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General News    H1'ed 4/16/11

Zone of Alienation: Chernobyl 25 Years Later

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In the abandoned and completely looted apartments, you can find    Communist junk and old Izvestia newspapers proclaiming the tired   Soviet propaganda of pre-perestroika.   By 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev    had already called for reforming the USSR and opening it with glasnost, but neither concept was any more than just words before Chernobyl. After the disaster, Moscow revealed more to Western governments -- and  nuclear industries -- than to the affected  people.  Such      secrecy has been endemic to the international nuclear industry from     its very origins and is currently being dramatically displayed in the   dosing of the bad news in Japan.


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There is a myth that Pripyat is a time capsule of Soviet times, with uncollected mail in mailboxes and other touching signs of lives hurriedly left behind.  But it isn't true.  Yes, the detritus is Soviet, but very little of it is left after 25 years. There is no mail left in mailboxes, except by people who want to stage a scene.

 


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What is left of the library.


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Another commonly staged scene. The objects in this kindergarten     were not left like this after the evacuation. Photos from soon     afterward show neatly made beds, with toys and books lined up on shelves.  Anything you find in the Zone these days is unlikely to be in      the position or place it was left in.

 

 


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Nature is smashing through the concrete and steel of Pripyat.  


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The first building collapsed in 2006.

 


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Experts predict the rest will be rubble in 100 years.


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In the autumn of 2005, a group of German graffiti vandals slipped away from their guide to cover Pripyat with graffiti.  It was a huge scandal in the Zone, where most people viewed it almost like sacrilege.

                                

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Outside of Pripyat and the town of Chernobyl, where the Zone's administration is housed, a very common scene when driving along      the potholed and crumbling roads is what looks like a hole in the forest.

 


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Mary Mycio has been fascinated by nuclear issues since her 5th grade teacher said that her misbehaving class would die in a nuclear war because they didn't follow instructions. Her book "Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl" is available (more...)
 
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