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From Chechnya to Chernobyl | LOGTV LOGTV

From Chechnya to Chernobyl

The tiny, little-known country of Belarus suffered more than any other in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Winds scattered the heaviest radioactive deposits across the country, where, even after a decade, 25% of the land is judged uninhabitable. Thousands of villages and towns were abandoned or evacuated, and their populations resettled to safer areas. Read more below.

CINE Golden Eagle Award

Grand Prix – Int’l Environmental Film Festival Prague, Czech Republic

Coup de Coeur – Int’l Environmental Film Festival, Grenoble, France

The tiny, little-known country of Belarus suffered more than any other in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Winds scattered the heaviest radioactive deposits across the country, where, even after a decade, 25% of the land is judged uninhabitable. Thousands of villages and towns were abandoned or evacuated, and their populations resettled to safer areas.

When I learned that local governments were encouraging people to resettle these irradiated villages, I decided to go there with a camera. I arrived in the village of Besiet, which was evacuated several years after the Chernobyl accident. I was met by a ghost town: most of the houses had been burned down, others still stood, abandoned and looted. Others seemed to expect their owners’ momentary return, with coats still on their hooks and dishes still on the table. Life and activity are eerily confined to the cemetery, where even today people return to bury their dead alongside relatives.

Seven miles down the River Sosh, I find the village of Raduga, or “Rainbow” in English. Raduga is located 80 miles downwind from Chernobyl, in an area which was heavily showered with radioactivity in the hours following the accident. The 700 hundred inhabitants of this village, almost all of them employees of the local state farm, were never evacuated. Years later, the residents were given the option to leave, and many seized the opportunity. Some eventually returned, but the majority made new lives for themselves elsewhere.

Photographed & Edited by:
Slawomir Grunberg & Jason Longo

Translation from Russian:
Elena Dubrovsky

Musical Score by:
Brian Aumueller

Consultant:
Slava Paperno

English Narration:
Jane Greenberg

Produced by:
Slawomir Grunberg

Special Thanks: Slava K. Firsakova • Dmitrij Bulanovich • Neil Kurbanova and all the friends we made during filming in Belarus!

SCREENINGS

• Coup de Coeur – Int’l Environmental Film Festival Grenoble, France, 1999

• The First Int’l Festival of Environmental Films; Teheran, Iran, 1999

• The Int’l Film Festival of Environmental Films; Paris, France, 1998

• Int’l Environmental Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, 1998

• Ekotopfilm Int’l Film Festival Slovak Republic, 1998

SCREENINGS

• Grand Prix – Int’l Environmental Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, 1998

• Golden Eagle Award – Ciné, 1998

• 1st Prize – Ekotopfilm Int’l Film Festival, Slovak Republic, 1998

• Coup de Coeur – Int’l Environmental Film Festival, Grenoble, France, 1999

• Silver Apple Award – National Educational Media Network, 1999

• Planet Cable France, 1999

• RVU Holland, 1998

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