Chornobyl – the end of a fairy tale 

Chornobyl - the end of a fairy tale 

Thirty-seven years is quite a long time. Both for human life and memory. The thirty-seven years that have passed since the Chornobyl tragedy is a little more than the entire modern history of Independent Ukraine. But forever - its bitter memory and still - its unhealed wound. When in April 1986 a “peaceful atom” not symbolically, but horribly and realistically broke into our home, no one was able to grasp the true scale of the tragedy. Oksana Logachova for Ukrainsky Interes researches.

Only later will the mournful bells of Chornobyl be called a countdown of the Soviet Empire. At that time - in the former USSR – it was the eighth year of the Afghan war and the second year of “perestroika”, about which the surprisingly young and emphatically democratic General Secretary Gorbachev spoke from the screens of already color, and sometimes black-and-white TV sets. He ruthlessly debunked the upper caste of bureaucrats and promised socialism with a human face.

We learned that we had lived in “stagnation” by that time, and the government’s innovations painted our present in all the colors of the rainbow: an anti-alcohol campaign and a fight against non-labor income, to which people “traditionally” responded with an explosion of bitter folk creativity and scientific and technological developments in the field of “alternative” options for meeting urgent needs.

More serious was the fact that Soviet students began to be drafted into the army without waiting for graduation. People preferred not to think about the reasons for this, as well as about Afghanistan. Because the new general secretary actively negotiated peace with former enemies, and students of pre-conscription age, as a sign of support for the party’s course and under the guidance of their Komsomol leaders, organized rallies at which they burned cardboard mock-ups of nuclear missiles. 

It can be said that it was a time of great hopes for a bright future, which shone down through a huge layer of skepticism.

And suddenly on one day – April 26 – everything changed. In the morning, rumors about the accident at the Chornobyl NPP were spread in Kyiv. Awareness of the disaster scale came later - when it became known about the dead firefighters who were the first to fight the nuclear monster. When people were evacuated from Chornobyl and Pripyat, and thousands of liquidators went there: firefighters, policemen, military, civilian workers and specialists.

The liquidation of the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in terms of the scale of the damage and human suffering is a disaster that, without any exaggeration, took its place right alongside the then  unfinished Afghan war. And later - during the times of real democratic changes in all the revolutions of independent Ukraine - the "liquidators" stood next to the "Afghans"!

And in 1986, when neither exact nor historical science undertook serious predictions, the artist’s rampant creative imagination impressed everyone with both accurate predictions and disappointing conclusions.

One of the most poignant songs about the Chornobyl apocalypse was written by Taras Petrynenko.

Today he is a living legend of Ukrainian music, a recognized author and People's Artist of Ukraine. And 37 years ago, he just returned to his native Kyiv, where he revived the band "Hrono" from oblivion with a renewed composition. The band for which Taras Petrynenko would later write many iconic songs, such as "Kolyskova  1933", "Song about a Song", and the unofficial national anthem -  the song "Ukraine".

And the song "Chornobyl zone", which was included in Taras Petrynenko's album "I am a professional slave" in 1989, still impresses everyone with the sincerity of its words, the power of emotions and the bitter accuracy of predictions.



WE NEED YOUR HELP! 24/7, every day, since 2014 our team based in Kyiv is bringing crucial information to the world about Ukraine. Please support truly independent wartime Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism in #Ukraine.

You are welcome to fund us:

Support Ukraine Front Lines

Share this:


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright ©2014-2024 Ukraine Front Lines


You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, Ukraine Front Lines team


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?