“We see a screen of TV set glowing despite its being powered off, there are blue leaves on that trees and tomato-sized strawberries.” This is a quote from a 1986 newspaper article. As a cruel joke, someone offered to erect a monument dedicated to Peter I at the location its pedestal bearing the Emperor’s words: “From here we will encounter the Swedes.” This was a tribute to the Swedish who were the first in Europe to sound the alarm. However, the times had already changed by then: two years earlier, no one in the Soviet Union would have known about the Chernobyl tragedy. Yet, in 1986 still a lot of hogwash was dumped onto people’s ears, prompting jokes that all that hogwash will feed the population of Kyiv for another year. But that was a kind of gallows humor – for it was quite scary to think about what happened. Shortly after one o’clock on the night of April 26 1986, Chernobyl Unit Four, the newest one, had an explosion. Even a quarter of a century later it is still unclear what happened there and whom to blame. Firemen who responded to the fire were only awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously. The 30-kilometre zone around Chernobyl is a ready-made scenery for the Stalker movie. It’s all set up: lights, camera, action!
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