The Chernobyl Journal


War and chaos

Within two years of war and chaos in Ukraine nuclear share in national energy generation raised from 20% to 55%. We can see that nuclear energy survives any crisis. Everything around us falling apart and nukes getting fatter and fatter. Why the most tragic period in history of Ukraine has become the best period for domestic nuclear industry?

During time of war there have been many talks on tv about possible worst-case scenarios for our war stricken country. On all those TV shows that I've seen no one ever questioned the safety of reactors close to the war zone. No one mentioned Chernobyl like scenario. The reason tv anchors blind for future nuclear disasters is because accidents at NPP has always been beyond our imagination. It's like reality and human imagination exists in two different dimensions. People only start questioning those things when the delusions of humanity have finally collided with physical reality.

Someone said that term “We’ve been fukushimed” will be good substitute for “We’ve been lied to”.

I heard a story about some young soldier refused to go for clean up work in Chernobyl in 1986. He told to his commander- I like heavy metal, but not on my teeth, sir…

Murphy’s Law says “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Chernobyl and Fukushima not only illustrate a truth of the theory but provide a permanent cement built home for Murphy’s Law.

January, 2016

If you want to see how really irresponsible human beings are, if you want to know what means to learn things post factum then look at Ukraine nuclear reactors still working in the midst of whizzing bullets, flying rockets and armed gangs moving around. The international community was never really concerned with safety of nuclear installations as well as they never cared about passenger planes flying over war area. Not until Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a missile. When people learned the news that Flight 17 was shot down most asked one question- Why the hell they let them fly over war area? I believe if rocket would hit atomic plant they would ask the same question- How come they allow NPP to operate in a war time..?


On being asked what kind of ship was the safest, Anacharsis the Scythian replied, “Those which are hauled up on shore.” Like Anacharsis I believe the safest reactors are those which wasn’t built.

On being asked which were more numerous, the living or the dead, Anacharsis replied, “In which group do you place those who are sailing the seas?” Like wise Scythian I am not sure to which group shall we place people who living near nuclear installation.

PS: Anacharsis lived in ancient Greece at 6th century BC.

Look at endless crowds of Moslem migrants invading Europe. No one stop them from coming. On the opposite European governments attract them by providing honey pot to millions migrants. Don’t people have eyes to see? If they don’t have eyes to see then they will definitely need them to cry.

Europe has a HORRIFIC mess on its hands which will be impossible to clean up, with the “migrants” – invaders from Middle East – and also Africa. This is a worse blow than WW 2, because the destruction caused by war can be repaired, but the entrance of a millions people of different race, and especially of different religion (a religion deeply hostile to present Western values) is a permanent wound. This alters Europe and those changes are not reversible.

What European politicians fail to understand is that while they will be sending 100 migrants back to their homes another 1000 will arrive. Situation will deteriorate and the only possible short term solution will be to ignore reality and not to tell in main stream media about what really goes on.

If Europe won’t wake up it will end where Konstantinopel ended in 1453 and it won’t take very long. Greeks resisted fearlessly and this days in Europe everyone just keep watching how water filling sinking ship.

Back in 2007 I wrote book The Atomic Middle Ages. The main idea of that book was that we are entering time of a chaos and barbarism, but it won’t be a barbarism amidst forests and fields as in time of Roman empires, this will be barbarism and chaos amidst a neo-hell of war machines and nuclear reactors. In Ukraine we already there, this weakest links in this chain already start breaking.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg once said – “If a war has lasted twenty years it can well go on to last a hundred. For war has now become a status. Polemocraty. People who have enjoyed peace die out.”

In Ukraine war become a status from the very beginning. Polemocraty. War that was brought by outside forces can last forever.

Today March 11, 2016. Media blackout continues with nuclear industry celebrating victory over people. World knows now that Fukushima was only small percentage of Chernobyl and nothing came out of containment except for few noble gases...

Chernobyl bushfires.

In April 2016 we went for a trip with friends through different areas of Chernobyl dead zone. You find videos in our 2016 Video collection. This was made by kids from our group.

On the video you can see aftermath of summer 2015 bushfires. This raised radiation levels throughout most cities we travelled though, some places radiation is 10-20 times higher than it was before bushfires started. So now cities very radioactive again. There is no way to get rid of this stuff...

You can see in first part of video kids from our group found tractor of someone who probably cut woods. Illegally, of course. Tractor is so radioactive that it's better not to stand near filter side. Guy who cut wood doesn't know about it, too busy with making money. Will probably need this money later for buying anti cancer drugs.


From interview to "Stylist" magazine:

Questions for Elena:

How was it to grew up in Ukraine being that kind of "Chernobyl generation" ?

I was never thinking of myself and my friends as Chernobyl generation because on our district there were many evacuees from Pripyat and villages of Chernobyl. They were real "Chernobyl generation"

Have you heard about the stalkers ? Do you consider yourself as a stalker?

Stalker term has a few meanings. One of them got it's name after Strugatsky brothers "Roadside Picknic" book. In "Roadside Picknic" stalkers were explorers of dead zone similar to Chernobyl, except it didn't have radiation, it had deathly objects aliens left after visiting zone. By the way book itself is masterpiece. Stalkers were guys who used to go into zone with purpose of bringing artifacts aliens left. Those artifacts had monetary value so stalkers often were greedy morons who would sell each other for fun, others were daredevils who were risking their life for they had to make living to survive in depressing areas near zone. Among them was rare type of young idealists who went to zone with aim of finding artifact that will make everyone happy.

It is hard for me to consider myself stalker because I don't belong to any of those group but there is another meaning for stalker, it is one who goes in dangerous area, often first who explores area and who make the way to others and often bring other people with them. I can fall into this category because Chernobyl was largely forgotten before I started publishing my photoreportages in 2004. I succeeded to wake up world wide interest to Chernobyl and my trips gave a start to Chernobyl Stalker Culture.

If so, how cold you define the stalker culture?

There is no written code for Chernobyl stalkers so I had to invent my own code which may not appeal to others. My aim was to discover new places using old maps. Photographing them is like saving their memory and rescuing them from oblivion.

As for stalker culture I assume it is fueled by curiosity. It is mostly young people who don't like to be fed with government official bullshit, they want to see everything with own eyes and check radiation levels with own geiger counters. They welcome low maintenance lifestyle, often go to celebrate birthdays or New Year in Chernobyl.

There is something very poetic in your photos. Do you think there is a kind of post-apocalyptic poetry in the zone?

There is some sort of post-apocalyptic poetry. Those images make strong impression on humans. I know I will have Chernobyl images before my eyes as long as I will live.

The zone seems to be a place with her own rules ? Do you agree with that?

Yes, one of rules is not bring anything from zone. My friend once brought some stuff for his house which I told him not to do but he ignored it and shortly after that some old house collapsed on his head and broke his spine. He almost died but fortunately when this happened someone was near and saw it so my friend was saved. He is now ok, just walking with the limp. Of course it could be a coincidence but I don't think it was.

Do you think it could be possible to live today in the zone?

Chernobyl zone becomes more and more radioactive because high level waste being buried there illegally. Scientists discover some new isotopes or chemicals that must be decayed years ago, this radiation is from new burrials. It is not possible for humans to live there, not today nor in the future. You see, not to kick a man when he's down, this ethics don't apply to Chernobyl situation.

April 2016


30 years annivesary note.

Today on 30 years anniversary of Chernobyl disaster I was reading different publications and watching new documentaries. I went through few dozen of new publications on Chernobyl and I haven't seen a single thought. My attempt to find thoughts in those publications was like trying to find vitamins in processed food. If we lived in 1940s it would be at least several great minds whose insights would be valuable. Unfortunately not today. Today we are society of a digital barbarians. Technology - which deals with quantity and number - is considered the height of knowledge today. But quantity and number, which are necessary for measurement and the existence of technology, miss ESSENTIALS, which only the abstraction performed by the thinking mind can reach.

There is well known story from wild life of Donbass (East Ukraine) Name of a town is Konstantinovka. In 2007 some train brought a cargo which they dumped on some garbage site. Shortly after that dustmen who worked on that site start dying one after another. Investigation was made and radiation was measured they closed this site because level of radiation was 700.000 microroentgens per hour. This is 700 milliroentgens and it is what police say, we don't know real levels but we know correlation coefficient meaning statistical relationships between true fact and official lie. Considering this I assume levels were measured in Roentgens. No wonder dustmen from that site dropped dead after few weeks of exposure.

This happened some 800 kms from Chernobyl. I am telling this story to illustrate that nuclear high level waste can be dumped anywhere. Now try to imagine how many such dump sites are in area of Chernobyl.

By the way there is about 800-900 official nuclear dump sites in Chernobyl area which left from 1986. Only God knows how many hundred tons of nuclear waste have been brought and dumped in dead zone in last three decades. This is why scientists say that Strontium and other nasty isotopes do not decay in Chernobyl.

In this way Cheronobyl zone of exclusion has been saturated and accumulating radiation for 30 years. Last summer 2015 due to massive bush fires dead zone stared growing. I think it wasn't disaster yet, just a little wake up call. Worse case scenario would be if some really hot summer we'll have really massive bush fires which will release 10 times more radiation than summer 2015. In that case wasteland will win new territories. Now big? We'll shall see it. Just wait for dry, hot summer.

In my part of the world when person dies their relatives will have commemoration dinner right after funeral, next such dinner will be in 9 days, another one in 40 days and final dinner is to mark one year since person died. This one year commemoration dinner is last, after that family and friends will never meet all together for the special occasion of remembering this person.

Our Chernobyl 30 years anniversary was like this last commemoration event. It is last chance for people to remember and discuss it. After that Chernobyl will become history. It will be filed and sent to archives. No more anniversaries... this was our last commemoration dinner.