The traditional pre-New Year two-day informal CIS summit kicked off in the Russian city of St Petersburg on December 26.

According to the CIS Executive Committee, the meeting brought together President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, 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, and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The Tajik president’s official website says the CIS heads of state yesterday exchanged views on issues of further strengthening the multifaceted cooperation between the CIS member nations and a number of regional and international issues being of mutual interest. 

Meanwhile, Russian media reports say Russian President Vladimir said on Monday that the CIS member nations are ready to cooperate in solving growing common challenges and security threats, as well as disagreements in the bloc.

“We have to admit, unfortunately, that disagreements also arise between the member nations of the CIS.  The main thing, however, is that we are ready and will cooperate," Putin was quoted as saying during his opening remarks by Interfax

Putin reportedly also noted that Russia's trade with the CIS member nations could reach 100 billion U.S. dollars by the end of this year. 

He thanked the CIS heads of state for coming to the informal meeting in St. Petersburg. "It was a common desire; we have repeatedly referred to it. But still formally it is Russia's initiative and I am grateful to you for its support," the Russian president said.

Putin also added that meetings like these, in an informal environment between the heads of the Commonwealth states “are usually very effective.”

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization in Eurasia.  It was formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.  It covers an area of 20,368,759 km2 and has an estimated population of 239,796,010.  The CIS encourages cooperation in economic, political and military affairs and has certain powers relating to the coordination of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention.

Currently, there are 9 members of the CIS: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.  Two nations, Ukraine and Turkmenistan, have ratified the CIS Creation Agreement, making them “founding states of the CIS”, but did not ratify the subsequent Charter that would make them members of the CIS.  Georgia quitted the CIS in 2009.

Ukraine formally ended its participation in CIS statutory bodies in 2018, although it had stopped participating in the organization much earlier.  Ukraine has further stated that it intends to review its participation in all CIS agreements and only continue in those that are in its interests.  Ukraine remains a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area.  After the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia–Ukraine relations were completely broken,