Chernomyrdin does not hide the fact that he stands for a more assertive foreign policy…Moscow shows every sign of playing the ethnic Russian card as a way of exerting pressure on the Baltics…Russia has allowed the former 14th Soviet Army and local Russian Communists to carve out a separatist ‘Dnestr Republic’…Russia has also intervened decisively in the wars in Georgia, forcing Eduard Shevardnadze to take his country into the Commonwealth of Independent States, and in Tajikistan. The economic union with Belarus is part of the same process…But when Russia’s leaders deal with the ‘near abroad’ and Eastern Europe, they put on their flak jackets and pursue policies not far removed from those of the old Soviet Politburo. This means bringing the Baltic region, Transcaucasia and Central Asia back into Moscow’s orbit, and it means putting pressure on Eastern European counties not to join Nato. It is a policy of unspoken military intimidation….
Tony Barber, “Back to the USSR”, The Independent on Sunday, 23 Jan 94 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/back-to-the-ussr-russia-turned-a-corner-last-week-but-the-road-it-has-chosen-is-not-one-of-reform-it-1401846.html