Tchernobylsty

Kiev, where three-fourths of the population are Tchernobylstys, former inhabitants of Tchernobyl. Tchernobyl Museum. Son of a former liquidator, born with a malformation.  People who participated in the first cleaning operations, risking their lives, were nicknamed - or rather officially called - "the liquidators". Almost a quarter of them are dead as of today, the others are in treatment and probably also terminally condemned at short term. Photo by Guillaume Herbaut

Kiev, where three-fourths of the population are Tchernobylstys, former inhabitants of Tchernobyl. Tchernobyl Museum. Son of a former liquidator, born with a malformation. People who participated in the first cleaning operations, risking their lives, were nicknamed - or rather officially called - "the liquidators". Almost a quarter of them are dead as of today, the others are in treatment and probably also terminally condemned at short term. Photo by Guillaume Herbaut

They lived around Chernobyl. Many worked for the nuclear power station, a symbol of the Soviet people’s “mastery of the machine”. A town was even built for them: Pripiat- 48 000 inhabitants – 4 kilometers from the Ukrainian power station.
April 26, 1986, the day of the explosion. Pripiat was evacuated within hours. Told to abandon everything, as it had become radioactive, most people, like thieves, smuggled out small items of sentimental value: an old photograph, jewellery, an alarm clock.
Few years later, Tchernobyl is definitely closed and most of its habitants now live on the outskirts of the Ukranian capital, Kiev. Living amongst themselves as if in a ghetto, the “Tchernobylstys” are united by the rememberance of the misery and the loss of loved ones.

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