Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a lose political organization consisting of former Soviet Republics. It was formed in the early days following the collapse of the USSR, designed to coordinate trade, finance, law, and security among member nations. The Commonwealth of Independent States is headquartered in Minsk.
Officially, the Commonwealth of Independent States came into existence on 8 December 1991, when the leaders of Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine met to create a successor to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Other former Soviet republics joined later that month. However, Georgia withdrew from membership in 2009, and Ukraine and Turkmenistan serve as associates, and not full members. One of the most visual examples of the Commonwealth of Independent States was its participation in the 1992 Winter and Summer Olympics as a “Unified Team.” However, since then each member nation has participated individually in international sport competitions.
Controversy dogs the Commonwealth of Independent States. In particular, the CIS Election Monitoring Organization has come under criticism for giving the stamp of approval to rigged elections in member nations, and interfering in democratic elections in Ukraine. Additionally, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, that nation’s parliament has debated bills condemning the CIS.