Chernobyl, Coronavirus, and the Art of the Authoritarian Cover-Up: Who is to Blame, and What is to Be Done?   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Document: "The HBO miniseries 'Chernobyl' and the investigative history 'Midnight in Chernobyl' by Adam Higginbotham both raise two important questions that have carried through the last two hundred years of Russian and Soviet history: Кто виноват? 'Who is to blame?' and Что делать? 'What is to be done?' In the case of the former, the Soviet Union decided to blame the Plant Director of the Chernobyl project, Viktor Brukhanov, and several others in the plant's hierarchy, although not all were deemed fit to stand trial. In the case of the latter, they did their best to cover up the entire disaster until it became too obvious for even them to deny. The Soviets also initially refused any outside inspectors or assistance. Western doctors were not able to come with their advanced equipment and knowledge of dealing with radiation sickness, leading to more deaths than might have otherwise occurred. For the Soviets, it was more important to be seen as strong in the eyes of the world - 'We don't make mistakes,' Khrushchev once bellowed - and to demonstrate clear, unfettered technological progress than it was to step back, look at what caused the accident, and then decide how to move forward. A critical examination, of course, would have unraveled the Soviet state to its core."

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