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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.People that were doing community work were given benefits (free or discounted travel, ability to buy deficit goods, ability to receive a better apartment from the government for free etc) - remember, there was no private property until Perestroika, everything used to belong to the state, which was controlling distribution and would award the most active citizens.Unfortunately the system of volunteering was broken with Perestroika but Russians still have that great community spirit (which sometimes goes to the lengths a westerner would consider as infringement). The power of an individual in Russia is much less than in the west and most deals are pushed through family, friends and acquaintances.This is how most Russian people have developed their taste for live performances.
Many books of western authors are mandatory reading in the course of literature (in Russian translation of course).
This is why they maintain more friendships than an average westerner.
They often have to rely on their friends to help them out.
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.
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.