The summit of ex-Soviet leaders has ended in Belarus, but has brought little progress. Some breakthroughs were announced – Russian president Vladimir Putin said a solution to the gas row with one of its closest allies, Belarus, would soon be found. Talks also went some way to defusing tension between Russia and Georgia following Moscow’s decision to impose an economic blockade on Tbilisi in September over a spy dispute.
Moscow has angered allies by using trade and economic sanctions to punish those trying to pull out of its orbit. Ukraine has been forced to swallow a sharp increase in the price of gas and Georgia is now being threatened with an even higher rise. Along with Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia has been trying to loosen ties with Moscow in recent years.
In a further setback, a group of around 15 Russian journalists travelling with the Kremlin walked out in protest when three of their colleagues were refused admission. The incident was an embarrassment for the CIS which critics say is nothing but a pointless talking shop.