USSR ceases to exist, 11 republics forming CIS
This news story first came out 30 years ago to the day, and we are publishing it today as part of Interfax's project, "Timeline of the Last Days of USSR. This Day 30 Years Ago." The project's goal is to reconstruct as fully as possible the timeline of the last few months of 1991 and to give everyone interested in understanding the historical processes of that period the opportunity to study and analyze the events that led to and accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the new Russian state. The complete timeline can be found in Russian.
ALMATY. Dec 22 (Interfax) – The leaders of 11 former USSR republics, excluding the Baltic States and Georgia, have signed a protocol on the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), saying that the USSR ceases to exist and its agencies are disbanded.
The Commonwealth of 11 states is neither a state nor a supranational organization, participants in the Almaty meeting said. The specific task of cooperation between CIS member states will be defined in special agreements, which are expected to be signed later.
The Commonwealth's supreme body is the Council of Heads of State.
Boris Yeltsin said at the final press conference in Almaty that a committee for the protection of state borders was established. The committee will deal with common borders of the CIS member states. It was agreed that the borders of CIS member states will be transparent and people will be able to cross them visa-free.
The CIS Council of Heads of State decided to back Russia's intention to become the USSR’s successor in the UN and other international organizations.
Eleven CIS members said that they maintain "joint command of military strategic forces and joint control over nuclear weapons." Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, which host nuclear arms on their territories, signed an agreement that the Russian president at the agreement with the leaders of other member states will decide on the use of nuclear weapons until they are withdrawn from Belarus and Ukraine.
By July 1, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine intend to ensure the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons to central bases to be dismantled under joint control.
Belarus and Ukraine undertook to join the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as non-nuclear states.
The leadership of 11 independent states decided to appoint Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov as CIS armed forces commander until the issue of their reform is resolved.