Their general knowledge is very good: they know a little bit about virtually everything.

At secondary schools, they study not only the history of Russia but also the world history, including American and European history.

Church survives selling candles and reminder notes and charging for services such as baptizing, weddings and funerals. A couple has to register their marriage with government authorities first to be allowed to have church ceremony performed.

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I think it was an excellent system since people had the opportunity to attend theatres from the early age, starting from attending performances in a Muppet theatre, then moving to the Youth Drama Theatre, then to Drama, Musical and Opera, according to their age.

Also attending performances in a company is always much more fun, which contributed to the popularity of theatres.

When Russian people talk about movie theatres, they will usually say "cinema"; if they talk about "theatres", they mean live performances.

During Soviet times there was a well developed system of community work and in every group (class at school, department at work etc) would be also a person responsible for sport, education, political information of the group etc.

You know someone who knows someone who is in power; this is the way they have the things done.

If you know the right people, you can have the most difficult things done with little effort.

Russians are also big fond of live performances at theatres and since tickets are affordable (prices in cinemas and theatres are comparable), they enjoy attending theatres: opera, musical, ballet, drama etc. The theatre culture was developed during the Soviet times when tickets were sold through schools and enterprises: cities were divided into areas and there was a theatre agent responsible for each particular area.

The agent would bring tickets for distribution to every enterprise and school in his area and the person responsible for "culture sector" would organize collective visit to the theatre.

One can still get a university education for free by passing the entrance tests (exams), but the universities have to decrease the number of students studying on a free basis because of poor state financing.

Since both education and culture facilities used to be widely available, Russians can be considered a highly cultured nation.

In my life, a few times I ran into dead ends where there was nothing I could do in the straightforward way; the people were right to refuse me, according to the official rules.