Pripyat: April 2008 Archives

Ghost City Chronicles Update


I want to provide a quick update about my last post about the documentary film “Pripyat: Ghost City Chronicles.”

In the original post, I mentioned the film contains a few factual errors. I am now posting a retraction to that statement.

I have been fortunate enough to have come into contact with Alexey Yaroshevsky, a reporter at Russia Today TV and author of this documentary. We discussed the main “error” I found and have determined it was due to a misunderstanding on my part. Therefore, I believe the information presented in this film is 100% correct.

If any readers feel I may have misled them in the original post I apologize for the mistake. I also want to offer my personal apology to Mr. Yaroshevsky. He has created an amazing documentary about Pripyat and I do not want anyone to think any less of his work due to an error I made when writing about his film.

Thank you for your understanding.

Pripyat: Ghost City Chronicles

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If you are at all interested in Chernobyl and Pripyat, you have to take some time to watch this fascinating new documentary, "Pripyat: Ghost City Chronicles". I noticed a few factual errors, but overall, this film is excellent. It includes:

  1. Discussions in Pripyat with Alexander Esaulov - the author of the new book I posted about earlier this week.
  2. Some pre-accident film footage from Pripyat I have not previously seen
  3. Footage of marauders stealing radiators out of Pripyat (this footage was originally shot by administrators from
  4. Footage with my friend and former Pripyat resident Alexander (Sasha) Sirota
  5. Footage with another friend and founder of, Vladislav Vivitsky
Note:  This film is approximately 26 minutes in length and has a commercial in the middle.

UPDATE (4/26/2008): It has come to my attention that there are no factual errors in this film - this statement was made due to a misunderstanding on my part.  Please see my update post for more details.

Owner of the Zone bookIf you want to truly test your ability to read and translate Russian text, a fascinating new book is about to go on sale in Ukraine. Titled "Owner of the Zone" (Хозяин Зоны), this long-awaited book was written by Alexander Esaulov, the Deputy Director of the Pripyat Executive Committee of the City Soviet of People's Deputies at the time of the Chernobyl accident. In that position, Mr. Esaulov would have been directly involved in the decision to evacuate Pripyat.

Alexander EsaulovBesides his work as a participant of the liquidation of the consequences from the accident at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station and for the city of Pripyat, Esaulov also worked in the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance from 1976-1985.

Simply put, this should be an amazing book.  I am sure there will be some extremely interesting facts revealed about the city, accident and evacuation.

I'm going to have to learn Russian much quicker so I can read and understand this book. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, it should be available soon at's online store, "Active Zone."

Photo of Alexander Esaulov ©

Pripyat Fact Sheet


Yes, I have finally added some new, non-blog material to the website.  Due to the addition of this new document, the web site's Chernobyl menu option is now operational.

This item is a brief fact sheet about Pripyat. In essence, it is a document providing numerical data about the city, roughly effective at the time of the accident in 1986. Please excuse the rough English, but it is a translation of a Russian-language document.

The original was prepared by Yevgeny Leontyev as he received it from the former Deputy Chairman of the Pripyat City Executive Committee, Alexandr Esaulov. If you are interested in the original Russian version, you can find it at the main website.

Huns & Dr. Beeker - Ghost Town Video


You may have seen this video before, but it seems appropriate to post it as we approach the Chernobyl disaster anniversary. This is a short film produced by a friend of Huns & Dr. Beeker who combined their song "Ghost Town" with video footage from Elena Filatova's website (the lady who posted a photo journal of her "motorcycle trip" through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone).

This song about Pripyat and the Chernobyl disaster is absolutely haunting - I get shivers every time I hear it.

By the way, the rest of the CD "The Middle of Somewhere" is pretty darned good, too. You can purchase it for a very reasonable price from Huns & Dr. Beeker's website.

"The Saved Planet"


TheSavedPlanet.jpgA group of former Pripyat residents in Kyiv have banded together and created an international action titled "The Saved Planet." The purpose of this action is to appeal to everyone around the world to make our planet a better, happier place.

All they ask is on April 26 from 1700 to 1710 GMT* (Greenwich Mean Time) say a prayer to save our planet and mankind. If you are not religious, spend these 10 minutes having good, bright thoughts.

I find it amazing that these people, direct victims of the Chernobyl disaster, can take such a day of sorrow (the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident) and turn part of it into a day of hope. No, they are not ignoring the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster. How could they possibly do that? Instead of letting the horrible memory of that incident rule the day, these victims have chosen to use part of the anniversary for a more positive outlook. These people are truly amazing!

I'm not a religious person, but I cannot help but feel touched by this appeal. Think about what many of these people have been through in the last 22 years.  If they can maintain a positive outlook for part of April 26, then the rest of us can certainly do the same. So mark your calendars and join in this international action on April 26.

I have posted the complete text of "The Saved Planet" appeal, written by my friend Lyubov Sirota, in the Articles section.

* In the US, the time would be from:
  • 1:00 - 1:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
  • 10:00 - 10:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Here are two more videos from CBS News covering the 22nd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster:

Chernobyl's Abandoned City (1:11)

Sealing Chernobyl's Reactor #4 (3:10)