As the CIS heads toward a new a diminished status, it is worth recalling how and why it came into existence in the first place. Many view it as simply a product of the Beloveshchaya accords. But that is incorrect. Instead, it was a response by Moscow to the actions of the then-newly independent Central Asian countries.
After the leaders of the three Slavic republics agreed to disband the USSR, the leaders of the Central Asian countries met to discuss forming a new union among themselves. The prospect of some larger Muslim entity to the east was enough to prompt the Russian government to push for what became the CIS.
Some of those taking part saw it as little more than a divorce court to divide up the spoils of the empire; others hoped it would be something more, the skeleton around which a new political entity could be constructed. Ukraine’s departure more clearly than the exit of anyone else shows that the former were right and the latter are doomed to be disappointed.