Voices of Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
Stephen M. Tomic

This book contains a lot of strange desinformation that I haven’t seen disputed anywhere. An example:

“Sergei Vasilyevich Sobolev
Deputy head of the executive committee of the Shield of Chernobyl Association

There was a moment when there was the danger of a nuclear explosion, and they had to get the water out from under the reactor, so that a mixture of uranium and graphite wouldn’t get into it — with the water, they would have formed a critical mass. The explosion would have been between three and five megatons. This would have meant that not only Kiev and Minsk, but a large part of Europe would have been uninhabitable. Can you imagine it? A European catastrophe.”

Anyone who knows anything about reactors know that they are NOT capable of causing a nuclear explosion. A nuclear device is something totally different. How would a “deputy head” for security at Chernobyl not know this? What is this nonsense about “water under the reactor”? That uranium, with “graphite and water” could reach a critical mass? How is it possible that even after she won the Nobel prize, noone has put this into question? Was this a real voice then, or something she made up?

“Some 3,600 soldiers worked on the roof of the ruined reactor. They slept on the ground in tents. They were young guys.
These people don’t exist any more, just the documents in our museum, with their names.”
The death count at Chernobyl was 38. So where did these 3600 soldiers come from? She implies they are all dead. A conspiracy then?
There are many similar fallacies in the book.

Sad thing is she may be a very good fiction writer. She should however not claim to be writing the truth, nor a poetic or any other kind of alternative truth. I can’t vouch for her other books.

Like what you read? Give priffe a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.