BABURIN STRIPPED OF AUTHORITY TO SUPERVISE CIS ISSUES. State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev announced on 20 January that Duma Deputy Speaker Svetlana Goryacheva of the Communist faction will replace Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Baburin as the deputy speaker responsible for CIS issues, RFE/RL's Moscow bureau reported. Baburin, one of the leaders of the Popular Power faction, told RFE/RL that Seleznev's decision is an "anti-Russian action" motivated by Baburin's opposition to treaties Russia has signed with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Baburin believes those treaties do not sufficiently protect ethnic Russians in Crimea, the Transdniester, and Abkhazia. Seleznev told RFE/RL that under Baburin's leadership, "we have damaged relations with CIS states" and hearings on vital documents have been delayed. Russian media have speculated that Baburin will soon be removed as Duma deputy speaker as well. He was appointed to that post under a January 1996 agreement among the seven Duma factions. LB

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPROVES 1998 BUDGET. Leonid Kuchma has signed the 1998 budget, dpa reported on 20 January. The budget, which was passed by the parliament three weeks ago, calls for revenues of 21.1 billion hryvna ($11.1 billion) and expenditures of 24.5 billion hryvna, resulting in a projected deficit of 3.3 percent of GDP. Viktor Yushchenko, the head of the central bank, said last week that the deficit should be kept at 2 percent of GDP to maintain economic stability and help attract foreign investment. PB