The day of December, 23rd didn’t promise anything unusual. Although, stop, there was one unusual thing and it began from the list of people who wanted to visit Chernobyl Zone – only ONE man! Well, liability was to be done. Other way people would not believe you anymore.
So, morning, December, 23rd, 7.00 AM - Kiev railway station – South Terminal. The program of the Zone’s visiting is signed; we take the passenger and go.
§ In this place we will look aside and remember the day two weeks ago. Project pripyat.com lives by its everyday life... December, 8th – rumors about the collapse of sarcophagus. There is panic in net, public excitement in forum, visitor’s inquiries on one topic:
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Editorial staff connects with ChNPP direction. They answer – “No collapses – everything is ok”. Excitement and panic don’t go away. Site editors go to check radiation in 2 Kiev’s districts: Darnitskiy and Kharkovskiy – photos of 2 radiometers’ data slightly calm down the public…But part of the audience is watchful anyway – “rumors do not appear themselves…something had to be”. The time of trip to Zone is almost near – 23 of December.
The project - Address book of the Excluded Zone. During two months Anna Gorelisheva – programmer from St. Petersburg constrainedly works (for free!) for one of main ideas of the project – address (phone) book of People from Pripyat (liquidators, people who work in the Zone). Interactive book is ready for 90%, remained only to put into it the base of buildings of Pripyat. But there is not enough information about it. We need to make a trip to Pripyat to put addresses to the map. The maps with routes are already prepared in Moscow (Nehaev.S.). It is left to go by these routes.
On the way we decided to dedicate our trip to 2 main targets:
1.To stop the rumors about collapsing of the sarcophagus’ wall – to make a photo of it and make measures of radiometer near it (150meters).
2.To prepare information about address book – to put all buildings on the map.
We had no problem with the first task, but the second one could be more difficult. We went early; all organizational problems were almost solved. There would be enough time. If we would know about “unforeseeable consequences” that would prevent us to fulfill the second part of our task.
Check-point Dityatki is left behind; in Chernobyl in “Chernobylinterinform” agency we are waited not earlier than . And we are here at .30 AM!...Small briefing…
Hmm…maybe we can go to Chernobyl -2?...Why not, let’s go…
Turn left. Narrow woodland road, made of concrete plates. Road to”special object”…We ride 3 km like in a train. Tm-tm...Tm-tm…Joints of plates give theirs waves to the car.
Sleepy guard in sport trousers:”What organization are you from? Now I will call my boss”…”Steel garden” – so was called this building at one western site. Sergey Chernov, our attendant, tells us about the “birth” of this idea – to make this building energy source. “Scientists investigated that medium air speed here is 14m/sec, while it is necessary 12meters minimum, so conditions let to make this object in electro station.
-So, what is going on there?-we ask.
-- No money, the most widespread saying in Ukraine in all spheres of life.
-I am sorry, guys, but I can’t let you in. You need special pass from direction. This tells us the guard of secret object in the past. We go further.
Check-point “Pripyat”. We leave the car near the town entrance – where guards can keep an eye on it. We divide and agree to meet near CP “Energetic” and go according our routes.
2 micro district, left side of the Lenin street...1…kindergarten…Lesya Ukrainka street…Work is not boring – I was not here 20 years! My “partner” Sergey doesn’t work as attendant for 7 years, but also has never been here.
- I was in Pripyat before accident in 1986, he tells – we came here in student’s team. We liked the town and I decided to move here after graduating. But – catastrophe.
- What did you like best of all? – I ask
- Children and flowers – he answers sparingly. A lot of children and flowers.
- Do you remember this shop?
-This one? No, I don’t remember…But remember that here was a lot of food. And in general I like this city more than Kiev. And now every time when I come here, I come almost every day, I feel sad.
- And I don’t feel sad. I like the silence of this place and its special aura. Here I feel myself calm and cosy. Here I relax.
- First – first, I am second, the voice of editor from portative radio station.
-I hear you, Alexander.
-We are finishing 1 micro district, will wait for you in the center, near Culture House.
-Ok, we will be there in 30 minutes, finishing Kurchatova Street.
Awful Sounds of Pripyat
Attendant was behind about 100 meters. A house without a tablet, we have to go inside – maybe the number of house is in the residents’ list or at post cards which could be found on the floor. I don’t have big desire to come in alone. Still have a lot of impressions from September’s trip. Awful, but anyway I go. The door wasn’t open for several years…Nothing special – same half-opened doors, paper and other small things on the floor. But there are strange subdued sounds from cellar. I can’t compare it with something…and animal fear comes closer…to my back, near neck (familiar feeling: city hospital – second and third floor…as one of the visitors told “Feeling that you are in somebody’s unseen sights”). Sounds do not stop, they seem to be closer and closer. The fear grows and legs don’t want to go further. Sharp turn, some quick steps or even jumps and I am at the street already, where is same friendly winter sun. Somewhere in the distance could be heard Sergey’s steps.Yee…What’s the nonsense there, in cellar?...Who or what could make such sounds?
Interesting that when our groups meet, Sasha firs begins to talk about awful sounds in Pripyat. I nodd…hmm…yes…If former residents say such nonsense…Maybe because of hard work, and psychics is not good already. Only that who visited houses and cellars of Pripyat alone can judge. But I don’t think that there are lots of people like that.
The work in two micro districts are finished. Light breakfast.
-You know, it is not enjoyable to go in groups, let’s join together?- I offer.
-Sure. Wehavealotoftime. Let’s do it together.
-Ok, and then let’s start with 3 micro district (road cross of Kurchatova and L.Ukrainka Street). You take this group of nine-storey buildings. I take that – buildings opposite to electro shop of “Complex”.
-Hm…Again I am alone. Sergey is left to guar a car. Let it be so, I know that planca and iov (nicknames of Sasha and Oleg in forum) are somewhere near. Inner yards of 3 micro district are gloomier. This is so because of that there are no 5-storey buildings, only 9- and 16-storeyed.
Combined in 3 or 4 houses nine-storied buildings – no tablets. I come to the yard with intention to clear up the number of building, even if I have to go through all the flats from first to ninth floor…meanwhile Sasha and Oleg are coming.
We pip in the lift room of one of the living buildings. Warehouse of gas-masks, filters for them and other accessories. Above there is new, packed nickel-plated tablets with names of streets and numbers of buildings. Above – festive transparency for parades and demonstrations…Gas-masks, evidently, were not used like all other stuff.
-This is Housing Service, - shouts Oleg when coming into first apartment.
Now it is understandable why here are so many gas-masks.Unintentionally my thoughts come back to that date – 27 of April 1986 – evacuation of the town…
Further investigation of buildings goes on with bad mood spoiled by marauders activity in this place.
Three more nine-storied buildings near 4th school, and after we come back by car to L.Ukrainka Street and move to 5th micro district.
- Wow…Savings bank
Reading forms, books and cards we plunge into “saving atmosphere” of past years. “You can save money in savings bank” – poster of Savings Bank on the wall. “Yes, it was possible, probably…” And after it was also probably to lose it all – in one day…
Events more than twenty years ago still agitate but only to satisfy curiosity. How was it?
We go outside – sunny day in Pripyat…
-Here is pink square on the map; do you know what is it? – I ask Sasha.
-Kindergarten, - jauntily tells Planca.
-Noo…Kindergartenisnear…Andhere, Idon’tknowwhatit is. Well, we have to look and mark on the map, let’s go…
50 meters before the pink square I see one-storey building with painting – “sickle and hammer” at one of the window glass. HowcouldIforget! This is new shop! I saw it only once or twice.
-And I almost didn’t visit this district. I had nothing to do here, - grandly says Planca.
-Aha, that time your legs were too small to come here.
-And it seems it was at the end of the world, - also jokes Sasha.
Inside everything is left as it was. Looking at soviet cash registers and old milk bottles with wide neck unwillingly begin to remember that time.
-Guys, do you know that there are radiators in that yard prepared to move out, - says Oleg.
-There, he shows the way to barns.
While we go to inner yard through the shop, and there we stop near “the monuments” of past years: tablet “ChNPP working supply department”; milk bottles, bath for ferment and storage of cucumbers, cabbage and potatoes… (Oh…How tasty were these tomatoes in childhood!). We make photos and go on.
Dark corridor, the inner yard of the shop is already seen through the door and suddenly…I hear people’s voices and the roar of the engine.
Aha…Here are marauders…
-Silence! ( I wave to planca and iov) Thieves are going…
I switch my Sony to video…Let’s go…I make one-minute clip about 5 people who entruck the radiators…
How can it be! They act without fear, like at home!
Further events occur as quickly as the old animation film. We divide. I go to bring official representative of the agency and car, Sasha and Oleg – look for the thieves.
Meanwhile marauders go to the neighboring building where already packed and prepared radiators is, and entruck the KAMAZ again. We have already enough video and it is time to know who are they and who let them pillage the town.