From Reuters: Georgia on Tuesday became the first country to withdraw from the CIS grouping of former Soviet republics in the latest and most blatant sign of rebellion against Moscow in its own backyard.

In the wake of its devastating five-day war with Russia last August, Georgia vowed to quit the Moscow-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States formed with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Its departure underscores the drift from Moscow by former Soviet republics, where traditional allegiances to the old Soviet master are being challenged by the economic and political influence of the West.

“Russia has very few mates, and the mates it does have are becoming very fickle,” said James Nixey, research fellow at London-based Chatham House. (graphic: Emblem of CIS from wikimedia)