16 A Belorussian Village Before And After The Chernobyl Disaster

A Belorussian Village Before And After The Chernobyl Disaster

Posted on January 13, 2012 by


People living in this Kiselevka Village in the Mahilyow Region, Belarus, are so accustomed to the words 'Chernobyl' and 'radiation' that they stopped paying attention to their meaning. They give birth to children, farm and gather together by the evening fire. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster didn't affect their life style at all.

These photographs were taken before (1980-1982) and after the catastrophe (1990 and 2000) by photographer Alexander Stepanenko whose family, together with other families, still lives in the contaminated area. They say that if they had been told right away about the nuclear accident, they might have moved to another village built for them 30 km away from where they today now but now it is too late.


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16 Responses to “A Belorussian Village Before And After The Chernobyl Disaster”

  1. too much vodka says:

    Are you sure these pictures weren’t taken in 1880 instead of 1986?

  2. Maesrobert says:

    Outstanding – among the best I have seen on ER for the way they capture a sense of time and place. The one of a woman sitting on the cow’s back watching her friend milking is special.

  3. People's Commissar says:

    Which are before and which are after?

  4. lost_in_europe says:

    OMG, how many of them are barefoot!! The poverty was (or IS) something else!

  5. undernaut says:

    Among the best photos i’ve ever seen! As Maesrobert nicely stated, incredible captures.
    I love the one with a pond and the girl in the background.
    People’s Commissar, just a guess, but i’d say the new ones start with the one where that woman is stumping the radioactive sign in the ground. Beside the obvious message of that particular photo (radioactive from here on), this is where beautiful young women simply disappear in the rest of the photos. =)

  6. lortea says:

    I agree. One of bettest photos on ER. Late Soiet Union with its poverty, rooting infrastructure, medieval living conditions. Yet smiled peoples.

  7. (r)evolutionist says:

    Idyllic rural life (with Comrade Lenin patiently watching over things)…

  8. Nico says:

    You are a big Master! It is real life!

  9. K says:

    i miss that time.. it was amazing.

  10. aasdf says:

    Good looking people.

  11. andrew says:

    its not very often that I feel moved by photographs. These are stories. Incredible.

  12. Maciek says:

    I love these photos, and I want to move to Belarussia. Been there few times in transit to Moscow and I love the atmosphere this place has. In my opinnion it may be the last piece of this part of Europe without the craziness of western civilization burden.
    Love you Belarussia!

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