What Russia’s CIS Presidency Could Bring?

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As of January 1, 2024, the new chairmanship of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was transferred from the Kyrgyz Republic to the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized Bishkek’s active role in the organization throughout the year and stated that Moscow intends to act in close coordination with the former chair.[i]

Russia’s plan for the CIS presidency in 2024 was published on the Kremlin website. The document reads as follows:[ii] 

“In order to strengthen the financial sovereignty of the CIS countries, efforts will be made to expand the use of national currencies in mutual payments and to create payment infrastructure independent of third parties, including the establishment of direct communication links between banking organizations and the integration of cross-border payment mechanisms.”

In addition, Putin emphasized the importance of working together in the fight against terrorism and extremism, as well as cross-border crime, drug trafficking and corruption, and stressed that during Russia’s chairmanship in the CIS, emphasis will be placed on expanding cultural and humanitarian ties and cooperation in areas such as health, science, education and sports. Planning to ensure integration within the CIS, Russia will also focus on interaction with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the security sphere, and with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in the economic sphere.

Commenting on these goals, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said:[iii]

“Taking into account the principle of interconnectedness of the economies of the CIS and EAEU countries, we will pay attention to making decisions at the national and Eurasian levels to ensure the sustainability of these unions in new realities for the purpose of regional integration.”

Given that Russia will chair not only the CIS but also BRICS in 2024, Moscow plans to increase the coordination of these two organizations to strengthen their ties with BRICS.

One of the hot topics this year is the status of Armenia and Moldova in the CIS. Moldovan authorities plan to terminate a number of agreements with the CIS since 2022. By February 8, 2024, Moldova’s withdrawal from the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly will be complete. Valentina Matviyenko, President of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, said that while this would not harm the functionality of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, Chisinau’s withdrawal would be “a big loss for Moldova itself”.[iv]

Despite its desire to terminate a number of agreements, Chisinau does not want to leave the CIS free trade area in order not to lose important economic ties, “Moldova will not voluntarily leave any market,” Moldovan officials said, stressing that Chisinau will continue to terminate previous agreements with the community, which it considers “ineffective”. Speaking on a television program, Russian President Vladimir Putin said:[v] 

“We are still ready to cooperate with them and we are not pushing anyone away. Russia built the CIS and EEU platforms only on the voluntary basis of all participants. If Moldova does not want to be a participant in the integration process in the post-Soviet space, that is their choice. Let them do whatever they want. If they want to work, we are happy; if not, that is their choice.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, on the other hand, skipped a number of meetings, including the CIS summit in Kyrgyzstan, after Azerbaijan took final control of Karabakh. At the end of December 2023, Pashinyan attended the informal CIS summit in St. Petersburg and held talks with Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev.

As a result, Russia is expected to make moves to increase cooperation within the organization in 2024 when it assumes the CIS presidency. Under Russia’s presidency this year, the traditional CIS Summit is scheduled to be held on October 8, 2024 in the capital Moscow. Tajikistan is scheduled to assume the CIS presidency in 2025. Moscow also hopes to work in close coordination with Dushanbe to ensure continuity in the implementation of initiatives within the CIS framework.[vi]

[i] “Rusya’nın BDT başkanlığı dönemi başladı”, Sputnik,, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.01.2024).

[ii] “Обнародована концепция председательства России в СНГ в 2024 году”, Sputnik,, (Erişim Tarihi: 05.01.2024).

[iii] Ibıd.

[iv] Ibıd.

[v] Ibıd.

[vi] Ibıd.

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