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    RUSSIAN SPEAKING POPULATION ASSIMILATED IN CIS

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - Intensive assimilation processes of the Russian speaking population are going on in the CIS countries. This is what Alexander Kondakov, chairman of the commission for training literature of the CIS countries and Vice President of the Russian Book Union, Director General of the state Prosveshchenie publishers, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

    "The processes in Ukraine, which I would describe as intensive Ukrainian influence, have led to considerable disproportion between the Russian speaking population and the share of people trained in Russian," he said.

    "Russian speaking population in Ukraine makes 17.5%, and people who have the opportunity to study in Russian make 5%," noted Mr. Kondakov.

    In his words, "the use of Russian textbooks in Ukrainian schools is banned today." "There is a political position on the Russian language and Russian textbooks. It is direct, but if it were more flexible, we would have solved many problems of Ukrainian schoolchildren, including Russian speakers," said Mr. Kondakov.

    Similar processes are underway in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

    According to Prosveshchenie, 29 Russian schools remain in Azerbaijan, where 6,000 schoolchildren are studying. In all, 170,000 Russian-speaking citizens are living in Azerbaijan.

    There are 59 Russian schools in Georgia, 138- in Kyrgyzstan, 463 - in Moldova, three schools - in Tajikistan, and 159 schools - in Uzbekistan.

    According to Mr. Kondakov, in Belarus "the situation is the most favourable." The republic has over 1,300 Russian schools where 60% of Russian speaking children are studying.

    As for the position of Russian speaking population in the Baltic countries, Mr. Kondakov stressed that the situation in that region was even more complicated than in the CIS countries.

    "Compatriots need direct support here. It is impossible to find a compromise with the governments of these countries," Mr. Kondakov said.

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