When the tragedy of Chernobyl happened, I was two. In the kitchen garden nobody picked the strawberries: my mother was afraid to give them to me, though everybody said that there was no danger. A pregnant daughter came to our neighbor. She was fleeding from Chernobyl. At that time, people naively believed - all those events were temporary ... No one knew the truth about the scale of the tragedy, but the rumors circulated and there was something in the air ... The adults were afraid of radiation, and the children absorbed the fear instinctively. Later we played in the evacuation and "burying the fallen ..."
30 years have passed, I am going through the forest, which was the street in the past. And it's not terrible, it is rather inspiring. It turns out: a man can destroy only himself. Whatever we do, the nature take its course, recovers and absorbs the traces of our abuse and the past tragedies.
In fact, the Exclusion Zone is the area defined almost at random. Within its boundaries there are some areas which are quite habitable, as well as outside its borders there are some really contaminated spots. According to the local workers, people regularly come here to pick up mushrooms and berries, so one can buy the basket of fresh white mushrooms from under Chernobyl anywhere near the metro station – it is quite real. Another thing is that it sounds worse than it actually is.
The works on the Sarcophagus are in full swing. You can hear Italian and English languages. This resembles of Babylon Tower, only in reverse way. There is a hope that the object deadlines will not be delayed.
Pripyat has become a Post-Apocalypse scenery. The tourists are brought here. In addition, as it was possible to understand from the snatches of the conversations, the workers like to arrange booze parties in the dead city - a kind of cemetery radioactive romance.
" May the atom be a peaceful worker, not a soldier," says the slogan on the central square of the city of Pripyat. But we know it too well, that the "workers", too, may sometimes organize the revolution ...Helen Rozwadowskaya
Photos by Anna Dabija
Translated by Maria Kryzhanovska