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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky to Take CIS Tour

Business tycoon Boris Berezovsky will begin a tour of former Soviet republics Thursday in his new role as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Itar-Tass reported Wednesday.

Berezovsky -- a billionaire who has been linked to a number of political intrigues in Russia -- was appointed to the post at last week's CIS summit, as the alliance sought to breath life into its sluggish relations.

Berezovsky will visit five of the CIS's 12 members -- Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia -- and meet with their presidents to discuss reforming the CIS and increasing economic cooperation, Itar-Tass reported, citing Berezovsky's predecessor in the post, Ivan Korotchenya.

Berezovsky will also discuss preparations for the CIS summit planned for July, according to Korotchenya, who is still in charge of the alliance's Belarus-based executive secretariat.

Formed after the 1991 Soviet breakup, the CIS has been largely ineffective from the start, failing in its attempts to solve regional conflicts or to implement any but a handful of cooperation agreements.

Attempts at closer integration have been hampered by the continuing economic crisis in the former Soviet states and sharp differences in the size and level of development of their economies.

Many of the nations are also reluctant to surrender their independence to an alliance they believe will be dominated by Russia.