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Suvorov military college and Interdom
Students at an international boarding school in the Ivanovo Region have decided to postpone a hunger strike they started earlier this week in protest at government plans to close the school, known as Interdom, and to hand over the school’s premises to the Suvorov military college. The students agreed to stop the strike after the regional authorities promised Interdom’s board of trustees, that the Ivanovo governor would discuss the issue shortly with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Galina Shevchenko, the director of the boarding school, and Anatoly Karpov, a famous chess-player and the head of the board of trustees, said they would both like to attend the meeting. The students at one of Russia’s most famous children’s homes went on hunger strike earlier this week in protest at the government’s plans to close Interdom and to hand over the buildings and the grounds of the school to the Defence Ministry. The children and the teaching staff are convinced that the school grounds will not go to the Suvorov military college, but will be used instead for building expensive country houses for the rich. The children started the strike at their own initiative, Interdom director Galina Shevchenko told Gazeta.Ru. According to Shevchenko, on Thursday morning seven senior pupils told the teachers that they would not take any meals. All the strikers - two boys and five girls, the youngest being 14 - are members of the school council. Amid growing concern for the children’s state of health, the protesters skipped breakfast and lunch. According to Shevchenko, she tried to persuade them to change their minds, but at first they would not listen. ''To begin with, we could have sent telegrams to people who had a say in the fate of the boarding school, and warn them that children were ready to resort to the extreme measure,'' she said. The children’s idea to go on a hunger strike was prompted by last November’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Russia on the transfer of Interdom from the Russian Red Cross Society to the Russian government. In 2006 the Defence Ministry plans to open the Suvorov military college on the territory of the boarding school, a senior ministry official Vladislav Sudakov told Gazeta.Ru. The college will offer military education to Ivanovo youths whose fathers were killed in ‘hot spots’. The old school is to be disbanded by 1 July 2006, he said. However, both the pupils and the teaching staff of Interdom, as well as the board of trustees are convinced that there will be no military college on the grounds of their boarding school.
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