I was talking on the phone with my friend from eastern Ukraine on the train from Kiev. She’s fluent in English and (like a lot of students here) has a talent for languages and an even greater talent for talking. However, hard-work, fluency and knowledge are no guarantee to passing exams in Ukraine. Her professor had failed all students who refused to pay the requested back-hander. Of course, she could complain and lose her place at the Uni or cough-up, shut-up, suffer the financial hardship and leave Ukraine as soon as possible to study her MA elsewhere. Resigned to this reality she was correcting this ‘misunderstanding’ with the required number of grivna whilst I waited on the phone, musing over the irony of the fact she’s talking to me (an Englishman, in English) while paying to pass her English language exam …which she had undoubtedly, already passed!