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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 17:50 GMT
Ask Russia's next generation
As part of the BBC's Generation Next season, BBC World, BBC News 24 and BBC World Service radio programmes will be broadcasting LIVE from a school in Tver, outside Moscow, on Friday 8 December.

Teachers and teenagers at School 12, Tver, Russia
School 12 was once used by the Nazis as a hospital
It was on this day in 1991 that the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Russians born after 1991 are unique - they are the first in history to be born into a democracy. In the next year they will be 'coming of age'. They will be leaving school, joining the workforce, some may marry and some will leave Russia. But all are now thinking about their futures.

Read about the school in Tver and then use the link at the bottom of the page to send your questions to the teenagers taking part in the broadcast.

School 12, Tver, Russia

The ancient city of Tver was formerly the capital of a powerful medieval state and a model provincial town of Imperial Russia.

Russian teenager
School 12 is the biggest school in the region with 2,000 pupils

It sits about 200kms (320 miles) from Moscow on the road to St Petersburg and has always been an important stopover between Russia's two main cities.

In 1936 the town changed its name to Kalinin after the notable Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin.

School 12 was opened at the end of 1936 when Stalin was the General Secretary of the USSR and war was just around the corner. It was during the war that this area turned some of the darker pages of its history.

Several thousand Polish policemen and prisoners of war were executed here at the infamous Ostashkov camp.

By 1941, the Nazis had reached the city and they left it in ashes.

Student with his family eating a meal at a home
Although there is no uniform the students do dress smartly

However, School 12 survived and it was used by the Nazis as a hospital.

There was a great deal of resistance to the Nazis in Tver and perhaps this helped the city to become the first to be liberated from the Wehrmacht.

The city reverted to its pre-revolutionary name of Tver in the dying days of the Soviet Union, much to the anger of some older people. Today Tver has a population of around 400,000.

School 12 is the biggest in central Russia with over 2,000 pupils ranging in age from seven to 16.

Map of Russia showing city of Tver

Like many schools it has a split day with some pupils coming in the morning and others in the evenings. For this reason the school day runs from 0800 until 2100 local time.

It is a solution to the problem of overcrowding and most of the pupils here don't seem to mind as they alternate between mornings and evenings every school year.

Everything the pupils need is in the school: a swimming pool, gymnasium and a decent library. In the last few years they have placed increased importance on computers with laptops being a fixture in many classes.

Languages are a key part of the curriculum; most of the pupils leave here with excellent English and one or two other languages such as French or German.

The school has no uniform but despite that most of the kids appear smart, all the boys wear suits and ties and many of the girls wear business suits.

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