Since the alarming success of the neo-fascists in the December 1993 parliamentary elections, Russian foreign policy has again become a topic of international concern. In December 1994, President Boris Yeltsin petitioned the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to recognize the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as an international organization charged with the responsibility of keeping the peace in the former Soviet republics, now sovereign nations. This was, in effect, a request for international endorsement of a Russian sphere of influence spanning the territory of the former Soviet Union. The controversial military intervention in Chechnya followed on the heels of Yeltsin’s petition. At the end of 1994, Yeltsin had also tabled Russia’s entry into NATO’s Partnership for Peace, while warning NATO’s current members that expansion eastward would be viewed as a threat to Russian interests. 1 Concurrently, Russia has weighed in rhetorically on the side of the Serbs in the Balkan War and has exercised its veto power on the UN Security Council to back up its strong words. 2