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Russia halts participation in US student exchange program
The Russian government has decided to pull out of a major student exchange program with the US.
The American side apparently violated the terms and conditions, with a Russian schoolboy not returning home, having been adopted by a gay couple.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a note to the US  Embassy in Moscow, saying that the country is canceling the  largest US-Russian educational exchange program, FLEX 2015-2016.  Within its framework, high school students from former USSR  countries go to US for one academic year to live in an   ‘ordinary’ middle-class American host family and to  study in a high school.
“An unacceptable situation emerged as a result, when our  [Russian] school students were in fact subjected to the  legislature of American states, where minors were able to choose  on their own and without their parents’ permission their place  for living or being adopted,” the ministry's Special  Representative for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov said.
Russian Children's Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov points out that it is  not clear if a Russian pupil who went to America would return to  his mother back in Russia, as he had been ‘adopted’ by a  gay couple.
Astakhov notes that what happened conflicts with the standards of  the program. There were no legal grounds for the adoption.
US Ambassador John F. Tefft responded in a statement via the  Moscow embassy’s website that “We deeply regret this decision  by the Russian government to end a program that for 21 years has  built deep and strong connections between the people of Russia  and the United States.”
More than 8,000 Russian teenagers have participated in the   ‘Future Leaders Exchange’ program (FLEX) since its  launch in 1992. Now it is being halted for two years.
Meanwhile, the process of preparation for the preliminary tests  that started on September 10 and was scheduled to end in the  middle of October was underway all over Russia. Over 70,000  people from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and seven other countries  of the former USSR participated in the competitive examination to  enter FLEX. Financed by the US budget, the program was destined  to introduce younger generations to American culture and values.

04.10.2014
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