Stalking Chernobyl: Exploration After Apocalypse (2020) - full transcript

a film that will examine the underground culture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where--three decades after the world's most infamous nuclear disaster- illegal hiking adventurers aka "...

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Oh, my town - a firing ground.

Where did they bury you, my town?

The grain spills on the grass
with the morning dew.

Oh, where, where is my peace?

Oh, my heart aches so,

My town turned grey
and it's still there like an orphan.

It's difficult to talk about it.

I only know that
our town was very beautiful.

Roses, chestnut trees...

Blooming chestnut trees
and scarlet mountain ashes.



We were drunk with the smell of roses.

Pripyat was originally meant
for 80,000 people.

This is how it was built.
And this is the original design.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
was 2.5 km away from Pripyat city limits.

I used to live there.
My son was born there.

My daughter grew up there.

This was my home, my city.
We built it.

And everything collapsed
in a single moment.

What emotions does this bring up for me?

Pripyat was also a city of roses.

And according to statistics,
for every 49,000 people,

there were 30,000 rose bushes. 30,000.

Just imagine how many roses that is.

It was a piece of heaven.



In the morning I came out.

It was so silent. Absolute silence.
Everyone was sleeping.

No one suspected
what a disaster had occurred.

On April 26, what had once been
our pride became our grief.

After the Chernobyl tragedy,
many citizens within a 30 km range of Pripyat

were evacuated and housed in apartments,

in kindergartens and schools.

The city was evacuated in 2 hours.

The situation was indeed unclear.

They didn't even say for how long
the population had to be evacuated.

They said to take food for 3 days.
That was it.

Attention, attention!

In connection with an accident that has
occurred on the Chernobyl NPP in Pripyat,

an unfavorable radiation
environment is forming.

Aiming to ensure
the safety of the population,

and children first of all,

it is necessary to conduct a temporary
evacuation of the population

to the neighboring cities in the Kiev region.

It is recommended to take your documents,

Essential things,
and also some food to start with.

That's why people were leaving
in house clothes.

Some people left pets at home,
having provided them food for a short time.

A lot of people left their money,
jewellery and passports.

They were even leaving in flip-flops.

But they didn't know
that the evacuation would be for life.

Before the accident,

Chernobyl documentaries and films
were constructed in this paradise.

People can live next to nature,
not harming it.

It was a utopian space, where science,
human progress, and nature

meet each other and live peacefully.

Just exactly after the accident,

People were focused on
just making newsreels and chronicles,

so it was some kind of a duty of film directors
to record it on tape,

and save it for future generations.

It was like a more positivistic approach,

and they were used more
for heroic narratives.

They were made in this heroic framework.

Chernobyl
Chronicle of Difficult Weeks

After the fire in the reactor
had been extinguished,

and the burned and radiated victims
evacuated to Kiev hospital, or to Moscow,

the struggle had only begun.

We have many collections of DVDs -
15 films about Chernobyl

which were made in Ukraine
starting from 1974 until 1994,

when Ukraine became independent.

The cover is quite a conceptual one,

even unrecognizable
from the first glimpse,

but it's a picture of Vladimir Shevchenko,
who was a film director,

the first one who went to Chernobyl Zone
and made the first footage on the spot.

And he didn't survive to participate
in the premiere of his film.

And he is the major first victim of Chernobyl trauma.

Typically, we hear about
the negative consequences of Chernobyl,

but Chernobyl also catalyzed
the disintegration of Soviet Union.

It stopped uncontrolled proliferation
of the so-called peaceful nuclear energy.

It showed that, in fact,
this energy is quite dangerous.

I think nuclear energy
will be used by mankind,

but not as broadly
as it was thought it would be in the '70s,

because it's associated with many problems.

People think that nuclear energy
is better for the environment

than burning fossil fuels.

But the main problem with nuclear energy
is that it creates a lot of nuclear waste,

and people don't know
what to do with this waste.

On the 1st floor,
you can see the grocery store,

the whole shopping mall: Rainbow.

Today, Chernobyl Zone is probably the most
popular tourist destination in Ukraine.

Everybody who comes to Ukraine,
they want to see Chernobyl.

During the 3 last years, the number
of tourists visiting the Chernobyl Zone

doubled each year.

And last year we had nearly 40.000 visitors
from all over the world.

Sometimes it happens that we have like
300 people in the Chernobyl Zone per day.

Sometimes more, sometimes less.

Sometimes it happens that they are
up to 1,000 people in Chernobyl at one day.

Today, when you visit the Exclusion Zone,

it looks like a city center, like in New York,
in Moscow, in Kiev, or everywhere.

Now it looks like Disneyland.

A lot of tourists, photos, photos,
photos, photos everywhere.

This spirit of a fully abandoned place - no!

People have different reasons.

For everybody, it's different,
but the main reason is to go to see Chernobyl.

People like to see the Urbex-ers.
A lot of people come because of that.

Urbex in Europe means the exploring
of abandoned buildings, abandoned places.

It includes rooftopping, climbing on the roofs,
also industrial tourism.

It's the visiting of abandoned buildings,
abandoned plants, factories, facilities.

The trips to Exclusion zone,
it's like only part of the total Urbex.

This special climbing technique is very good
to build relationships between people.

They like it and they enjoy it so much.

Hallelujah!

A lot of guys come here
because they played a video game

based on the Chernobyl Zone.

Because they see something in the game,
they come here and see it in reality.

Because it's one to one.

There is a movie, Stalker by Tarkovsky,

and the movie was based on the book
Picnic by the Road

and the author of the game

took the Chernobyl accident
and put it inside it, so it's the Chernobyl Zone,

with all the things
from the movie and the book.

And they started to get fascinated.
'Ok, I would like to see that:

what I read, what I saw, and what I played'.

People who are going to Pripyat,
they are staging rooms.

and then they are taking pictures there.

Destroying something
that should be untouched.

Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.

Seven times I go into the same rooms -
each time I go in, it's different.

A lot of things have been put into scene,
like people bring in dolls,

to put on a bed, but you can see that
the bed is like 31 years old and damaged,

and the doll is like brand new.

It gives huge money for the business
and to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone administration,

because it's money
they can use to pay the salaries

of the workers of The Exclusion Zone,
from the tourism.

In 2014, in Ukraine,
it was a really hard time,

and the Exclusion Zone workers
stayed stable, and they got salaries,

because tourism gave this money.

Many people treat the Zone

This includes deforestation,
metal collecting, and tourism.

The Zone suffers a great deal from these.

People collect tons of scrap metal,

which is part of the historical heritage
of Chernobyl NPP.

It is very important to show the Zone exactly as it is.

And to show it constantly,
as it is changing and getting ruined.

Over the past 11 years,
the Zone has changed drastically.

We hope to preserve
at least several buildings.

The Zone is a memorial place for us.

We are probably the only ones who spend
our own money on cameras and drones.

We devote our funds to travel to the site
to take pictures, while it still exists.

Our task is to at least visually document it,
so we can show it to the world.

Do something meaningful.

In my opinion, the greatest experience is
to night-shoot in Pripyat.

There is absolutely nobody around.

The whole Zone is quiet and calm.
The moon and the stars are out.

There is a sign in the Pripyat cafe.
The Milky Way starts right from that sign.

Nobody has ever photographed this and
these pictures are really valuable.

Post-radiation-accident tourism is
principally a new phenomenon

for our civilization,

because we visit not, you know, some capital
with an ordinary and usual environment.

But we live in a rather risky environment.

When I say risky, I mean,
not only in terms of radiation,

but, for example,
the Chernobyl Zone combines

the risks of a wild forest,

where tourists can easily encounter
a pack of wolves, for example,

or wild boars, you know,
and moose, quite big animals,

like extremely rare Przewalski's horses.

Nowadays, in the Chernobyl Zone, the wildlife

is more dangerous for tourists
than the radiation.

So, the amount of animals has increased as much
as the ecological capacity allows.

We documented about 400 species
of vertebrates in the Zone.

Rare species also inhabit the Zone.

They have restored their quantity.

Now it is, indeed, a huge reserve
of European forest and fauna,

but not an exotic 'Radiated Safari Park',
as many think.

In the Zone, you feel something
that words can't describe.

Nature managed to overcome radiation

and the consequences
of the Chernobyl disaster

that men ran away from
and that they can't live in.

Nature recovered everything
and it's even better now.

What is the strongest impression
I had during my first trip?

The sun is about to go up, and I hear
the wolves howling from the Red Forest.

You're afraid of the animals,

afraid of the guards,

afraid of radiation...

Radiation -

it has no odor, nor color.
But it has a voice. Here it is...

Everybody knows
how the radiation sign looks like.

Everybody knows that it's danger,
but nobody actually knows what it means.

So this is an isotope, an atom which is decaying -
so there is the core,

And the three rays,
they represent the three types of radiation.

This is alpha, beta, and gamma.

Alpha radiation -
it's quite heavy radioactive particles.

Luckily, you do not get to meet them a lot
in the Chernobyl Zone these days,

Because, as they are quite heavy,
they tend to travel into the soil.

Gamma radiation is basically the radiation

that we get exposed to the most of all
in the Chernobyl Zone.

It's not that dangerous, luckily,
because your body can dispose of it.

And Beta - Beta is a little more dangerous

because it can never
be disposed by the human body.

Some plants collect
radioactive pollution differently.

Pine - different. Apple - different.

You can eat apples,
but you need to clean them from the skin

and from the center of the apple.

One of the most dangerous is mushrooms.

The most dangerous water in Pripyat

is near the hospital
where it was the river port of Pripyat.

After the explosion. the first priority
was to extinguish tires

at the Chernobyl power plant.

So the firefighters,
they were the first on the scene,

they went there and,
as they were doing their job,

they got exposed a lot.

And all their clothes, the shoes,

they were like soaked
through with radiation.

So after they were taken to the hospital,

the nurses first of all
took away their shoes, their clothes,

and they put them in the basement.

So it's still in the basement,
and it's still highly radioactive,

because, you can imagine,
all the particles that were there

at the moment of the explosion
of the power plant,

they are now there.

Right now,
we're in the basement of the hospital.

Your riding shoe is infected.

They called us urgently
at the time of the incident.

That was when the tragedy
with the power plant happened.

And we admitted all those people with burns
who worked at the power plant.

They all came with nausea. vomiting. dizziness.

We gave them stomach wash
and treated their burns as usual.

Those were the people
who were exposed to radiation.

Everyone who was injured
at the atomic power plant,

we worked with all of them.

So many people were badly injured.

In the hospital, there's a piece of metric

that used to be an the helmet of a fireman.

So, we measured this piece.
around 25-26 micro sieverts per hour.

If you're there alone,
and if you open the wrong doors,

and be in the wrong place
for more than you should.

It can be dangerous.

At the moment, the radiation levels
in the area which tourists visit

are 1000 times smaller
as compared to the ones

which I measured
in person 30 years ago.

Each group has at least one
Geiger counter with the guide.

To show the tourists
the accumulated dose

which is as big as the dose,
for example,

in the city of Kiev
for 3 days, or for 2 days-.

Or which is as big as the dose

for a couple of hours
of flight on the airplane.

Our tourists receive more radiation
on the way to the Chernobyl Zone

than in the Chernobyl Zone.

People usually can speculate a lot
about how dangerous it is or how safe it is,

but what we know for sure is
that it's unstable, actually.

There are different nuclear parts,
which can have different masses,

and can move with different speeds,

depending on the wind and the sun.

Situations change constantly
in the Chernobyl Zone.

Unfortunately, it's true.

Inside the Zone, there are
a lot of really dangerous places.

The most famous one is the 4th reactor.

This is an entombment, which was covered
with the New Safe Confinement.

And the second most dangerous place
is the Red Forest,

which contains an
enormous amount of radionuclides.

I had the chance to walk around
the famous Red Forest,

where there were horrendous amounts
of radiation 30 years ago.

I went there 6 years ago.

I can't say that it somehow
affected my state of health.

Last year and the year before that
were the worst,

when the Red Forest was on fire.

It was right next to Pripyat. where
the most radioactive place is.

Radiation and radioactivity exist just as
sunrise and sunset do.

You can't fight it.

You can only try to cooperate with it.

You can live with radiation,
but you first need to understand it.

Shelter

Footage from onside the 4th reactor
by Alexandr Kupnyi

I came here in May 1988.

And I stayed here for 21 years.

10 of those years. I was in
the Chernobyl NPP Shelter Object

on the Photo, Video
and Radiological detection team.

And when I started to work
on the 3rd power unit,

I wanted to see and understand
on my own what has happened.

Almost all visits were illegal.

And all visits
were connected with over-radiation.

The doses were not recorded, of course.

There was this silent agreement.

Because it was not even a violation,
but almost a crime

in the eyes of the management team.

'Elephant's foot'

Hall 217, paw-like flows
of fuel containing masses.

No one can know what happened
with you, after 20-30 years.

Different bodies,
different influences to your health.

But a lot of stalkers,
maybe 80% of all stalkers,

don't worry about radiation.

A 'stalker' is a person
who enters the restricted Zone

on his own danger, against all regulation,
and comes back.

Radiation kills only those
who are afraid of it.

Stalkers have a saying:
'Without a Geiger, you'll go further.'

Not all territories of the Exclusion Zone
are really highly polluted.

A lot of stalkers eat fruits,
but from the 30 km zone.

In the 10 km zone,
I think it's really crazy.

Water can be contaminated,

but the rivers inside the Exclusion Zone

because the particles were washed
by this river after these 30 years.

Stalkers know the places
where you can collect and filter this water,

and, in Pripyat, there are places
which collect a lot of water.

It's groundwater,
and it's water fully clear.

At this point, we need water,
so we're gonna go get some water

from the basement
of a Chernobyl building.

So, this is where we get
our drinking water supply.

And the water looks like it is clean. Yeah.

So, it's not radioactive,
so it's a good sign.

All we're gonna do now is filter it,

because this plant is a little bit rusty.

These legal tourists. guides, operators

are interested in reducing
the number of stalkers.

Because that is their business.

They frighten people,
so people use their services.

They try to prove they are necessary.

When I went to the Zone for the first time,

I was told that without the guide,
I wouldn't be here, and that I'm a nobody.

That I would be torn into pieces by wolves.

or the military would shoot me down,

or I would die from overexposure.

As for the legal guides,
our relationships are strained

because their leaders
treat stalkers negatively.

They think that we litter the Zone.
They treat us as a threat.

I just see them. They are passing by.
We just say 'hello'. maybe talk for a while,

then they go one way. I go another way,
and that's it.

So I don't call anybody,
and I do not report.

Even though I would need to,
maybe, but I don't do it.

Yes, legal companies do not like stalkers.

But some stalkers now work
as guides in these companies.

So when they see stalkers,
they remember what it was like.

And they might give you some water,
humanly.

By the way, it's really nice
that you came here in the winter

because there's no vegetation,
so you can see almost everything.

I realize that, at some point,
I will quit the job

and I will be coming to Chernobyl,
but not as a guide.

Maybe just as a tourist.

Maybe as a stalker, why not?

This was the beginning of 2000.

This was when I first heard that

those who visit the Zone illegally
are called 'stalkers'.

I didn't like this,
and was really opposed to this.

A 'stalker', according to the Strugatsky brothers,
is a criminal, a thief,

who visited the Zone
to fill his own pockets.

It has a totally different meaning now.

The problem for the stalker is
how to enter the restricted area

and avoid all the elements of security,
all the patrols, checkpoints, towers

and everything else -
without anyone noticing you.

The illegal hiking trip
to the Exclusion Zone

is about 35-50 km.

That's one way,
but it depends on the route.

They differ in difficulty,
in the amount of trees,

cities where you can spend the night,

also in the amount of policemen
that can be met along the way.

The nuclear power plant is secured by
the army, special forces.

And if you're caught by the police,
if you're in a group of people,

it can be criminal. You can go to jail.

Eight years ago, it was hard
to get inside the Exclusion Zone.

After 5-6 years now,
we can meet groups

with like 15, 16, 20 persons in one illegal
group in the Exclusion Zone.

For some of them, like the younger part,

it is to show off that you are a strong guy,

and you can pass the barbed wire.

You can hide against the police

and take a cool photo on the rooftop.

Some stalkers are really interested
in Soviet history,

in nuclear history, in everything.

'Physical geography', USSR, 1982.

Why is it all so well preserved?

Now there are a lot of stalkers from Poland,
from Germany, from France,

but they look more like tourists.

The first stalkers.
who really explored the Zone,

were from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

In Russia, there are some phrases, like:
'You can be with them everywhere you want'.

It's a good crew for the trip,

and you know that
going back will always be simple,

because your friends are with you.

If you are going to the Chernobyl Zone,
and you are staying in Pripyat,

you establish your own apartment,
especially if you go there often.

You leave some food there
that you don't need during this hike.

There are sometimes stalker clans.

People who travel as a company

might conflict with another clan.

If you go to someone’s apartment in Pripyat,

and you find products of the people

who 'established' that apartment,
and you take them,

the person who supplied these products,
who brought them there,

is not going to be happy
about not finding them.

So that's a conflict situation.

These photos, it's from New Year
in the Exclusion Zone.

It's 2015-2016.
It's my photos on my film camera,

an old fashion Soviet camera.

In one village. photos of walking.

It's Pripyat city center.

It was really cold in that winter,

-20C, -24C. In one night, it was -28C,

and when we returned to the village,
one village,

it was like our special stop for the night,

we didn't find our house.

And we had a night like in the open air.

Being a stalker myself, I met others like me
who broke the rules of radiation safety.

For instance, they used local wood
to make fires.

They measured the wood
with a Geiger counter

before they made a fire.

It showed acceptable levels of radiation,
so they threw the wood in the fire

without even suspecting that
the radiation increased 20 times.

Of course. the forest is
a huge deposit of radionuclides.

Because when the isotopes enter that system,
they lock themselves tn it.

When radioactive caesium or strontium
enter a tree, they don't exit it.

When the tree dies. decomposes,
then they enter the soul.

Interesting, in the winter,
you're really alone.

Because 90% of all stalkers,
they are really scared

and they are not prepared.

And, a lot of stalkers drink a lot.

It's like deactivation
to take some vodka,

and it looks like 1 liter of vodka
per 10 km of the trip.

I'm not a supporter of these things.

So, if you're a stalker,
what does 'stalker' actually mean?

A 'stalker' is a person
who has illegally entered the Zone.

Illegally. How do you expect me
to approve of this?

This is direct non-compliance with the law.
And in 10 years he has cancer.

God forbid, of course!
But anything can happen.

This Zone can be very dangerous.

Radiation can't be felt. seen or smelled.

Only a dosimeter can Identify it.
If at is turned on.

It's really a very interesting
personal experience.

Of course, it's quite hard to travel
for more than 30 km.

To cross a river, to hide from the guards
and in the end

to arrive in the town of Pripyat,
and to feel a hero.

So, I can understand.

But, I am to tell you that
the stalkers have dosimeters.

They are not stupid,
not more stupid than average people.

Just, they have a bit of a broader view
of the risks of radiation

than ordinary people.

What we are doing now is not to,
let's say, suppress

this desire and thus movement -
it's already a movement, and a subculture.

Our first meeting was in February.

It was winter and a lot of people came.

We decided to do this in the open air,

where everybody could hear everything.

My last trip ended
on the second of August, 2017.

This was my 50th trip,
the anniversary one.

It was my first time in the Exclusion Zone.
I came back a few days ago.

I have been dreaming of this trip
for several years.

Now my dream has come true.

My parents were against this
because they know there is radiation.

They left that place 20 years ago,
and now their son wants to return there.

For us, the Zone is alive.

Most stalkers treat the Zone this way -
as if it were a living organism

which would punish us
if we treated it badly.

It's a sacred place,
and we treat it as a temple.

Every time I come back from there,
I want to go again and see what's new.

It's a very special place.

And you want to come back every time.

When I started to go to the Zone,
there were not many women who were stalkers.

At least, I hadn't met any.

But in 2017. there were already
quite a lot of women who were stalkers.

So now, I don't have a problem finding
a female travel companion.

I haven't gotten a chance to go there yet,
but I'm planning to visit there next Spring.

For me, it is extremely interesting,
and it draws me so much.

First of all, I am interested, naturally.
to see the reactor, the abandoned town,

the 'Duga' radar. You can go up there.

Maybe one of the best places
in the Zone is Duga.

A unique system. Only 3 radars like this
were tn the Soviet Union,

and only one is staying
in the Exclusion Zone. It's a receiver.

Chernobyl catastrophe saved
this system for us.

The Zone is a romantic place
that has brought us together.

We often go together to enjoy
the whole atmosphere.

We walk around, rest, visit
abandoned cities and villages.

You get a certain dose of adrenalin
when you experience and learn firsthand

and feel the atmosphere
of Pripyat at night -

when you get on
the 16th floor of a building

at night, in a ghost town,
where there are no window lights,

and you look at the horizon,

where the Chernobyl NPP is,
which is lit up, like a huge spaceship.

Other stalkers got other stories.

A lot of us have parents
who were liquidators.

The Chernobyl catastrophe involved
more than 300,000 liquidators

to liquidate this catastrophe.
In 1986-1987. 300.000 persons.

In order to clean the roof

of the 3rd and what was left of the 4th block,

special robots were activated,

which were used to clean
radioactive waste near the 4th block,

but they couldn't perform that task.

They broke down
due to high radiation levels.

This is why people were used - soldiers.

Attention team! Comrade Colonel,

the formed squad
from Dnipropetrovsk oblast

arrived to Chernobyl
to eliminate the consequences

of the disaster
at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant!

And the boys who did the decontamination -
they were called bio-robots -

they ran to the top
of the sarcophagus for 2 minutes -

cadets and military men,

they threw 3-4 shovels
of the exposed soil that was there

and then ran back.

For some of them that was fatal.

Liquidation persists.

The story of Chernobyl is
one of the deepest and hardest stories

of Soviet period, of Ukraine,
and all the world.

Because, in the first days, first weeks,
they tried to hide this information,

about this catastrophe, what happened.

Comrades! Glasnost also means free speech
about professional issues,

which affect the life
and health of our people.

If there are now
more than 20 nuclear plants in Ukraine,

then every resident of Ukraine
has the right to know how they function.

They built nuclear power plants

with more than 30-40 defects
on the project, on these reactors.

In Russian. there is a phrase like
'really fast construction'.

Some reactors were built not in 5 years.
but in 4 years,

because the crew of constructors,
they were showing that,

'Yes. we can do this.'

But it wasn't so safe, and the quality
of this construction was not so high.

For me it is absolutely clear that
in the Chernobyl case,

more liquidators died from suicide

than from Acute Radiation Sickness.

It did happen, an increase in cancers,

due to severe psychological stress,
which was put by the known-enough fact

of being radiated, or being a resident
oi a contaminated area.

Because of this stress,
of the state of depression,

of economic hardships,
the immunity goes down,

and it can easily result.

But they are not induced directly
by radiation as a physical matter.

People think that it they don't see radiation
it might not exist.

But, it's not true.

People who were fighting the fire
on the 26th of April,

I think that many of them just lived
a few more weeks or a few more months,

but I think that the liquidators
did not know to which extent it was dangerous.

My father was a liquidator and
he first had a contract for a year

and then he kept extending it.

I am not sure how scared my mom was,
and possibly she was,

but I think that,
according to her,

she spoke to dad about
how dangerous his work was,

but he continued working there
because it was good money.

He worked there for 4 years,
and then he came back to Kiev

and he already was very sick.

And then he only lived
for 6 more years and died.

For me, radiation is something
very, very scary.

I was one of the liquidators
of the Chernobyl accident.

I can say that a lot of information
about health was being withheld.

I was witness to that.

We were going through medical checks.

Where they did not put
the correct information

about the radiation
that people received.

We can't afford to make mistakes.

If I take one step away
from the established rules,

terrible things can happen.

This is why work shifts
are only a few minutes long,

due to such high radiation doses.

I sometimes put the radiation dosimeter
in places with high radiation

because I needed some time off
to visit my pregnant wife.

I provided it for check up,
hoping they would say

I was overexposed
and would send me back to Kiev.

But when I returned to Chernobyl to pick up
the same dosimeter,

they would tell me that
my figures were fine.

Even though I was an engineer,
I was a freshly graduated one.

I was entrusted with serious tasks.

And I was just as naive
as present-day stalkers.

This is also a rare photo.
Here, I'm next to the 5th and 6th units.

It's literally only a few dozen meters from
the 3rd and 4th reactors, which exploded.

This is a medal for being one
of the liquidators oi the accident.

Slavutich was founded a year
after the disaster.

The idea was to build a town

where workers from the plant could live.

But it had to be
outside of the Exclusion Zone,

and there had to be easy access from it
to the power plant.

I am deeply convinced
that this town is special

precisely because
it is inhabited by heroes.

This is a memorial temple.
It may be the only one such temple.

There are the souls oi those who
sacrificed their lives so that we could live,

and here on the icon we see a depiction
of the little kids.

Bishop Longin took great care
of the children

who got diseases as a result
of the Chernobyl tragedy.

I know so many people
who came to Chernobyl Zone

and they got so much inspired by the place,
or by the atmosphere.

I was pretty much blown away
by the atmosphere in the Zone itself.

It was like the perfect location
to do something with photography workshops.

Because you can really teach the people
how to go in a feeling

and try to transform that into an image.

What attracts me specifically
in the Zone also is the quietness.

Here in Chernobyl I was focused
to make an installation,

by the carousel, with rubber bands.

The most important thing
in this artwork is the name.

The name of the installation
is Fukushima.

Because we have the same problem,

and we should be focusing also on one hand
on Chernobyl and the second on Fukushima.

Today we see the result -
the Chernobyl disaster.

Insufficient planning led to Fukushima.

So only 2 weeks later,
our observing systems recorded:

Iodine - 131, Cesium - 134. Cesium - 137
and other accidental radionuclides.

16 days were enough for radionuclides
from Fukushima

to fly over all of Eurasia,
over the whole continent,

and land here.

And we never know when the next nuclear
power plant disaster will happen.

But one thing is certain: It will happen.

The question is when it will happen.
That's all.

We receive plenty of visitors from Japan,
and particularly from Fukushima area.

Not only just ordinary tourists,
but also top authorities

who study our experience
of post-radiation-accident tourism

as the means of economic
and psychological and social recovery

of the area affected by the accident.

Pripyat and Chernobyl is a drug.

If you experience it once,
you want it again, you want to see more places.

To me, the Zone is also
an escape from civilization.

I am an admirer
of post-apocalyptic culture.

It's incredible to see an abandoned city,
taken over by nature.

Even the air is different there.

One must feel this
to understand what I'm saying.

This loop from paradise,
catastrophe and nightmare and trauma,

to paradise again, converted into a perfect
space for tourists.