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This Day in History

World History

Sunday, December 8, 1991. :   Leaders of Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine meet to sign an agreement establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States, signalling the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

     The Soviet Union, or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state founded in 1922, centered on Russia, and regarded as one of the world's two super-powers, with the USA being the other. A model for Communist nations, the socialist government and the political organisation of the country were defined by the only permitted political party, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. However, the increasing push for independence among the states, together with the gradual crumbling of communism in the 1980s, led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, to be replaced by The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

On 8 December 1991, the leaders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine met in Belarus, and signed an agreement establishing the CIS. The CIS is a confederation now consisting of 11 former Soviet Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan, originally included in the CIS, discontinued permanent membership on 26 August 2005, but remains an associate member. According to Russian leaders, the purpose of the CIS was to "allow a civilised divorce" between the Soviet Republics. Sceptics regard the CIS as a tool that would allow Russia to keep its influence over the post-Soviet states. Since its formation, the member-states of CIS have signed a large number of documents concerning integration and cooperation on matters of economics, defense and foreign policy.

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