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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.
The standard secondary school program includes studying of a foreign language for 6 years (grades 5-11), usually it is English but also can be French, German or Spanish.
Most subjects in the course of a secondary school are mandatory for all schools throughout the whole Russia, and only since recently there are some subjects that students can choose in addition to the general 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.
Church service in Russia can be attended any day of the week and performed every day 2 or 3 times (early morning at 3 a.m., then at 8 a.m. People usually attend the church just to "light a candle" and quickly pray.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.But once I could find people who knew someone inside the system, a month wait would turn into just a few hours wait or they would find a place for me where they said the rules would not allow them to give me one.Intellectually, Russians are interesting people to talk to and enjoy deep subjects.Philosophy is still a mandatory subject when you study for a degree and one of the 3 compulsory subjects for Ph D qualifying exam (the other 2 are foreign language and the specialty itself).
When Russian people talk about movie theatres, they will usually say "cinema"; if they talk about "theatres", they mean live performances.