One of the most troubling aspects of the initial cover up was the Moscow authorities insistence that the May Day parades in Kyiv go ahead as normal—to try to convince people that nothing was wrong. Those celebrating the holiday in the streets put themselves at risk from radiation. But this kind of callousness had a price. It undermined confidence in the authorities’ ability to lead. One of the most striking subsequent accounts of the disaster can be found in the numerous interviews conducted by the Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich for her book, Chernobyl Prayer (also translated as Voices from Chernobyl). Alexievich’s work was one of the sources used by creators of the HBO series about the disaster, Chernobyl. “It really impressed me,” the author said of the TV dramatization in a 2019 interview with RFE/RL. “Chernobyl unleashed a mass protest movement against the authorities,” wrote the Harvard historian, Serhii Plokhy, in his 2014 book, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1991. The explosion in the reactor was a crack in the USSR that not only cost countless lives—the nature and delayed effects of radiation mean that the true death toll may never be known—but also contributed to the demise of a political system.
Forbes 1st May 2021 read more »