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Private Moscow School on Hiring Spree After Losing Foreign Staff

The Atlantic International School, a private Moscow-based school, has started hiring new native English speakers to replace more than 40 teachers expelled from Russia earlier this year.

Parents of the 600 students at the school's three Moscow campuses had been scrambling to transfer their children to other international schools after learning that Atlantic lacked the teachers needed to finish out the last three months of the academic year.

Its foreign staff was barred from Russia over unspecified national security concerns after being sent abroad en masse to obtain new visas at the request of the Federal Migration Service, Atlantic has told the parents. The school director has blamed the problem on unidentified "envious people trying to damage a successfully growing business."

But a hiring spree is now under way, and school administrators spent the last couple of weeks in London recruiting British-trained teachers for contracts starting from late March, one of the recently hired teachers said.

The teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid angering the school, said the new teachers had been told that only three foreign teachers had been deported and five remained at each of the three Moscow campuses, covering for missing colleagues.

Atlantic administrators declined repeated requests to discuss the teacher situation, saying only that they have put the problem behind them.

Administrators also hope to get the ban lifted on the expelled teachers, telling parents a few days ago that it had obtained new visa invitations for the expelled teachers and was waiting for the Federal Migration Service to removes the ban. Some banned teachers still have families living in Moscow.

The Federal Migration Service refused to comment.

The fast-growing Atlantic International School, which opened in 2009, also runs a campus in St. Petersburg and has plans to open a fourth site in Moscow and a new site in Minsk later this year. Charging tuition of 800,000 to 1.2 million rubles ($22,200 to $33,350) per year, Atlantic is among several dozen international schools that cater to expatriates and other people living in Moscow.

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