in the post-Soviet history. Some politicians claim that the Commonwealth should have become an enhanced integration project like «USSR 2.0»; others believed CIS to be exclusively an instrument for «peaceful divorce» between the former Soviet republics. Time has proven that both these trends were in place. First of all, the Commonwealth allowed for almost conflict-free and bloodless resolution of various problems after the USSR disintegration, and then re-establish the economic, humanitarian and political relations in the new format. Of course, not all the CIS member-states turned out ready for deep interaction. However, the countries that were focused on rapprochement with Russia joined such successful formats as CSTO, the Customs Union, Eurasian Economic Union. There are more than seventy sectoral councils inside CIS regulating the interaction of the member countries in all spheres Ц from economy to military and political spheres.

It is often claimed that as a divorce instrument CIS has actually performed its main functional role for the FSU countries. By now, the national boundaries are in general defined and delimitated, the formats of interaction in the energy, humanitarian and military spheres are established and fine-tuned. Some experts support the standpoint that CIS is not able of giving anything interesting and productive for the development of the FSU countries. However, we cannot disregard the fact, that there is a huge package of effective agreements and contracts within the CIS area. For example, the CIS Free Trade Zone, which allows for trading even between the conflicting parties and have the same degree of integration like the EU had earlier. Another example: in a burst of emotions, Georgia demonstratively exited the CIS, but kept most of the agreements. They allowed for Georgian citizens to visit the CIS countries, and for Tbilisi Ц to have trade and economic cooperation within the Commonwealth. Such high degree of integration inside CIS resembles oxygen: when it is present in the room, we do not notice it, but as soon as it disappears, it becomes hard for us to breathe.

Another important CIS function which is often neglected Ц is assuring the system of mutual recognition for all the post-Soviet states. During the USSR disintegration, the former international legal framework was destroyed Ц it was no longer a guarantee of the status of its founders and members. At a certain point of time, it became clear that all the former Soviet republics turned out to be «under-recognized» in the capacity of new states. Let us remind here, that the modern national states have always been existing within the framework of mutual recognition. Historically, this system has played the role of the supreme arbitrator, imperial meta-sovereign or the Pope, which used to be the elements of the political system of medieval Europe and then Ц within the Westphalian System. Respectively, the former USSR republics at the initial stage of their independent existence were based on the status-quo of mutual recognition within the CIS. [2]

It is important to understand that FSU states emerged as a product of the internationally recognized dismantling of the Soviet empire, but not a result of the consolidating national liberation struggle or independent historically-successive development. This hushed-up fact has three important practical effects.

Firstly, it is the source of the birth trauma of identity intrinsic for some «newly independent states», which are overcoming it using different formats. Including the format of pro-Western velvet revolutions or the sublimation of the negative myth about the allegedly centuries-long «Russian colonialism».

Secondly, it means their essential dependency on the international covering up for each other, at least, within the CIS. This explains the obvious timidity in legitimation of the unrecognized states in the FSU area, long-lasting incapacity to resolve the frozen conflicts and surprising unconcern with the future of the divided nations.

And finally, the principle of preserving the status-quo or of inviolability of the post-imperial borders is rather fragile. Inertia cannot be the grounds for security, especially when a neo-imperial area emerges on a global scale. We mean here the current claims of the collective West to perform as the global arbitrator with the right to decide who is right and who is in fault. The world has come on the run, the frozen conflicts get defrosted Ц in the Caucasus and in the Middle East. It seems that the system of mutual recognition of national states is no longer a reliable guarantee of sovereignty.

The specific feature of Russia and of some other countries (China or Iran) is that each of them is implementing its own civilization project, not somebody elseТs transnational one. Russia participates in the international system, but it views its own big space as a historically inherently valued world. In essence, Russia is implementing its own analogue of the Monroe doctrine in Northern Eurasia, including the development of the local international system resistant to external interference. [3] It means, that the CIS project today is becoming especially valuable for us as the area of civilizational choice.

Three «bonds» for CIS

Many times, the CIS project was called «still born» and finished, but contrary to all the skeptics, the Commonwealth continues to develop and stays in demand. What is the reason for such enviable steadiness? In the material «CIS: twenty years after the divorce» published in the collection «de FUTURO, or the History of the Future», we defined three main reasons of mutual interest of Russia and the FSU countries in the format of the Commonwealth. [4]

The first one is the common infrastructure. The powerful nation-wide fuel-and-energy complex was the backbone of it, the so-called «the community of the Pipe». In essence, it became the most important integration mechanism of the FSU area. Shared transportation and communication lines, transit routes within the USSR should also be attributed to this factor, and they remain in operation despite formal political and economic independence of the newly emerged states.

The second important bond is «the brotherhood in arms»; military and political commonness of the Soviet air defense system and of the military standards. It is manifested in joint usage of the soviet weapons inventories, the interconnected elements of the military infrastructure and the defense industry complex of the former Soviet Union. This factor also includes joint military drills, sharing the intelligence data, additional weapons supplies and similarities of the command and staff systems. For example, the military universities and academies of Russia are still successfully training officers from CIS countries. CSTO is the corner-stone of the security system in the territory of the FSU countries, which are the members of this organization. One of the examples of such mutual support was the military operation of CSTO forces in Kazakhstan in January 2022.

The third factor is the language and cultural commonness achieved in the times of the USSR. It was manifested in the leading role of the Russian language, in the existing unity of educational, cultural, mental and managerial templates. Russian is a commonly accepted language of the world, in terms of its popularity and dissemination it holds the fifth position among the global languages. Russian is the official language of Russia and Belarus, one of the official languages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and some other countries. It is the main language of international communication in the FSU countries, and across the entire territory of Northern Eurasia. A huge text corpus has been accumulated in Russian, including not only the works of the great Russian writers of the past, but also a gigantic layer of scientific and technical documentation. The attempts of some FSU countries to quickly refuse from using Russian or to switch to Latin alphabet were always followed by failures in education and technical culture.

However, during the past thirty years since the disintegration of the USSR, sweeping changes occurred in the political order, the economy and the society of the FSU countries. National development started to prevail over the common Soviet past, the new generation without this common past stepped into the political arena. The number of citizens born after 1991 is getting close to half of the population not only in the Central Asian countries with their high birth rate, but also in the other CIS countries. The former Soviet republics get more and more diverged in terms of their foreign policy targets, and leads to greater gaps Ц both in the living standards, and in political cultures and everyday practices. If we take a closer look at the recent events in CIS, it is not difficult to note that all the three fundamental «bonds» connecting the FSU countries with Russia were subject to significant erosion. All this makes the cogitative politicians be extremely serious about the need for the imminent changes in the CIS project.

New reset

What should be an adequate response on behalf of the CIS to the emerging challenges? If we take a closer look at the moves by the pro-Western countries, we can see that they are consistently breaking all the three fundamental bonds of the CIS. For example, Ukraine has openly designated itself as «anti-Russia» and terminated the cooperation in the energy sphere and the cargo transit, prohibits Russian Language and culture, sweepingly moves to NATO weapons and standards. It means that the first priority for the Commonwealth members should be searching for fresh approaches to strengthening the three fundamental bonds and to expanding the sphere of their joint activities. Today, in the sphere of transportation and logistics Russia and its allies in CIS are implementing a number of ambitious projects to upgrade the transportation network, build high-speed routes and new transit corridors such as North-South ITC, for example. In the energy sphere we can observe an expansion of gas pipelines system in Central Asia and the program of building new nuclear power plants. All of this creates additional communication connectivity among the Commonwealth members.

In the sphere of military and technical cooperation, many dangerous and peaceful illusions were dispelled, because the hegemony of the West continues to instigate local war, to foment the chronic conflicts and to create new ones. Inside the CIS there is now a clear understanding that only strong modernized armies of the Commonwealth may guarantee peaceful and stable development of the member states. Interaction in the military sphere is, of course, a reliable stabilizing factor across the entire CIS space. The experience of Azerbaijan during the victorious Second Karabakh War and recent anti-terrorism actions proved the importance of on-going retraining and modernization of the armed forces. The activities of the CIS Council of the Defense Ministers and its coordination committees is targeted at analyzing the threats and challenges of today, as well as incorporating the best military practices of Baku.

The liaison between the CIS Council of the Defense Ministers and the structures of CSTO and SCO are growing more and more important. According to Sergey Lebedev, the General Secretary of CIS, the member states are undertaking practical steps to strengthen their stability and security. [5]

And finally, a few words about the third bond. During the time since disintegration of the USSR, the Russian language distribution area all over the globe shrank three times. According to some experts, in 1990, about 350-400 million people spoke Russian, but today their number decreased by 150 million. Such core organizations as «Rossotrudnichestvo» (the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation) and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Foundation were not successful in breaking this dangerous trend and their activities were limited to just propaganda. This required the set-up of a new international organization to support and promote Russian language under the auspices of CIS. Let us remind here that it was Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, who proposed to establish such an organization inside the Commonwealth in December 2021 at his meeting with the RF President Vladimir Putin. All the countries participating in the Bishkek Summit acknowledge that Russian is the key language for the Commonwealth. Russian language skills allow for the citizens of the CIS member countries to communicate freely, work, trade and receive education. This leading role of Russian language will be fixed by expanding the Russian schoolsТ network and the branches of the leading Russian universities in the member countries. [6]

Regional experts give a high evaluation of the recent CIS meeting in Bishkek. «The completed CIS Summit may be viewed as a historical one, when the association  having shrunk to the minimal level for the first time became effective again and started moving upwards after pushing itself off the bottom», Denis Berdakov, a political scientist from Kyrgyzstan and the Director of Elchi, the center for social and political studies, believes. According to the expert, the Commonwealth is not only a humanitarian, linguistic and military alliance, it is also an economic association. Today there is a real need for the Free Trade Zone, which could go beyond the EAEU, covering not only Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but also Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The expert also especially emphasize the set-up of the observer and partner status in the CIS. This will provide additional opportunities for deepening the cooperation between the Commonwealth and the countries not being CIS members, as well as the cooperation with international organizations. [7]

Sergey Lebedev, the General Secretary of CIS, is viewing the further interaction in the Commonwealth with optimism. «The common opinion still persists that CIS is necessary; it is in demand. In the current difficult global situation interaction within the Commonwealth helps us to overcome many difficulties and to resolve many problems», Sergey Lebedev stated in Bishkek. [8] We can agree with that, because just now in front of our eyes the CIS project is experiencing the revival. The Commonwealth is becoming a new format for «soft» integration around Russia and unites a number of friendly countries, which so far cannot join the EAEU or CSTO due to the Western sanctions or for other reasons. The status of observer and partner will allow the Commonwealth to go beyond the confined post-Soviet framework and to become the center of attraction for other truly independent states of the non-Western world.

Provision of forced-based international guarantees for logistic and energy transit routes may become another high-potential area of CIS activities. We may be talking here about the trans-national agreement in the energy and transportation spheres similar to the international straits agreements adopted back in the last century and still staing in effect. All this can noticeably enhance the capabilities of the Commonwealth and will contribute to increasing its role on the international arena.

1. Documents adopted at the session of the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States. President of Russia Ц official website, 14.10.2023. http://www.kremlin.ru/supplement/5856

2. Yuri Solozobov. Unrecognized Eurasia. Logos journal, є6, 2004.

3. SCO Summit as a version of the Monroe doctrine in Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 07.08.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/sammit-shos-kak-variant-evrazijskoj-doktriny-monro-38450.shtml

4. Yuri Solozobov. CIS: twenty years after the divorce. Post-Soviet space is on the edge of changes. De futuro, or History of the Future / Edited by D.A. Andreyev, V.B. Prozorov. M.: Political establishment; Association of Russian Society Researchers - XXI, 2008.

5. Lebedev: the CSI member states are undertaking practical steps for strengthening their stability and security. BELTA, 29.09.2023. https://www.belta.by/politics/view/lebedev-strany-sng-predprinimajut-prakticheskie-shagi-dlja-ukreplenija-stabilnosti-i-bezopasnosti-591097-2023/

6. The Heads of the CIS states signed the agreement on establishing an international organization for Russian language. KAZAKHSTAN TODAY, 13.10.2023. https://www.kt.kz/rus/politics/glavy_gosudarstv_sng_podpisali_dokumenty_o_sozdanii_1377956652.html

7. The statuses of the observer and the partner were established in CIS. CIS website, 13.10.2023. https://e-cis.info/news/564/112827/

8. The CIS General Secretary is looking at the prospects of cooperation within the Commonwealth with optimism. BELTA, 12.10.2023. https://www.sb.by/articles/gensek-sng-smotrit-s-optimizmom-na-dalneyshee-vzaimodeystvie-v-stranakh-sodruzhestva.html

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

CIS Project: new reset

photo: daryo.uz
17 окт€бр€ 2023
Yuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

On 13 October 2023, Bishkek hosted the session of the Council of the Heads of States Ц members of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CHS CIS). President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and General Secretary of CIS Sergey Lebedev took part in the summit. A series of important documents were signed at the session of the Council of the Heads of States Ц members of CIS, including the Resolution on establishing the status of CIS observer and partner, establishing international organization for support and promotion of Russian language under the auspices of CIS. [1] This allows to say that CIS is being gradually reformatted and is opening the opportunities for new integration processes.

Two functions of the Commonwealth

Today there are completely opposite evaluations of the position and role of CIS in the post-Soviet history. Some politicians claim that the Commonwealth should have become an enhanced integration project like «USSR 2.0»; others believed CIS to be exclusively an instrument for «peaceful divorce» between the former Soviet republics. Time has proven that both these trends were in place. First of all, the Commonwealth allowed for almost conflict-free and bloodless resolution of various problems after the USSR disintegration, and then re-establish the economic, humanitarian and political relations in the new format. Of course, not all the CIS member-states turned out ready for deep interaction. However, the countries that were focused on rapprochement with Russia joined such successful formats as CSTO, the Customs Union, Eurasian Economic Union. There are more than seventy sectoral councils inside CIS regulating the interaction of the member countries in all spheres Ц from economy to military and political spheres.

It is often claimed that as a divorce instrument CIS has actually performed its main functional role for the FSU countries. By now, the national boundaries are in general defined and delimitated, the formats of interaction in the energy, humanitarian and military spheres are established and fine-tuned. Some experts support the standpoint that CIS is not able of giving anything interesting and productive for the development of the FSU countries. However, we cannot disregard the fact, that there is a huge package of effective agreements and contracts within the CIS area. For example, the CIS Free Trade Zone, which allows for trading even between the conflicting parties and have the same degree of integration like the EU had earlier. Another example: in a burst of emotions, Georgia demonstratively exited the CIS, but kept most of the agreements. They allowed for Georgian citizens to visit the CIS countries, and for Tbilisi Ц to have trade and economic cooperation within the Commonwealth. Such high degree of integration inside CIS resembles oxygen: when it is present in the room, we do not notice it, but as soon as it disappears, it becomes hard for us to breathe.

Another important CIS function which is often neglected Ц is assuring the system of mutual recognition for all the post-Soviet states. During the USSR disintegration, the former international legal framework was destroyed Ц it was no longer a guarantee of the status of its founders and members. At a certain point of time, it became clear that all the former Soviet republics turned out to be «under-recognized» in the capacity of new states. Let us remind here, that the modern national states have always been existing within the framework of mutual recognition. Historically, this system has played the role of the supreme arbitrator, imperial meta-sovereign or the Pope, which used to be the elements of the political system of medieval Europe and then Ц within the Westphalian System. Respectively, the former USSR republics at the initial stage of their independent existence were based on the status-quo of mutual recognition within the CIS. [2]

It is important to understand that FSU states emerged as a product of the internationally recognized dismantling of the Soviet empire, but not a result of the consolidating national liberation struggle or independent historically-successive development. This hushed-up fact has three important practical effects.

Firstly, it is the source of the birth trauma of identity intrinsic for some «newly independent states», which are overcoming it using different formats. Including the format of pro-Western velvet revolutions or the sublimation of the negative myth about the allegedly centuries-long «Russian colonialism».

Secondly, it means their essential dependency on the international covering up for each other, at least, within the CIS. This explains the obvious timidity in legitimation of the unrecognized states in the FSU area, long-lasting incapacity to resolve the frozen conflicts and surprising unconcern with the future of the divided nations.

And finally, the principle of preserving the status-quo or of inviolability of the post-imperial borders is rather fragile. Inertia cannot be the grounds for security, especially when a neo-imperial area emerges on a global scale. We mean here the current claims of the collective West to perform as the global arbitrator with the right to decide who is right and who is in fault. The world has come on the run, the frozen conflicts get defrosted Ц in the Caucasus and in the Middle East. It seems that the system of mutual recognition of national states is no longer a reliable guarantee of sovereignty.

The specific feature of Russia and of some other countries (China or Iran) is that each of them is implementing its own civilization project, not somebody elseТs transnational one. Russia participates in the international system, but it views its own big space as a historically inherently valued world. In essence, Russia is implementing its own analogue of the Monroe doctrine in Northern Eurasia, including the development of the local international system resistant to external interference. [3] It means, that the CIS project today is becoming especially valuable for us as the area of civilizational choice.

Three «bonds» for CIS

Many times, the CIS project was called «still born» and finished, but contrary to all the skeptics, the Commonwealth continues to develop and stays in demand. What is the reason for such enviable steadiness? In the material «CIS: twenty years after the divorce» published in the collection «de FUTURO, or the History of the Future», we defined three main reasons of mutual interest of Russia and the FSU countries in the format of the Commonwealth. [4]

The first one is the common infrastructure. The powerful nation-wide fuel-and-energy complex was the backbone of it, the so-called «the community of the Pipe». In essence, it became the most important integration mechanism of the FSU area. Shared transportation and communication lines, transit routes within the USSR should also be attributed to this factor, and they remain in operation despite formal political and economic independence of the newly emerged states.

The second important bond is «the brotherhood in arms»; military and political commonness of the Soviet air defense system and of the military standards. It is manifested in joint usage of the soviet weapons inventories, the interconnected elements of the military infrastructure and the defense industry complex of the former Soviet Union. This factor also includes joint military drills, sharing the intelligence data, additional weapons supplies and similarities of the command and staff systems. For example, the military universities and academies of Russia are still successfully training officers from CIS countries. CSTO is the corner-stone of the security system in the territory of the FSU countries, which are the members of this organization. One of the examples of such mutual support was the military operation of CSTO forces in Kazakhstan in January 2022.

The third factor is the language and cultural commonness achieved in the times of the USSR. It was manifested in the leading role of the Russian language, in the existing unity of educational, cultural, mental and managerial templates. Russian is a commonly accepted language of the world, in terms of its popularity and dissemination it holds the fifth position among the global languages. Russian is the official language of Russia and Belarus, one of the official languages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and some other countries. It is the main language of international communication in the FSU countries, and across the entire territory of Northern Eurasia. A huge text corpus has been accumulated in Russian, including not only the works of the great Russian writers of the past, but also a gigantic layer of scientific and technical documentation. The attempts of some FSU countries to quickly refuse from using Russian or to switch to Latin alphabet were always followed by failures in education and technical culture.

However, during the past thirty years since the disintegration of the USSR, sweeping changes occurred in the political order, the economy and the society of the FSU countries. National development started to prevail over the common Soviet past, the new generation without this common past stepped into the political arena. The number of citizens born after 1991 is getting close to half of the population not only in the Central Asian countries with their high birth rate, but also in the other CIS countries. The former Soviet republics get more and more diverged in terms of their foreign policy targets, and leads to greater gaps Ц both in the living standards, and in political cultures and everyday practices. If we take a closer look at the recent events in CIS, it is not difficult to note that all the three fundamental «bonds» connecting the FSU countries with Russia were subject to significant erosion. All this makes the cogitative politicians be extremely serious about the need for the imminent changes in the CIS project.

New reset

What should be an adequate response on behalf of the CIS to the emerging challenges? If we take a closer look at the moves by the pro-Western countries, we can see that they are consistently breaking all the three fundamental bonds of the CIS. For example, Ukraine has openly designated itself as «anti-Russia» and terminated the cooperation in the energy sphere and the cargo transit, prohibits Russian Language and culture, sweepingly moves to NATO weapons and standards. It means that the first priority for the Commonwealth members should be searching for fresh approaches to strengthening the three fundamental bonds and to expanding the sphere of their joint activities. Today, in the sphere of transportation and logistics Russia and its allies in CIS are implementing a number of ambitious projects to upgrade the transportation network, build high-speed routes and new transit corridors such as North-South ITC, for example. In the energy sphere we can observe an expansion of gas pipelines system in Central Asia and the program of building new nuclear power plants. All of this creates additional communication connectivity among the Commonwealth members.

In the sphere of military and technical cooperation, many dangerous and peaceful illusions were dispelled, because the hegemony of the West continues to instigate local war, to foment the chronic conflicts and to create new ones. Inside the CIS there is now a clear understanding that only strong modernized armies of the Commonwealth may guarantee peaceful and stable development of the member states. Interaction in the military sphere is, of course, a reliable stabilizing factor across the entire CIS space. The experience of Azerbaijan during the victorious Second Karabakh War and recent anti-terrorism actions proved the importance of on-going retraining and modernization of the armed forces. The activities of the CIS Council of the Defense Ministers and its coordination committees is targeted at analyzing the threats and challenges of today, as well as incorporating the best military practices of Baku.

The liaison between the CIS Council of the Defense Ministers and the structures of CSTO and SCO are growing more and more important. According to Sergey Lebedev, the General Secretary of CIS, the member states are undertaking practical steps to strengthen their stability and security. [5]

And finally, a few words about the third bond. During the time since disintegration of the USSR, the Russian language distribution area all over the globe shrank three times. According to some experts, in 1990, about 350-400 million people spoke Russian, but today their number decreased by 150 million. Such core organizations as «Rossotrudnichestvo» (the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation) and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Foundation were not successful in breaking this dangerous trend and their activities were limited to just propaganda. This required the set-up of a new international organization to support and promote Russian language under the auspices of CIS. Let us remind here that it was Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, who proposed to establish such an organization inside the Commonwealth in December 2021 at his meeting with the RF President Vladimir Putin. All the countries participating in the Bishkek Summit acknowledge that Russian is the key language for the Commonwealth. Russian language skills allow for the citizens of the CIS member countries to communicate freely, work, trade and receive education. This leading role of Russian language will be fixed by expanding the Russian schoolsТ network and the branches of the leading Russian universities in the member countries. [6]

Regional experts give a high evaluation of the recent CIS meeting in Bishkek. «The completed CIS Summit may be viewed as a historical one, when the association  having shrunk to the minimal level for the first time became effective again and started moving upwards after pushing itself off the bottom», Denis Berdakov, a political scientist from Kyrgyzstan and the Director of Elchi, the center for social and political studies, believes. According to the expert, the Commonwealth is not only a humanitarian, linguistic and military alliance, it is also an economic association. Today there is a real need for the Free Trade Zone, which could go beyond the EAEU, covering not only Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but also Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The expert also especially emphasize the set-up of the observer and partner status in the CIS. This will provide additional opportunities for deepening the cooperation between the Commonwealth and the countries not being CIS members, as well as the cooperation with international organizations. [7]

Sergey Lebedev, the General Secretary of CIS, is viewing the further interaction in the Commonwealth with optimism. «The common opinion still persists that CIS is necessary; it is in demand. In the current difficult global situation interaction within the Commonwealth helps us to overcome many difficulties and to resolve many problems», Sergey Lebedev stated in Bishkek. [8] We can agree with that, because just now in front of our eyes the CIS project is experiencing the revival. The Commonwealth is becoming a new format for «soft» integration around Russia and unites a number of friendly countries, which so far cannot join the EAEU or CSTO due to the Western sanctions or for other reasons. The status of observer and partner will allow the Commonwealth to go beyond the confined post-Soviet framework and to become the center of attraction for other truly independent states of the non-Western world.

Provision of forced-based international guarantees for logistic and energy transit routes may become another high-potential area of CIS activities. We may be talking here about the trans-national agreement in the energy and transportation spheres similar to the international straits agreements adopted back in the last century and still staing in effect. All this can noticeably enhance the capabilities of the Commonwealth and will contribute to increasing its role on the international arena.

1. Documents adopted at the session of the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States. President of Russia Ц official website, 14.10.2023. http://www.kremlin.ru/supplement/5856

2. Yuri Solozobov. Unrecognized Eurasia. Logos journal, є6, 2004.

3. SCO Summit as a version of the Monroe doctrine in Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 07.08.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/sammit-shos-kak-variant-evrazijskoj-doktriny-monro-38450.shtml

4. Yuri Solozobov. CIS: twenty years after the divorce. Post-Soviet space is on the edge of changes. De futuro, or History of the Future / Edited by D.A. Andreyev, V.B. Prozorov. M.: Political establishment; Association of Russian Society Researchers - XXI, 2008.

5. Lebedev: the CSI member states are undertaking practical steps for strengthening their stability and security. BELTA, 29.09.2023. https://www.belta.by/politics/view/lebedev-strany-sng-predprinimajut-prakticheskie-shagi-dlja-ukreplenija-stabilnosti-i-bezopasnosti-591097-2023/

6. The Heads of the CIS states signed the agreement on establishing an international organization for Russian language. KAZAKHSTAN TODAY, 13.10.2023. https://www.kt.kz/rus/politics/glavy_gosudarstv_sng_podpisali_dokumenty_o_sozdanii_1377956652.html

7. The statuses of the observer and the partner were established in CIS. CIS website, 13.10.2023. https://e-cis.info/news/564/112827/

8. The CIS General Secretary is looking at the prospects of cooperation within the Commonwealth with optimism. BELTA, 12.10.2023. https://www.sb.by/articles/gensek-sng-smotrit-s-optimizmom-na-dalneyshee-vzaimodeystvie-v-stranakh-sodruzhestva.html