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    MOSCOW, APRIL 7, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - High school students from former Soviet republics will come together in Moscow to take part in a Russian language proficiency contest next week.

    The competition, to run April 11 through 18, will be held to promote the Russian language across the territory of the Former Soviet Union and encourage young people living there to get to know more about the modern-day Russia, organizers report.

    In the first round of the competition, the participants will be offered about fifteen assignments to test their knowledge of Russian phonetics, vocabulary, grammar, and style. In the second round, they will have to carry out creative assignments and answer questions on modern language usage. Those of the participants who believe they have poetic talent or good rhetorical skills may also take part in the optional "Young Poet" and "Young Orator" events.

    Winners will be awarded scholarships for Russian language & literature programs at colleges and universities across Russia.

    The Russian language competition has been staged for three consecutive years now. Last year's fixture, held April 20 through 27, brought together 86 schoolchildren from 14 former Soviet republics. Five of the participants that came out absolute winners were granted university scholarships and the right for admission to higher educational establishments of Russia without entrance examinations.

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