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    RIGA, January 10, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Anatoly Baranovsky) - An annual Russian culture and education festival is opening in the Latvian capital this Saturday, and will run through the end of January.

    The festival to be held for the fifth time this year, is arranged by the Latvian Association for Support of Russian-Language Schools (known by its Russian acronym, LASHOR) and the Baltic Russian Institute, in collaboration with other public organisations formed by Latvia's Russian community. Its sponsors include the Riga parliament, the Latvian Ministry for Integration Affairs, the Moscow government, and the federal commission for Russian communities abroad.

    A performing arts contest will be the first scheduled event to take place as part of the festival, with forty schools in fourteen communities across Latvia having applied for participation.

    Exhibitions of drawings and photographs will be unveiled at the Riga House of Congresses on January 18. That same day, a ceremony will be held to present the best of the literary works and research projects submitted for a competition entitled "The Story of a Russian Family in Latvia." A literary contest, "Russian Writers in Latvia," is set for January 22.

    The festival culminates January 25 in Tatyana Day celebrations, complete with outdoor theatrical performances, awarding ceremonies, and a gala.

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