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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chernobyl Update

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Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

I'm sure you remember the uproar a few years back when a Russian girl claimed to ride her motorcycle through the contaminated countryside around Chernobyl.

Anyway, she was accused of perpetrating a hoax by numerous people, so I thought that was the end of the story.

However, her web site has been updated with more recent photographs, and more recent writings, which I figured would pique your interest.

In the updates, she has added a lot of new material, including references to Russian and German war casualties, plus stories from the Gulag.

Here is the URL for her web site:

At that web site, you'll find links to other web sites, and I think you'll want to check each of them out, as all of them are interesting.

Here is a caveat from an indignant Ukranian who claims that whole story is nothing but a sham:


Chornobyl "Ghost Town" story is a fabrication
e-POSHTA subscriber Mary Mycio writes:

I am based in Kyiv and writing a book about Chornobyl for the Joseph Henry Press.

Several sources have sent me links to the "Ghost Town" photo essay included in the last e-POSHTA mailing.

Though it was full of factual errors, I did find the notion of lone young woman riding her motorcycle through the evacuated Zone of Alienation to be intriguing and asked about it when I visited there two days ago.

I am sorry to report that much of Elena's story is not true.

She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle.

Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration.

She made one trip there with her husband and a friend.

They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.

She did, however, bring a motorcycle helmet.

They organized their trip through a Kyiv travel agency and the administration of the Chornobyl zone (and not her father).

They were given the same standard excursion that most Chernobyl tourists receive.

When the Web site appeared, Zone Administration personnel were in an uproar over who approved a motorcycle trip in the zone.

When it turned out that the motorcycle story was an invention, they were even less pleased about this fantasy Web site.

Because of those problems, Elena and her husband have changed the Web site and the story considerably in the last few days.

Earlier versions of the narrative lied more blatantly about Elena taking lone motorcycle trips in the zone.

That has been changed to merely suggest that she does so, which is still misleading.

I would not normally bother to correct someone's silly Chornobyl fantasy.

Indeed, correcting all the factual errors and falsehoods in "Ghost Town" would consume as much space as the Web site itself.

But the motorcycle story was such an outrageous fiction that I thought the readers of e-Poshta should know.

Mary Mycio, J.D. Legal Program Director
IREX U-Media
Shota Rustaveli St. 38b, No. 16
Kyiv 01023, Ukraine
Tel: (380-44) 220-6374, 228-6147

Fax: 227-7543
Lance Kim US Support Program Fellow
Department of Safeguards (SGTS/TNS)
International Atomic Energy Agency
Room A2182


Hoax or not, it does break my heart to learn she already has a husband.

What wild rides we would have had!

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

"My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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