Staunton, July 9 – Moscow should dispense with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) because it does little good for Russia and allows its other members to get help from Moscow while adopting increasingly Russophobic positions on matters of concern to the Kremlin, Aleksandr Savelyev says.
Most CIS members today, the advisor to the Russian National Service for Economic Security says, are happy to remain in the CIS so that they can get preferential prices from Russia even as they feel themselves increasingly free to criticize Moscow. The war in Ukraine has only exacerbated this trend (regnum.ru/news/3656271.html).
Consequently, he continues, it is time to recognize that “the CIS as a Community in the genuine sense long ago ceased to exist in reality.” It isn’t even performing in the alternative way some of its members had expected, as “a mechanism for a civilized divorce” among the former Soviet republics.
Georgia has already formally left the CIS while Ukraine and Moldova have done so de facto and are likely to take the final step of exiting soon, Savelyev says. But the real problem is with those who remain. Many of them are getting Russian help even as they cozy up to the West against Moscow.
This situation is especially dire in the case of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, he continues. Indeed, “the growing anti-Russian attitudes [in the former] and their support by the authorities there could force Moscow to recall the Russian oblasts of the republic and also that Kazakhstan itself before 1936 was only an autonomous republic within the RSFSR.”
But in the Southern Caucasus, things are anything but good. Neither Baku nor Yerevan defers to Moscow despite the help it provides Armenia and the role it could play in helping resolve the Qarabagh dispute.
According to Savelyev, Moscow would benefit if it simply dispensed with the CIS and dealt with all these countries on a bilateral basis alone. The appearance of integration may satisfy some of the non-Russians but it only obscures and cannot stop “the real processes” of “the demise of the post-Soviet space.”
“The CIS is losing its reason for existence and has been transformed into a club where issues can be discussed but not resolved.” And he predicts that when the current CIS executive director leaves his post, Moscow will recognize the inevitable and do away with an institution that no longer has much of a purpose.