OTECHESTVO, BABURIN SLAM TREATY WITH UKRAINE. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's Otechestvo [Fatherland] movement is calling for the Federation Council to reject ratification of the treaty with Ukraine because the document "rules out Russia's right to call Sevastopol a Russian city," according to a statement by the movement's political council on 14 January. When the State Duma ratified the treaty, the document argues, it acted "against the background of the policy of forced Ukrainianization of 12 million Russians whose civil rights continue to be disregarded." Duma Deputy Speaker and member of People's Power Sergei Baburin wrote in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" the same day that the treaty "should not be ratified at any price" because the treaty undermines the "future of close-knit Slavic peoples" and "opens the way for Ukraine to join NATO." JAC

KUCHMA APPOINTS TWO DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS. At a 14 January cabinet session, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko introduced Volodymyr Kuratchenko as newly appointed first deputy prime minister. Kuratchenko's main task is to "enforce order in the oil and gas sector," Ukrainian News quoted Pustovoytenko as saying. Kuratchenko, who was governor of the Zaporizhzhya region prior to his appointment, replaces Anatoliy Holubchenko. Pustovoytenko also said President Leonid Kuchma has appointed Mykhaylo Hladiy, former governor of Lviv Oblast, to the newly created post of deputy prime minister for agricultural issues. The prime minister added that the cabinet changes have not ended and that upcoming ones will be "significant." Also on 14 January, Kuchma dismissed Education Minister Mykhaylo Zhuravskyy and several deputy ministers. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO BEGIN ABOLISHING PRESIDENCY... In a third attempt, the Supreme Council has passed a motion that provides for abolishing the Ukrainian presidency (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 and 14 January 1999), Interfax reported on 14 January. By a vote of 237 to 26, the parliament decided to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on whether the parliamentary motion on abolishing the presidency conforms with the constitution. In the event of a favorable ruling, the parliament can vote on a constitutional amendment abolishing the post of president. A two-thirds majority (300 votes) is required for a constitutional amendment to be passed. JM

...RESORTS TO FISTICUFFS OVER VOTE TO JOIN CIS BODY. The same day, Communist and Rukh nationalist deputies came to blows over a vote whether Ukraine should join the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, Reuters reported. The clash occurred after an electronic display in the legislature showed that the motion to join the CIS body had been rejected. Only 174 left-wingers voted in support of the motion. Speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko ordered a two-hour recess following the incident. JM