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 Disaster worker Russian newspaper interview translation part 2

Chernobyl disaster worker Russian newspaper interview translation part 2


Part II

Moscow LITERATURNAYA GAZETA in Russian No 23, 4 Jun 86 p 10

[Article by Yu. Shcherbak, LITERATURNAYA GAZETA special correspondent:[ "Alarm and Hope ]

[Text] This is the second batch of material from Ukrainian writer, doctor of medical science Yu. Shcherbak, who talks about the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl AES. For the first of the series see "Pain and Courage. Notes of an Eyewitness." LITERATURNAYA GAZETA 21 May 1986.

The streets of Kiev are still filled with people and youth but if you look more carefully you notice that there are few children: the convoys of buses recently took most schoolchildren off for their summer vacations. The mothers were tearful, fearful, as they sent off their Oksanki's and Vasiliy's to the pioneer camps...

The city has become more severe, more businesslike and much quieter than in the first days following the accident.

One of the stern lessons of the first month of the "Chernobyl era" has been taught to the mass information media: some of them have still not restructured their work in the spirit of the decisions of the 27th CPSU Congress. The fast-breaking events sharply curtailed the time needed for action and for various kinds of agreement and coordination. It is a question both of the quantity and the quality of information. After several days, when information was extremely scarce, numerous articles appeared in the newspapers and television started to relay statement by specialists. Much in those articles and statements was correct and intelligible. However...

In some publications and television broadcasts such falsely cheerful and facilely confident-sounding notes were sounded that we were literally talking not about our great common misfortune but some kind of training alarm or competition between firefighters using models.

The patriarchal nature of the ancient city spread along the hills above the Dnepr, with the gold domes of its cathedrals storing the memories of centuries, has during the last month been inscrutable, but has already been coupled with the lineament of a new age—the atomic age; and now this is no sonorous metaphor of the kind we like to repeat, but a stern reality: the words "dosimeter operator," "radiation,""reactor zone,""deactivation" and all these "milliroentgens," "rems" and "rads" and so forth have been firmly placed in our vocabulary, while the figure of a man in coveralls, his face covered by a respirator and with Geiger counter in hand, seen on the television screens, has become a commonplace. The accident at the AES has not only echoed with heartfelt pain and sympathy for those on whom this misfortune has fallen and has not only given rise to a number of scientific documents and outstanding articles by journalists but also alas! to some poor doggerel. Kiev and the Ukraine responded to the events in Chernobyl with a mighty outbreak of humor. The sharp, salty wit is particularly valued among those who have to work in the danger zone. Just as in war, the smiles and laughter are