"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Agreement on the Creation of a Commonwealth of Independent States

[Date] December 8, 1991
[Source] Modern International Relations: Basic Documents, Volume 1, Kajima Institute of International Peace, pp.799-803.
[Notes] Signed : 8 December 1991
[Full text]

We, the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation (RSFSR), and Ukraine, as originator states of the USSR on the basis of the Union Treaty of 1922, and designated below as the High Contracting Parties, confirm that the USSR as a subject of international law and a geopolitical entity, now ceases to exist.

Basing ourselves on the historical association of our peoples and the links that have developed between them, taking into consideration the bilateral treaties between the High Contracting Parties, seeking to erect democratic states based in law, intending to establish their relations on the basis of mutual recognition of and respect for state sovereignty, the inalienable right to self-determination, the principle of equality and non-interference in internal affairs, a rejection of the use of force, economic or any other methods of pressure, the settlement of disputes by means of negotiation and other generally recognized principles and norms of international law, believing that further development and strengthening of relations of friendship, good- neighborliness and mutually advantageous cooperation between our states serves the fundamental national interests of their peoples and the cause of peace and security, confirming their allegiance to the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other documents of the CSCE, promising to observe the generally recognized international norms on the rights of man and of peoples, have agreed to the following:

Article 1 The High Contracting Parties are forming the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Article 2 The High Contracting Parties guarantee their citizens, regardless of their nationality or other differences, equal rights and freedoms. Each of the High Contracting Parties guarantees the citizens of the other parties, and also stateless persons living on their territory, regardless of their national affiliation or other differences civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights and freedoms in accordance with the generally recognized international norms of human rights.

Article 3 The High Contracting Parties, wishing to promote the expression, preservation, and development of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious distinctiveness of the national minorities living on their territory and of the unique ethno-cultural groups that have formed there, take them under their protection.

Article 4 The High Contracting Parties will develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation between their peoples and states in the sphere of politics, the economy, culture, education, health care, environmental protection, science, trade, and in the humanitarian and other spheres, promote a wide-scale exchange of information, and strictly observe mutual obligations. The parties consider that it is necessary to conclude agreements on cooperation in these spheres.

Article 5 The High Contracting Parties recognize and respect each other's territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing frontiers within the framework of the Commonwealth.

They guarantee the openness of frontiers and freedom of movement of citizens and the transfer of information within the framework of the Commonwealth.

Article 6 The member states of the Commonwealth will cooperate in ensuring international peace and security and the realization of effective measures to reduce armaments and military expenditures. They will strive for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and for general and complete disarmament under strict international control.

The Parties will respect each other's desire to attain the status of nuclear-free zones and neutral states.

The member states of the Commonwealth will preserve and maintain under joint command a common military-strategic space, including single control over nuclear weapons, the manner of implementing which will be regulated by a special agreement.

They also jointly guarantee the requisite conditions for the stationing, functioning, and material and social well-being of the Strategic Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to conduct a coordinated policy as regards the social protection and pension arrangements for military personnel and their families.

Article 7 The High Contracting Parties acknowledge that the sphere of their joint activity, realized on an equal basis through common coordinating institutions, includes:

- coordination of foreign-policy activity;

- cooperation in the formation and development of a common economic space, of all-European and Eurasian markets, and in the sphere of customs policy ;

- cooperation in the development of transport and communications systems ;

- cooperation in the sphere of environmental protection, participation in the creation of an all-embracing international system of ecological safety;

- questions of migration policy;

- the fight against organized crime.

Article 8 The Parties recognize the global nature of the Chernobyl’ catastrophe and undertake to unite and coordinate their efforts to minimize and overcome its consequences.

For these purposes they have agreed to conclude special agreements that take account of the seriousness of the consequences of the catastrophe.

Article9 Disputes regarding the interpretation of the norms of the present agreement are subject to solution by means of talks between the appropriate bodies, and, when necessary, at the level of heads of government and state.

Article 10 Each of the High Contracting Parties reserves the right to suspend the operation of the present agreement or its individual articles having notified the participants in the agreement a year in advance.

The provisions of the present agreement can be supplemented or changed by mutual agreement of the High Contracting Parties.

Article 11 The application of the norms of third states, including those of the former USSR, is not permitted on the territory of the states signing this agreement from the moment of its signing.

Article 12 The High Contracting Parties guarantee the fulfillment of the international obligations ensuing for them from the treaties and agreements of the former USSR.

Article 13 The present agreement does not affect the obligations of the High Contracting Parties as regards third states.

The present agreement is open to accession by all member states of the former USSR, and also by other states sharing the goals and principles of the present agreement.

Article 14 The official residence of the coordinating bodies of the Commonwealth is the city of Minsk.

The activity of agencies of the former USSR on the territory of the member states of the Commonwealth ceases.


[Signature] (...)