Playtime Value for Money Apr05 2016,
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Kiev

Hans Aarsman on the Alfa Bank

Secretary of the year
Anti Russian militia destroys office of the Alfa bank. Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February 2016, Photo Efrem / Lukatsky

Are those half spheres of glass on the ceiling above the radiant couples in black and white surveillance cameras? Nice place to work with that hanging over you. But the customers are ecstatic with joy; they embrace each other, on the beach, in the forest. Their happiness must be about the personal loan that they just received. That’s all you can do at Alfa as a private individual, you can’t even get a mortgage.

Yet for professional clients there are opportunities to trade on the Russian market. I know this because Alfa bank also has a branch in the Netherlands. On the Dutch website the Russian background is not hidden. But in Kiev they keep quiet about it, wisely. In the white wall on the right is a metal door, behind which the fire extinguisher once stood. Now there is a plate with a number to call in case of fire. Everything is in Ukrainian. On the Kiev website you find nothing about Russian connections, you really have to do your research before something pops up about doing business with the Russians.

Ukraine

Ukraine

This militant didn’t get that far. He has heard about it, but he doesn’t know his way around cyberspace. As if you would even go through the trouble of wrecking a bank building. Banks are not printers my good man, they are not screens. No, banks are virtual, just like money.

But you do not buy a uniform with the camouflage pattern of the Ukrainian army just for fun. I found a complete set on eBay, for 79 dollars. Once you have that in your possession, you’ll no doubt be keen to wear it and show the world that you are a real man. However, it is a bit pathetic to get your mother to sew on a label with your blood type above the left breast pocket. I’ve never seen that before. That said, the label almost proved necessary.

“But you do not buy a uniform with the camouflage pattern of the Ukrainian army just for fun.”

He is exiting the boardroom. On the ceiling a sign with red led lights on: the board is not to be disturbed. He didn’t pay attention. Inside he finds different certificates and trophies. He leaves the red flag in the display case, and throws himself on the trophy for secretary of the year. When he breaks the glass door to pieces with the cup, he injures himself on his forehead. It’s but a scratch, mind. Not big enough for a transfusion of A2 Rhesus +.

Every week Hans Aarsman applies his detective-like analyses to a press photo for the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. During the Dutch Presidency of the European Union (taking place in the first half of 2016), he will inspect European press photos and kindly share his observations with the New Europeans.

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