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.
Movie theatres are also becoming popular in Russia and they are equipped with the latest sound systems.
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.
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.
This is why they maintain more friendships than an average westerner.
They often have to rely on their friends to help them out.
You know someone who knows someone who is in power; this is the way they have the things done.