Exactly 30 years ago today Pravda, the official Communist party newspaper, published its first substantial report on the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl, ten days after the worst man-made accident in history. This was the first formal indication that anything was seriously amiss. In the days after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine, 120,000 people were evacuated from a 22-mile exclusion zone, as frantic efforts were made to drain the plant of radioactive water and encase the site in concrete. More than 200 people died from acute radiation sickness, and thousands more would suffer the debilitating and life-shortening effects from a spew of radioactivity 400 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. Of this, the vast majority of Soviet citizens knew nothing. The Chernobyl meltdown devastated thousands of lives, but the fallout from the ensuing cover-up was historically more significant: it poisoned relations between Moscow and its satellites, undermined faith in Communist rule and brought down the Soviet Union. It also demonstrated, in the most dramatic way, what happens when a state tries to contain and conceal unpleasant truth in a concrete covering of lies.
Times 6th May 2016 read more »