Thankfully, the Ukraine, through all its problems, today stands on its own two feet. It’s an enigmatic country much like its former northern rulers, and similarly with great potential, great mystery, deep pain as well as overwhelming beauty. For a long time it had been hidden in shadow, behind an iron curtain, under the Soviet fist and within its own insecurities.
To the north and central region lies a very physical scar on the country, a very real stain if you will. Over a quarter of a century on from that day in April in 1986 and a large patch of land still lies predominantly vacant, save a few citizens on the outskirts who have no alternative but to stay and grind out a dangerous living. The nuclear effects of Chernobyl will live on for many more generations. Experts estimate that it will be some 20 000 years before the area at the core of the disaster will recover, to be liveable again… Deep within that desolate region known as the ‘Zone of alienation’ is the ghost city of Prypyat… - One commentator even went so far as to call it a Soviet Union time capsule.
A year or two ago the Ukraine opened up sections of the area to tourists to learn about (and from) the disaster. From these images it’s easy to see why it spawned a Hollywood horror film (Chernobyl Diaries - click for the trailer). Sad though that LA got the rights for this film – if they’d wanted it done properly, it should have been placed in European hands, perhaps even a Ukraine/Russia collaboration (that would have been scary on so many levels, whilst also doing the story more justice).
Prypyat, before '86:
www.buzzfeed.com - 50 pictures of Chernobyl...
www.thehuffingtonpost.com - Touring Chernobyl