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    POST-SOVIET AREA FORGETS RUSSIAN

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti's analyst Tatiana Sinitsyna) - If you are a Russian in Baku, you have to talk to young Azeris in English-they have no spoken Russian. Tajikistan has only three secondary schools with Russian for tuition language, as against the Soviet years' 1,500. Ukraine is aggressive with ethnic Russians' cultural assimilation. The trend is flourishing throughout a greater part of the post-Soviet area, known as Commonwealth of Independent States, Belarus coming as the only exception.

    "Russia is certainly alarmed as its language studies are getting from bad to worse in the other CIS countries," complained Alexander Kondakov, Prosveschenie Publishers Director General, Russian Book Union Vice-President, and head of the CIS commission for study books. He was addressing a Novosti news conference on the burning problem.

    Russia is largely to blame for the situation, he confessed-it ought to do more for ethnic Russians in the CIS with book and teaching aid donations. Educationalists in the other CIS countries are alarmed as tuition is steadily getting worse in Russian-language schools. They have a point here. There are a total three million ethnic Russians among secondary school students in those countries. Out of that vast number, a mere hundred thousand were lucky to get hold of the latest schoolbooks sent from Russia. The others make do with dog-eared and desperately outdated books-Soviet era survivals-or ones put out in their own countries, Mr. Kondakov went on.

    Quality education and its developmental prospects are among basic indices of a country's capital investment rating. Naturally, to spread a national educational network outside its nation is not so much a cultural or ideological goal as search for brilliant young minds abroad to employ in that particular country. Globalisation has brought headhunt and brain drain, its fruit, into the foreground in all developed countries as intellectual potential is principal determinant of national progress.

    Russia's government is encouraging Russian language use and seeks to improve its teaching throughout the Commonwealth. It is doing no less for educational integration. All that promotes headhunt to employ gifted young foreigners in Russia. It is a now-or-never to launch related federal programmes, or the best Commonwealth employees will go to US-based companies, as is the case now with Armenian doctors.

    Meanwhile, Russian companies with interests in other CIS countries are starting Russian language courses for their workforce in host countries, said Mr. Kondakov as he appealed to Russia's Big Biz to set up a foundation, which will promote Russian educational programmes abroad.

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