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.
This is why they maintain more friendships than an average westerner.
They often have to rely on their friends to help them out.
On the entrance exams at universities and colleges only questions from the general course of the secondary school can be asked.
Universities and colleges accept students according to the results of entrance tests, and not according to their marks at school, though having excellent marks can help (for example, you would only have to pass 1-2 exams instead of regular 4).
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.
In the same secondary school course (11 years school qualification is mandatory in Russia) they study world literature, world music, and world geography.
Many books of western authors are mandatory reading in the course of literature (in Russian translation of course).
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.