Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 14

Duma deputy speaker Sergei Baburin is also paying for the warming relations between the Communists and the government. The nationalist firebrand has been replaced as the Duma’s spokesman on CIS affairs by an orthodox Communist, Svetlana Goryacheva. (ORT, January 21) Even the Communists say Baburin’s calls for the Duma not to ratify Russia’s friendship treaty with Ukraine and his constant complaints about the status of ethnic Russians in Crimea, the division of the Black Sea Fleet, and Russia’s "betrayal" of Abkhaz and Transdniestrian separatists run counter to Russia’s national interests.

As in the case of Gen. Rokhlin, moreover, the Communists are keen to clip the wings of a member of the "implacable opposition" who has proved a thorn in their own side. In the words of the newspaper Segodnya, Baburin "never passes up an opportunity to accuse the Communist faction of betraying the people’s trust and collaborating with the ruling regime." (Segodnya, January 17)

Last year, Baburin was reported to be conspiring with Communist radicals to form a new opposition coalition that would challenge the Communist-dominated Popular Patriotic Union, which Baburin accused of "appeasing" the Yeltsin government. (Moscow News, November 6, 1997) The mainstream Communist leadership is now bent on revenge. There are predictions that the Communist faction intends to try to oust Baburin from his post of Deputy Speaker and destroy the People’s Power faction that appointed him. This would be easy to do: the Communists would need only to recall all the Communist deputies whom they "lent" to People’s Power in 1996 to ensure that it had enough members to qualify as a faction. (Segodnya, January 17)