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The Dragon Whose Name Is Chernobyl

broken gravestone on the ground

This content was developed during the Online History Camp 2020 “Don’t Look Back in Anger! Coping with Painful Pasts”. This youth encounter brought together 18 participants from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The event was an integral part of the project “History Competitions in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine 2”

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The project called The dragon whose name is Chernobyl explores how two people from the same family remember the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath. When the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant happened, one of them was an 8-year-old child and another one was a 34-year-old man.

Project Description

Mikhail Gorbachev once said, ‘The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl […], even more than my launch of Perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union […].’ The accident at the nuclear power station which happened in the north of the Ukrainian SSR also affected areas in neighboring Belarusian SSR. The interactive video offers accounts of Elena Mikhailova who was 8 years old at the time of the Chernobyl disaster as well as the audio recorded accounts of her father Leonid Pipchenkov who was 34 at that time. Memories and the perception of this tragedy by representatives of two different generations can be compared by clicking on the red tags popping up in the middle of the screen while the video is being played. Both Elena Mihailova and Leonid Pipchenkov recall with resentment and disapointment the celebration of the First of May when authorities refrained from notifying people about the disaster. At the same time, they recognize that authorities took good care of those who got affected by the catastrophe. That shows a complex attitude towards the state of two individuals from two different generations. The title of the project “The dragon whose name is Chernobyl” refers to the way Elena Mikhahilova perceived the Chernobyl disaster as a kid.