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Bows, Bells, Balloons, And Butterflies -- It's Back To School

The first day of school -- a time of butterflies in the stomach and big bows in the hair. RFE/RL photographers went back to school themselves to capture children in some of our broadcast countries on their first day back after the summer holidays. Even though September 1 fell on a Saturday this year, schools in countries throughout the former Soviet Union still welcomed students, while in other regions children started the school year on September 3.

The first day of school at the Nairi Zaryan elementary school in the Arabkir district of Yerevan, Armenia
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The first day of school at the Nairi Zaryan elementary school in the Arabkir district of Yerevan, Armenia

Children gather for their first day of school after the summer holidays at the Nairi Zaryan school in Yerevan.
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Children gather for their first day of school after the summer holidays at the Nairi Zaryan school in Yerevan.

This young man was feeling a little stressed on his first day at the Nairi Zaryan school in Yerevan.
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This young man was feeling a little stressed on his first day at the Nairi Zaryan school in Yerevan.

Children at School No. 141 singing the national anthem in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 
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Children at School No. 141 singing the national anthem in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

The walk to School No. 141 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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The walk to School No. 141 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

A first-grader begins his primary education at School No. 82 in the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 
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A first-grader begins his primary education at School No. 82 in the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 

A first-grader attending a school celebration at School No. 82 at the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
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A first-grader attending a school celebration at School No. 82 at the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Putting the finishing touches on a back-to-school outfit at School No. 82 at the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek.
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Putting the finishing touches on a back-to-school outfit at School No. 82 at the Ala-Too settlement outside of Bishkek.

Festivities in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on the first day at School No. 52.  
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Festivities in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on the first day at School No. 52.  

A ceremony marking the first day of school at School No. 11 in Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan, on September 1, which is also celebrated as Education Day.
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A ceremony marking the first day of school at School No. 11 in Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan, on September 1, which is also celebrated as Education Day.

September 1 was the first day of school for 6-year-old Alisa Fedenko at School No. 42 in Lugansk, Ukraine.
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September 1 was the first day of school for 6-year-old Alisa Fedenko at School No. 42 in Lugansk, Ukraine.

Six-year-old Alina Kalunuchenko on her first day at School No. 42 in Lugansk, Ukraine. 
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Six-year-old Alina Kalunuchenko on her first day at School No. 42 in Lugansk, Ukraine. 

The first day of school at School No. 17 in Cherkasy, Ukraine.
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The first day of school at School No. 17 in Cherkasy, Ukraine.

Mikhail Timofeyev, 7, holds up a first-grade placard at an opening-day ceremony at School No. 1507 in Moscow. 
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Mikhail Timofeyev, 7, holds up a first-grade placard at an opening-day ceremony at School No. 1507 in Moscow. 


The first day for first-graders at School No. 1507 in Moscow.
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The first day for first-graders at School No. 1507 in Moscow.

Children and their parents attend the opening ceremony marking the new school year at School No. 1507 in Moscow. 
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Children and their parents attend the opening ceremony marking the new school year at School No. 1507 in Moscow. 

The school year begins in the village of Dishny-Vedeno in Chechnya
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The school year begins in the village of Dishny-Vedeno in Chechnya

It's Fatima's first day of school at School No. 60 in Grozny, Chechnya.
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It's Fatima's first day of school at School No. 60 in Grozny, Chechnya.

Schoolchildren in Kaspiysk, Daghestan, on September 1
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Schoolchildren in Kaspiysk, Daghestan, on September 1

The first day of school at Vlado Tasevski primary school in Skopje, Macedonia
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The first day of school at Vlado Tasevski primary school in Skopje, Macedonia

School mates in front of the Vlado Tasevski primary school in Skopje
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School mates in front of the Vlado Tasevski primary school in Skopje

September 3 was the first day of school for these sixth-graders at the primary school Faik Konica in Pristina, Kosovo.
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September 3 was the first day of school for these sixth-graders at the primary school Faik Konica in Pristina, Kosovo.

The first day of school at the Isak Samokovlija elementary school in Sarajevo
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The first day of school at the Isak Samokovlija elementary school in Sarajevo

The first day of school at the Majka Jugovica elementary school in Belgrade
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The first day of school at the Majka Jugovica elementary school in Belgrade

School is in session at the Majka Jugovica elementary school in Belgrade.
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School is in session at the Majka Jugovica elementary school in Belgrade.

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