On Friday, October 11, a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State will be held in Ashgabat. According to the website of the executive committee of the community, the leaders intend to discuss the development of relations between the countries, as well as the prospects for the chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the CIS in 2020.
As noted by the Assistant to the President of Russia, Yuri Ushakov, the meeting will traditionally be held in two formats: narrow and expanded.
“In a narrow format, the heads of state will touch upon the most pressing issues of developing cooperation within the CIS, present their vision of future tasks, some specific issues, that is, there will be informal communication between the leadership. And several decisions will be made, ”said Ushakov on October 10.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was also invited to an event in the capital of Turkmenistan. Although under the former president Petro Poroshenko, Kiev stated that it was leaving the CIS, the international organization itself did not receive any documents from Ukraine regarding its withdrawal. As a result, an official invitation to the summit was sent to both Zelensky and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Priestayko. However, neither one nor the other gave a definite answer.
- © Michael Runkel / imageBROKER.com
According to the Kremlin’s press service, at a meeting in Ashgabat “it is planned to summarize the results of cooperation within the framework of the commonwealth this year in trade, economic and social spheres, in the field of foreign policy and security”.
At a meeting in the capital of Turkmenistan - it is this country that is currently chairing the CIS - the heads of state of the community will consider a draft Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation.
Country leaders also plan to sign the Convention on the Transfer of the Execution of Sentences Not Associated with Deprivation of Liberty. This document will strengthen the cooperation of states in the criminal law sphere and will enable convicted foreigners from the CIS countries to serve their sentences both in the country where they were sentenced and in their homeland.
The CIS countries must also approve a joint appeal to the peoples of the community and the world community on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War celebrated next year.
This document was agreed on the eve by the foreign ministers of the countries of the commonwealth. Their meeting also took place in Ashgabat. In addition, the heads of foreign affairs agencies examined the parameters of a number of documents to be approved by the leaders at the summit. They relate to cooperation in the fight against corruption, extremism and terrorism, and also address the issues of information exchange between law enforcement agencies of the CIS countries.
Also at their meeting, the foreign ministers adopted a program of action to strengthen foreign policy partnerships and, at the proposal of Russia, adopted a joint statement “On Supporting Practical Steps to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space”. The games of the CIS countries in Kazan planned for 2020 were also discussed.
- The military personnel of the CIS countries
- © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
As MGIMO Associate Professor Kirill Koktysh noted in an interview with RT, despite the fact that many interstate organizations have appeared in the post-Soviet space since 1991, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the EAEU and the SCO, the CIS is still a “very necessary format”.
The international structure unites most of the republics of the former USSR. At the same time, the heads of some CIS countries would not intersect in other formats. This allows the community to remain an effective platform for international cooperation, the expert said.
“The CIS is an organization with special functionality. This is a club within the framework of which it is possible to coordinate each other's interests, ”Koktysh said in an interview with RT.
In turn, the professor of the RANEPA Alexander Mikhailenko noted the importance of the fact that the summit is being held in Ashgabat.
“The summit will be in Turkmenistan, which has declared itself a neutral state. However, she is interested in cooperation through the CIS. Countries understand that cooperation is beneficial, ”he stressed in an interview with RT.
A similar point of view is shared by Andrei Suzdaltsev, Deputy Dean of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.
“For many years within the CIS, there were problematic participants that complicated its work. For example, Georgia or Ukraine. There were also countries evading work within the framework of the community. They had a neutral policy. Such a problem was with Turkmenistan. And the fact that the summit is taking place in Ashgabat indirectly suggests that Turkmenistan is stepping up its participation in the CIS, ”he said in an interview with RT.
At a time when the post-Soviet space is going through difficult times, which is primarily associated with the Ukrainian crisis, country leaders need a frank conversation, the analyst said.
“It is also worth considering that the transit of power has begun. The leaders who founded the CIS are starting to leave. This will be the first summit in which Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev, who succeeded Nursultan Nazarbayev as president of Kazakhstan, will take part, ”said Suzdaltsev.
In his opinion, at the summit special attention will be paid to economic problems.
“In this direction, all the questions will be asked by our leadership, since Russia is the locomotive of the CIS economy,” the political scientist believes.
- Vladimir Putin and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
- © Alexei Nikolsky / RIA News
Traditionally, the summits of the heads of state of the CIS are also the venue for bilateral negotiations. According to Yuri Ushakov, even before the start of the forum, Vladimir Putin will meet with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The Russian leader has recently had the opportunity to communicate with most leaders who will participate in a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State.
So, on October 1, Putin in Yerevan, together with colleagues from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, attended a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (VEES) and met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
On October 3 in Sochi, he met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and with Kazakh leader Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev.
According to experts, in Ashgabat the Russian president can continue a series of meetings with leaders of the post-Soviet space. Earlier, President of Moldova Igor Dodon said that he was going to meet with Vladimir Putin as part of the summit.
According to Suzdaltsev, in addition to the president of Turkmenistan, Putin can hold separate meetings in Ashgabat with the presidents of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Emomali Rahmon.
As the assistant to the Russian leader, Yuri Ushakov, said on October 10, the next meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State may take place on October 16 next year in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
According to Koktysh, the main outcome of the meeting this year should be "finding common ground" on the most pressing issues.
As Alexander Mikhailenko added, humanitarian cooperation remains one of the most important areas of work of the CIS. The intention of leaders to intensify economic cooperation and sign a declaration on strategic economic cooperation has serious potential, the expert believes.
Back in 2011, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine signed an agreement to create a free trade zone within the CIS. In 2013, Uzbekistan joined the agreement.
“If the free trade agreement within the CIS is fully implemented, this will be a significant step forward,” the political scientist believes. “There are prospects at the level of military-political cooperation.”
According to the expert, it is extremely important for Russia now to develop cooperation with the CIS countries.
“Now a new world order is being formed on the planet. And depending on what form it takes, the role of certain regions in it will be different, Mikhailenko claims. “But regional cooperation in this situation can make a significant contribution to the formation of the country's power and authority in the international arena.”