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"Russian as an Important Factor in Preserving National Heritage and Inter-ethnic Communication"
"Russian as an Important Factor in Preserving National Heritage and Inter-ethnic Communication," a forum of intellectuals, has ended in Petersburg. The forum discussed problems related to preserving and promoting the Russian language and culture in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Russian is losing its positions in Tajikistan, for example, although it has a formal status of a language of international communication. Proposals have been made that Russian should be learned as a foreign language; Russian literature is no longer studied at school in Tajikistan, while the number of literature classes has shrunk in Russian schools. Meanwhile, children and their parents are increasingly interested in Russian. However, schools are unable to meet the population's demand in this sphere. A member of the Tajik delegation proposed establishing a methodological centre to train Russian language and literature teachers and provide text books. Uzbekistan is facing similar problems. A considerable part of Russian young people living in the republic seeks to get higher education at Russian universities. Therefore, their knowledge of Russian should be equal to that of Russian school students, something that requires state support. Konstantin Shurov who heads the Russian community in Ukraine said the republic was lacking a comprehensive system of teaching in Russian. Information exchanges between Russia and the CIS are becoming less frequent today, while vacant room is being occupied by western countries, according to Leopold Lodzinsky, in charge of cultural, educational and humanitarian programmes at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Russian Foreign Centre. Mr Lodzinsky emphasised the importance of creating science and culture centres in the Commonwealth, which will help establish a common cultural, information and educational space and preserve and develop spiritual ties, and promote the Russian language.
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