35 years after Chernobyl nuclear accident Ukraine releases KGB files

Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Ukraine has made public the files of the KGB, the former Soviet secret police, relating to that year. The accident not only dealt a devastating blow to the image and credibility of the Soviet Communist Party, but also contributed in part to the fall of the Communist Party and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Spreading lies to hide the truth and creating conspiracy theories to absolve responsibility

April 26 marks the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine. Ukraine’s National Security Service (NSS) released a batch of files on the Chernobyl nuclear accident from the KGB, the former Soviet secret police. The information includes the first report of the head of the nuclear power plant after the accident, conversations of front-line operators, messages from KGB informants, evacuation plans for tens of thousands of residents around the plant and more. A statement issued simultaneously by Ukraine’s National Security Service said that people should know the truth about the incident and the world should know the consequences of the nuclear accident.

Ukraine has declassified all the KGB files left there several years ago. But the just-released files still show how the Soviet authorities ignored nuclear power and the safety of people’s lives back then, and how, similar to many of the practices of today’s Putin administration, they lied and covered up the truth when the incident occurred.

Immediately after the explosion of Unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986, the Soviet authorities tried to create conspiracy theories and tried to find a scapegoat to absolve themselves of responsibility. To this end, the KGB prepared a blacklist of unreliable residents of the area around Chernobyl the day after the accident, on the 27th, as well as a list of people with communication links with foreign countries and foreign delegations that wanted to visit Chernobyl.

The KGB was paying special attention to the activities of Ukrainian nationalist forces at that time. One of the reports said that Ukrainian nationalists tried to obtain soil contaminated by nuclear radiation in the Chernobyl region through their network in the capital Kiev in order to smear the Soviet leadership on the international stage.

KGB special operations deceive journalists Soviet Communist Party ignores nuclear power and population safety

A French journalist in the Soviet Union tried to take nuclear-contaminated soil and water collected at Chernobyl out of the Soviet Union in October 1987, but the KGB successfully organized a special covert operation to replace it with clean soil and water, using a “switcheroo.

The KGB report also revealed that the Soviet authorities had received numerous warnings of the unreliability and danger of the nuclear power plant before the Chernobyl accident. A study as early as 1983 had warned Soviet Communist authorities that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was the least safe of all Soviet nuclear power plants at the time due to a lack of safety measures. In the event of an accident, the level of nuclear radiation would be 60 times that of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

The KGB report shows that there had been several accidents at Chernobyl before the April 26, 1986 nuclear accident. 1982 saw a nuclear leak at Chernobyl’s Unit 1. In 1984, units 3 and 4 both failed.

The KGB reported that a few months after the accident, on July 8, 1986, the Soviet authorities ordered that all information about the Chernobyl accident be kept secret, including the illness of the population after exposure to nuclear radiation, the scale of relief efforts, the state of nuclear radiation, the composition of the mixture released into the air after the explosion, the cause of the accident, the characteristics of the damage, etc.

The Soviet Communist system is seriously ill and the Communist Party has lost its prestige

A report published by a major Ukrainian media outlet on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident says that the Soviet Communist Party leaders began to cover up the truth after the accident, while releasing false information and lies.

Many analysts say that in order not to spoil the atmosphere of May Day that year, the Soviet Communist authorities did not inform the population of the truth about the accident and the risks of nuclear radiation immediately after the explosion, but instead organized street marches by residents of various Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev and areas near Chernobyl. While hiding the truth from the public, many local communist leaders evacuated their families by plane from Kiev and other places. When the truth gradually came to light, these became important factors driving Ukrainian society’s decision to become independent from the Soviet Union.

Current affairs commentator Nikolsky says the authorities missed the boat by organizing the evacuation of residents around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant only days after the nuclear accident.

Whenever the Soviet Union and today’s Russia refer to the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Nikolsky says, official authorities usually always promote some heroic act during the disaster relief process. But more importantly, the Chernobyl accident also changed the fate of the Soviet state in some ways.

ACT-1, Nikolsky: “What I would like to say in particular is that it was this incident that completely destroyed the prestige of the Communist Party among the population, among society. Because the whole party mechanism, the whole Soviet system, was hiding information. I remember that in the Soviet era, for many years there was generally no public disclosure of various natural disasters.”

Gorbachev, then leader of the Soviet Communist Party, later recalled that the KGB, local Ukrainian bureaucrats and local Communist Party organizations, as well as experts in the field of Soviet nuclear energy and others reported different information to him, and he did not know who to believe.

Some analysts say that the Soviet Communist system was already very sick at the time. It was only after nuclear contamination was detected in the air in Northern Europe and some other European countries, and reported in the European media, that the Soviet leadership realized the extent of the problem.

The effects of nuclear contamination were enormous

In addition to the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the capital city of Kiev and other areas of Ukraine, the areas most affected by the Chernobyl accident were neighboring Belarus and some areas of western Russia.

The Belarusian opposition leader Gihanovskaya, currently in exile in Lithuania, said on the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident that she herself was a Chernobyl girl. Because the incident occurred when she was 3 years old, she lived with her parents in the area of Belarus that suffered nuclear contamination. She said that after the nuclear accident, many parents in Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia panicked and people desperately tried to get their children to safe areas.