Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian military remained ensconced in a number of conflict zones across post-Soviet space. While Russia no longer had the legal right to intervene in the security of its neighbors, Boris Yeltsin, under the umbrella of the Commonwealth of Independent States, developed a robust system of peacekeeping operations, allowing Russia to maintain security and protect its interests in Tajikistan, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. (A Russian contingent was also sent to Kosovo during the late 1990s, and Russia has participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations in other locations.) In most cases, the majority of troops (usually in excess of 1,000 in each conflict zone) are not Russian citizens but are under the command of Russian officers. Such personnel became integral to the so-called Monroeski Doctrine of the 1990s, which posited a “special role” for Russia in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and other parts of the near abroad.
   International observers leveled regular criticism against Russian peacekeepers for actively and passively supporting one side against another in regional conflicts, including providing logistical support, arms, and/or intelligence. Furthermore, the peacekeepers have often been found to be ignoring abductions, murders, and arms trafficking, which they are charged with fighting in conflict zones. In the summer of 2008, Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia came under fire from Georgian forces attempting to reclaim the province. This event served as a pretext for the Russian invasion of Georgia and the wider South Ossetian War.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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