Even though Chernobyl destroyed and damaged a large area of the Soviet Union, and the economy was completely shaken, the resolve of the government not to take action or admit its faults was just as astounding as events earlier in the history of the Soviet Union. Though maybe not as horrific as the things that Stalin did during his time at the seat of power, the inability for the Soviet Union to act on its own as a superpower showed many flaws in an ailing system. Anytime I hear about or read about Chernobyl, it feels as if it was a foreshadow of the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union only a few years later because of the response that the nation had to it and the groundwork it laid for freedom within the press, and actual Western aid to the region (as we had discussed in class)
The event happened with almost no forewarning to the world and when it did happen it took days before Gorbachev actually addressed the world to the fact that there had been the first major nuclear accident that would result in a meltdown in the history of the nuclear world. It would take years before the actual full evacuation order of certain areas near the reactor would be given, showing the dying nature of the Soviet government and its old mindset that they would be able to cover up any environmental damages from the world as had been done with any humanitarian crisis leading up to this point, but the snowball effect of a more open press within the Soviet Union prevented that. Tensions between the parts of the Union already stood high and the fact that the government could not pick up its feet and pull together a proper response on its own or in a timely manner proved the very fact that the system was outdated, out-modeled, and no longer functional in the world it current was living in. It’s certainly not to say that had another government been in power or this even happened in a different nation that the response would have produced better results, rather, this event is one of the highlighting moments of the central governments downfall of power during the late 1980s before the sudden collapse of the entire Soviet system in the 90s. The fall of the USSR though seeded with years of issues and problems that brought about its downfall would physically occurr in a similar manner as Chernobyl, extremely fast and extremely devastating for those who held it close to the mindset they lived in.
Sources/image links: http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1985chernobyl&Year=1985
31 Responses to The Chernobyl Affair
It’s unfortunate that so many people and the environment suffered from the incoherent nature of the Soviet Union after Chernobyl. But it’s amazing that such a tragic event was able to expose the flaws of the dying Soviet government. Good post!
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