The organization was founded on 8 December 1991 by the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, when the leaders of the three countries met in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Brest in Belarus and signed a Creation Agreement (Russian: Соглашение, Soglasheniye) on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of CIS as a successor entity to the USSR. At the same time they announced that the new alliance would be open to all republics of the former Soviet Union, as well as other nations sharing the same goals. The CIS charter stated that all the members were sovereign and independent nations and thereby effectively abolished the Soviet Union.
On 21 December 1991, the leaders of eight additional former Soviet Republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – signed the Alma-Ata Protocol and joined the CIS, thus bringing the number of participating countries to 11. Georgia joined two years later, in December 1993. As of that time, 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics participated in the CIS. The three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – chose not to join.
Between 2003 and 2005, three CIS member states experienced a change of government in a series of colour revolutions: Eduard Shevardnadze was overthrown in Georgia; Viktor Yushchenko was elected in Ukraine; and Askar Akayev was toppled in Kyrgyzstan. In February 2006, Georgia officially withdrew from the Council of Defense Ministers, with the statement that "Georgia has taken a course to join NATO and it cannot be part of two military structures simultaneously", but it remained a full member of the CIS until August 2009, one year after officially withdrawing in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 South Ossetia war. In March 2007, Igor Ivanov, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, expressed his doubts concerning the usefulness of the CIS, emphasizing that the Eurasian Economic Community was becoming a more competent organization to unify the largest countries of the CIS. Following the withdrawal of Georgia, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan skipped the October 2009 meeting of the CIS.
In May 2009, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine joined the Eastern Partnership, a project which was initiated by the European Union (EU).
Read more about this topic: Cis
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