Commonwealth of Independent States
"community of independent nations established by a treaty signed at Minsk, Belarus, on Dec. 8, 1991, by the heads of state of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Between Dec. 8 and Dec. 21, the three original signatories were joined by Armenia, Azerbaijan (its parliament, however, rejected ratifying its membership until 1993), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. When Georgia joined in 1993 all of the former republics of the USSR except the Baltic states had become members of the CIS. Georgia withdrew in 2008 (finalized 2009) following its conflict with Russia over South Ossetia. The headquarters of the CIS are in Minsk."