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    RIGA, January 5th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Anatoly Baranovsky) - - Arrangements are underway in Latvia for the All-Latvian congress of the committees championing Russian schools. The initiative to hold the congress belonged to the HQ for defending Russian schools set up last year by representatives of public organisations and political parties of the country.

    According to Alexander Kazakov representing the HQ, the congress is convened to adopt a concept of further development of Russian schools in Latvia. This concept is to counterbalance the reform of Russian schools announced by the republic's authorities. According to the reform, 60% of subjects are to be taught in Latvian from September 1, 2004. The congress will also elect a delegation to negotiate this issue with the government.

    Besides, the participants in the congress are going to adopt a decision in defence of Russian schools. In particular, mass protests of Russian-speaking population and a large-scale strike in Russian schools are to be arranged this spring.

    One third of secondary schools in Latvia are Russian. They are training over 100,000 children. Russian-speaking residents of Latvia account for about 900,000 people, which over 40% of the population.

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