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At the same time the majority of Russians don't have what you call in the west "good manners". Russia is quite a tough country and Russians usually do not hesitate to say what they think in a way that doesn't leave room for any misunderstandings.
Many books of western authors are mandatory reading in the course of literature (in Russian translation of course).Foreigners would just give up; Russians believe there is always a roundabout.The majority of Russians consider themselves as Christians, and belong to Russian Orthodox Church.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.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.
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.
This is why they maintain more friendships than an average westerner.