University of California San Diego Bio citizenship Based on Chernobyl Disaster Paper

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Hello, I would like you to follow the steps below as carful as you can and all the work should be in your own words.

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The paper is 4 pages long.

• Size 12 font, double space, 1” margin.

• The paper should include in-text citations and a reference list (this won’t count towards the page limit).

• Citations: preferred course formatting is APA. You can use other citation format.

Prompt for Analysis of “Chernobyl”:

Focus on the Chernobyl disaster to analyze the biopolitical engagements of survivors and victims. focus on a theme or topic that emerges from the three sources that we will review: an ethnography (Petryna), oral history (Alexievich), and the HBO series. (Please not too many quotes like 2 the most)

- I was thinking the topics for the paper can be on one of the three or more: biocitizenship, biopower, biopolitics, biosociality, genetic citizenship, patient advocacy, or stratification.

  • The paper has to be on topics seen in all three sources (Petryna, Chernobyl-HBO series, and Voices from Chernobyl).

-I have also attached the necessary articles and as for the Chernobyl documentary it has the same theme from the Petryna source and voices from Chernobyl (Alexievich).

Please put your best effort into this paper, as it is extremely important. If you have any questions about the prompt please ask me and I'll be happy to explain. Thank you!

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MONOLOGUE ABOUT LIES AND TRUTHS Copyright 2005. Dalkey Archive Press. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law. They’ve written dozens of books. Fat volumes, with commentaries. But the event is still beyond any philosophical description. Someone said to me, or maybe I read it, that the problem of Chernobyl presents itself first of all as a problem of self-understanding. That seemed right. I keep waiting for someone intelligent to explain it to me. The way they enlighten me about Stalin, Lenin, Bolshevism. Or the way they keep hammering away at their “Market! Market! Free market!” But we—we who were raised in a world without Chernobyl, now live with Chernobyl. I’m actually a professional rocketeer, I specialize in rocket fuel. I served at Baikonur [a space launch center]. The programs, Kosmos, Interkosmos, those took up a large part of my life. It was a miraculous time! You give people the sky, the Arctic, the whole thing! You give them space! Every person in the Soviet Union went into space with Yuri Gagarin, they tore away from the earth with him. We all did! I’m still in love with him—he was a wonderful Russian man, with that wonderful smile. Even his death seemed well-rehearsed. It was a miraculous time! For family reasons I moved to Belarus, finished my career here. When I came, I immersed myself into this Chernobylized space, it was a corrective to my sense of things. It was impossible to imagine anything like it, even though I’d always dealt with the most advanced technologies, with outer space technologies. It’s hard even to explain—it doesn’t fit into the imagination—it’s—[He thinks.] You know, a second ago I thought I’d caught it, a second ago—it makes you want to philosophize. No matter who you talk to about Chernobyl, they all want to philosophize. But I’d rather tell you about my own work. What don’t we do! We’re building a church—a Chernobyl church, in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God, we’re dedicating it to “Punishment.” We collect donations, visit the sick and dying. We write chronicles. We’re creating a museum. I used to think that I, with my heart in the condition it’s in, wouldn’t be able to work at such a job. My first instructions were: “Here is money, divide it between thirty-five families, that is, between thirty-five widows.” All the men had been liquidators. So you need to be fair. But how? One widow has a little girl who’s sick, another widow has two children, and a third is sick herself, and she’s renting her apartment, and yet another has four children. At night I’d wake up thinking, “How do I not cheat anyone?” I thought and calculated, calculated and thought. And I couldn’t do it. We ended up just giving out the money equally, according to the list. But my real child is the museum: the Chernobyl Museum. [He is silent.] Sometimes I think that we’ll have a funeral parlor here, not a museum. I serve on the funeral committee. This morning I haven’t even taken off my coat when a woman comes in, she’s crying, not even crying but yelling: “Take his medals and his certificates! Take all the benefits! Give me my husband!” She yelled a long time. And left his medals, his certificates. Well, they’ll be in the museum, on display. People can look at them. But her cry, no one heard her cry but me, and when I put these certificates on display I’ll remember it. Colonel Yaroshuk is dying now. He’s a chemist-dosimetrist. He was healthy as a bull, now he’s lying paralyzed. His wife turns him over like a pillow. She feeds him from a spoon. He has stones in his kidneys, they need to be shattered, but we don’t have the money to pay for that kind of operation. We’re paupers, we survive on what people give us. And the government behaves like a money lender, it’s forgotten these people. When he dies, they’ll name a street after him, or a school, or a military unit, but that’s only after he dies. Colonel Yaroshuk. He walked through the Zone and marked the points of maximum radiation—they exploited him in the fullest sense of the term, like he was a robot. And he understood this, but he went, he EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO AN: 2045574 ; Svetlana Alexievich.; Voices From Chernobyl Account: s8944803.main.ehost 84 walked from the reactor itself and then out through all the sectors around the radius of radioactivity. On foot. With a dosimeter in his hand. He’d feel a “spot” and then walk around its borders, so he could put it on his map accurately. And what about the soldiers who worked on the roof of the reactor? Two hundred and ten military units were thrown at the liquidation of the fallout of the catastrophe, which equals about 340,000 military personnel. The ones cleaning the roof got it the worst. They had lead vests, but the radiation was coming from below, and they weren’t protected there. They were wearing ordinary cheap imitation-leather boots. They spent about a minute and a half, two minutes on the roof each day, and then they were discharged, given a certificate and an award—one hundred rubles. And then they disappeared to the vast peripheries of our motherland. On the roof they gathered fuel and graphite from the reactor, shards of concrete and metal. It took about twenty to thirty seconds to fill a wheelbarrow, and then another thirty seconds to throw the “garbage” off the roof. These special wheelbarrows weighed forty kilos just by themselves. So you can picture it: a lead vest, masks, the wheelbarrows, and insane speed. In the museum in Kiev they have a mold of graphite the size of a soldier’s cap, they say that if it were real, it would weigh 16 kilos, that’s how dense and heavy graphite is. The radio-controlled machines they used often failed to carry out commands or did the opposite of what they were supposed to do, because their electronics were disrupted by the high radiation. The most reliable “robots” were the soldiers. They were christened the “green robots” (by the color of their uniforms). Three thousand six hundred soldiers worked on the roof of the ruined reactor. They slept on the ground, they all tell of how in the beginning they were throwing straw on the ground in the tents—and the straw was coming from stacks near the reactor. They were young guys. They’re dying now too, but they understand that if it wasn’t for them . . . These are people who came from a certain culture, the culture of the great achievement. They were a sacrifice. There was a moment when there existed the danger of a nuclear explosion, and they had to get the water out from under the reactor, so that a mixture of uranium and graphite wouldn’t get into it—with the water they would have formed a critical mass. The explosion would have been between three and five megatons. This would have meant that not only Kiev and Minsk, but a large part of Europe would have been uninhabitable. Can you imagine it? A European catastrophe. So here was the task: who would dive in there and open the bolt on the safety valve? They promised them a car, an apartment, a dacha, aid for their families until the end of time. They searched for volunteers. And they found them! The boys dove, many times, and they opened that bolt, and the unit was given 7000 rubles. They forgot about the cars and apartments they promised—but that’s not why they dove! Not for the material, least of all for the material promises. [Becomes upset.] Those people don’t exist anymore, just the documents in our museum, with their names. But what if they hadn’t done it? In terms of our readiness for self-sacrifice, we have no equals. I met this one man, he was saying that this is because we place a low value on human life. That it’s an Asiatic fatalism. A person who sacrifices himself doesn’t feel himself to be a unique individual. He experiences a longing for his role in life. Earlier he was a person without a text, a statistic. He had no theme, he served as the background. And now suddenly he’s the main protagonist. It’s a longing for meaning. What does our propaganda consist of? Our ideology? You’re offered a chance to die so that you can gain meaning, and be raised up. They’ll give you a role! That’s the high value of death, because death is eternal. This is what he proved to me, this fellow I was arguing with. But I reject this! Categorically! Yes, we are raised to be soldiers. That’s how we were taught. We’re always being mobilized, always ready to do the impossible. When I finished school and wanted to go to a civilian university, my father was shocked: “I’m a career military officer, and you’re going to go around in EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 85 a suit jacket? The motherland needs to be protected!” He wouldn’t talk to me for several months, until I put in an application to a military college. My father fought in the war; he’s dead now. But he basically had no material belongings, just like the rest of his generation. He left nothing after him: no house, car, land. And what do I have of his? A field officer’s bag, he got it before the Finnish campaign, his battlefield medals are in it. Also I have a bag filled with 300 letters he wrote from the front, starting in 1941, my mother saved them. That’s all that’s left after my father. But I consider these articles invaluable. Now do you understand how I see our museum? In that urn there is some land from Chernobyl. A handful. And there’s a miner’s helmet. Also from there. Some farmer’s equipment from the Zone. We can’t let the dosimeters in here—we’re glowing! But everything here needs to be real. No plaster casts. People need to believe us. And they’ll only believe the real thing, because there are too many lies around Chernobyl. There were and there are still. They’ve even grown funds and commercial structures . . . Since you’re writing this book, you need to have a look at some unique video footage. We’re gathering it little by little. It’s not a chronicle of Chernobyl, no, they wouldn’t let anyone film that, it was forbidden. If anyone did manage to record any of it, the authorities immediately took the film and returned it ruined. We don’t have a chronicle of how they evacuated people, how they moved out the livestock. They didn’t allow anyone to film the tragedy, only the heroics. There are some Chernobyl photo albums now, but how many video and photo cameras were broken! People were dragged through the bureaucracy. It required a lot of courage to tell the truth about Chernobyl. It still does. Believe me! But you need to see this footage: the blackened faces of the firemen, like graphite. And their eyes? These are the eyes of people who already know that they’re leaving us. There’s one fragment showing the legs of a woman who the morning after the catastrophe went to work on her plot of land next to the atomic station. She’s walking on grass covered with dew. Her legs remind you of a grate, everything’s filled with holes up to the knees. You need to see this if you’re writing this book. I come home and I can’t take my little boy in my arms. I need to drink 50 or 100 grams of vodka before I can pick him up. There’s an entire section of the museum devoted to the helicopter pilots. There’s Colonel Vodolazhsky, a Hero of Russia, buried on Belarussian ground in the village of Zhukov Lug. After he received more than the allowable dose of radiation, he was supposed to leave right away, but he stayed and trained thirty-three more helicopter crews. He himself performed 120 flights, releasing 230 tons of cargo. He made an average of between four and five flights per day, flying at 300 meters above the reactor, with the temperature in his cabin up to 60 degrees Celsius. Imagine what was happening below as the bags of sand were being dropped from above. The activity reached 1800 roentgen per hour; pilots began to feel it while still in the air. In order to hit the target, which was a fiery crater, they stuck their heads out of their cabins and measured it with the naked eye. There was no other way. At the meetings of government commissions, every day it was very simply said: “We’ll need to put down two to three lives for this. And for this, one life.” Simply, and every day. Colonel Vodolazhsky died. On the card indicating the amount of radiation he received above the reactor, the doctors put down 7 becs. In fact it was 600! And the four hundred miners who worked round the clock to blast a tunnel under the reactor? They needed a tunnel into which to pour liquid nitrogen and freeze the earthen pillow, as the engineers call it. Otherwise the reactor would have gone into the groundwater. So there were miners from Moscow, Kiev, Dniepropetrovsk. I didn’t read about them anywhere. But they were down there naked, with temperatures reaching fifty degrees Celsius, rolling little cars before them while crouching down on all fours. There EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 86 were hundreds of roentgen. Now they’re dying. But if they hadn’t done this? I consider them heroes, not victims, of a war, which supposedly never happened. They call it an accident, a catastrophe. But it was a war. The Chernobyl monuments look like war monuments. There are things that aren’t discussed by us, this is our Slavic modesty coming through. But you should know, since you’re writing this book. Those who worked on the reactor or near it, their—they—it’s a common symptom for rocketeers also, this is well-known—their urino-genital system ceases to function. But no one talks of this out loud. It’s not accepted. I once accompanied an English journalist, he had put together some very interesting questions. Specifically on this theme—he was interested in the human aspect of the story—how it is for people at home, in their family life, in their intimate life. But he wasn’t able to have a single honest conversation. He asked me to get together some helicopter pilots, to talk with them in the company of men. They came, some of them were already retired at the age of thirty-five, forty, one of them came with a broken leg, his bones had softened because of the radiation. But the other guys brought him. The Englishman asks them questions: how is it now with your families, with your young wives? The helicopter pilots are silent, they came to tell about their five flights a day, and he’s asking about their wives? About that? So he starts asking them one by one, and they all answer the same: we’re healthy, the government values us, and in our families all is love. Not one, not a single one of them opened up to him. They left, and I feel that he’s just crushed. “Now you understand,” he says to me, “why no one believes you? You lie to yourselves.” The meeting had taken place in a café, and we were being served by two pretty waitresses, and he says to them: “Could you answer a few questions for me?” And they explain everything. He says, “Do you want to get married?” “Yes, but not here. We all dream of marrying a foreigner, so we can have healthy kids.” And he gets braver: “Well, and do you have partners? How are they? Do they satisfy you? You understand, right, what I mean?” “You saw those guys,” the waitresses say, laughing, “the helicopter pilots? Six feet tall. With their shiny medals. They’re nice for meetings of the presidium, but not for bed.” The Englishman photographed the waitresses and to me he repeated the same thing: “Now you understand why no one believes you? You lie to yourselves.” He and I went to the Zone. It’s a well-known statistic that there are 800 waste burial sites around Chernobyl. He was expecting some fantastically engineered structures, but these were ordinary ditches. They’re filled with “orange forest,” which was cut down in an area of 150 hectares around the reactors. [In the days after the accident, the pines and evergreens around the reactor turned red, then orange.] They’re filled with thousands of tons of metal and steel, small pipes, special clothing, concrete constructions. He showed me a photo from an English magazine that had a panoramic view from above. You could see thousands of individual pieces of automotive and aviation machinery, fire trucks and ambulances. The biggest graveyard is next to the reactor. He wanted to photograph it, even now, ten years later. They’d promised him more money if he got a photograph of it. So we’re going around and around, from one boss to the next, one doesn’t have a map, the other doesn’t have permission. We ran and ran, until suddenly I realized: that graveyard no longer exists. It’s just there in their account books, but it was taken apart long ago and carried off to the market, for spare parts for the kolkhoz and people’s homes. Everything’s been stolen and moved out. The Englishman couldn’t understand this. I told him the whole truth and he didn’t believe me. And even I, even when I read the bravest article, I don’t believe it, I sometimes think to myself: “What if that’s also a lie?” It’s become a cliché to mark the tragedy. A way of greeting! A scarecrow! [He is in despair, then is silent.] I drag everything to the museum. I bring it in. Sometimes I think, “Forget it! Run away!” I mean, how am I supposed to take this? I had a conversation once with a young priest. We were standing at the grave of Sergeant-Major Sasha EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 87 Goncharov. He’d worked on the roof of the reactor. It’s snowing and the wind is blowing. Terrible weather. The minister is reading the mourning prayer without a hat on his head. “It’s like you didn’t feel the weather,” I said to him afterward. “It’s true,” he said. “In moments like that I feel all-powerful. No church rite gives me so much energy as the mourning prayer.” I remember that—the words of a man who was always near death. I’ve often asked foreign journalists, some of whom have been here many times, why they come, why they ask to get into the Zone? It would be silly to think it was just for money or for their careers. “We like it here,” they say, “we get a real burst of life-energy here.” It’s an unexpected answer, no? For them, I think, the sort of person we have here, his feelings, his world, are something undiscovered and hypnotic. But I didn’t ask them to clarify whether they like us ourselves, or what they can write about us, what they can understand through us. Why do we keep hovering around death? Chernobyl—we won’t have another world now. At first, it tore the ground from under our feet, and it flung pain at us for real, but now we realize that there won’t be another world, and there’s nowhere to turn to. The sense of having settled, tragically, on this land—it’s a completely different worldview. People returning from the war were called a “lost” generation. We’re also lost. The only thing that hasn’t changed is human suffering. It’s our only capital. It’s invaluable! I come home after everything—my wife listens to me—and then she says quietly: “I love you, but I won’t let you have my son. I won’t let anyone have him. Not Chernobyl, not Chechnya. Not anyone!” The fear has already settled into her. Sergei Vasilyevich Sobolev, Deputy Head of the Executive Committee of the Shield of Chernobyl Association EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 88 PEOPLE’S CHORUS Klavdia Grigorievna Barsuk, wife of a liquidator; Tamara Vasilyevna Belookaya, doctor; Yekaterina Fedorovna Bobrova, transferred resident from the town of Pripyat; Andrei Burtys, journalist; Ivan Naumovich Vergeychik, pediatrician; Yelena Ilyinichna Voronko, resident of the settlement of Bragin; Svetlana Govor, wife of a liquidator; Natalya Maksimovna Goncharenko, transferred resident; Tamara Ilyinichna Dubikovskaya, resident of the settlement of Narovlya; Albert Nikolaevich Zaritskiy, doctor; Aleksandra Ivanovna Kravtsova, doctor; Eleonora Ivanovna Ladutenko, radiologist; Irina Yurevna Lukashevich, midwife; Antonina Maksimovna Larivonchik, transferred resident; Anatoly Ivanovich Polischuk, hydro-meteorologist; Maria Yakovlevna Saveleyeva, mother; Nina Khantsevich, wife of a liquidator. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a happy pregnant woman. A happy mother. One gave birth recently, as soon as she got herself together she called, “Doctor, show me the baby! Bring him here.” She touches the head, forehead, the little body, the legs, the arms. She wants to make sure: “Doctor, did I give birth to a normal baby? Is everything all right?” They bring him in for feeding. She’s afraid: “I live not far from Chernobyl. I went there to visit my mother. I got caught under that black rain.” She tells us her dreams: that she’s given birth to a calf with eight legs, or a puppy with the head of a hedgehog. Such strange dreams. Women didn’t used to have such dreams. Or I never heard them. And I’ve been a midwife for thirty years. I’m a schoolteacher, I teach Russian. This happened, I think, in early June, during exams. The director of the school suddenly gathers us all together and announces, “Tomorrow, everyone bring your shovels with you.” It turns out we’re supposed to take off the top, contaminated layer of soil from around the school, and later soldiers will come and pave it. The teachers have questions: “What sort of protective gear will they provide us? Will they bring special outfits, respirators?” The answer is no. “Take your shovels and dig.” Only two young teachers refused, the rest went out and shoveled. A feeling of oppression but also of carrying out a necessary task—that lives within us, the need to be where it’s difficult and dangerous, to defend the motherland. Did I teach my students anything but that? To go, throw yourself on the fire, defend, sacrifice. The literature I taught wasn’t about life, it was about war: Sholokhov, Serafimovich, Furmanov, Fadeev, Boris Polevoy. Only two young teachers refused. But they’re from the new generation. These are already different people. We were out there digging from morning to night. When we came home, it was strange to find that the stores were open, women were buying panty hose and perfume. We already felt like it was wartime. It made a lot more sense when there suddenly appeared lines for bread, salt, matches. Everyone rushed to dry their bread into crackers. This seemed familiar to me, even though I was born after the war. I could imagine how I’d leave my house, how the kids and I would leave, which things we’d take with us, how I’d write my mother. Although all around life was going on as before, the television was showing comedies. But we always lived in terror, we know how to live in terror, it’s our natural habitat. In this our people have no peers. EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 3:08 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 89 PROLOGUE A SOLITARY HUMAN VOICE We are air, we are not earth . . . Copyright 2005. Dalkey Archive Press. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law. —M. Mamardashvili I don’t know what I should talk about—about death or about love? Or are they the same? Which one should I talk about? We were newlyweds. We still walked around holding hands, even if we were just going to the store. I would say to him, “I love you.” But I didn’t know then how much. I had no idea . . . We lived in the dormitory of the fire station where he worked. On the second floor. There were three other young couples, we all shared a kitchen. On the first floor they kept the trucks. The red fire trucks. That was his job. I always knew what was happening—where he was, how he was. One night I heard a noise. I looked out the window. He saw me. “Close the window and go back to sleep. There’s a fire at the reactor. I’ll be back soon.” I didn’t see the explosion itself. Just the flames. Everything was radiant. The whole sky. A tall flame. And smoke. The heat was awful. And he’s still not back. The smoke was from the burning bitumen, which had covered the roof. He said later it was like walking on tar. They tried to beat down the flames. They kicked at the burning graphite with their feet. . . . They weren’t wearing their canvas gear. They went off just as they were, in their shirt sleeves. No one told them. They had been called for a fire, that was it. Four o’clock. Five. Six. At six we were supposed to go to his parents’ house. To plant potatoes. It’s forty kilometers from Pripyat to Sperizhye, where his parents live. Sowing, plowing—he loved to do that. His mother always told me how they didn’t want him to move to the city, they’d even built a new house for him. He was drafted into the army. He served in the fire brigade in Moscow and when he came out, he wanted to be a fireman. And nothing else! [Silence.] Sometimes it’s as though I hear his voice. Alive. Even photographs don’t have the same effect on me as that voice. But he never calls to me . . . not even in my dreams. I’m the one who calls to him. Seven o’clock. At seven I was told he was in the hospital. I ran there, but the police had already encircled it, and they weren’t letting anyone through. Only ambulances. The policemen shouted: the ambulances are radioactive, stay away! I wasn’t the only one there, all the wives whose husbands were at the reactor that night had come. I started looking for a friend, she was a doctor at that hospital. I grabbed her white coat when she came out of an ambulance. “Get me inside!” “I can’t. He’s bad. They all are.” I held on to her. “Just to see him!” “All right,” she said. “Come with me. Just for fifteen or twenty minutes.” I saw him. He was all swollen and puffed up. You could barely see his eyes. “He needs milk. Lots of milk,” my friend said. “They should drink at least three liters each.” “But he doesn’t like milk.” “He’ll drink it now.” Many of the doctors and nurses in that hospital, and especially the orderlies, would get sick themselves and die. But we didn’t know that then. At ten in the morning, the cameraman Shishenok died. He was the first. On the first day. We learned that another one was left under the debris—Valera Khodemchuk. They never did reach him. They buried EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO AN: 2045574 ; Svetlana Alexievich.; Voices From Chernobyl Account: s8944803.main.ehost 12 him under the concrete. And we didn’t know then that they were just the first ones. I said, “Vasya, what should I do?” “Get out of here! Go! You have our child.” But how can I leave him? He’s telling me: “Go! Leave! Save the baby.” “First I need to bring you some milk, then we’ll decide what to do.” My friend Tanya Kibenok comes running in—her husband’s in the same room. Her father’s with her, he has a car. We get in and drive to the nearest village for some milk. It’s about three kilometers from the town. We buy a bunch of three-liter bottles, six, so it’s enough for everyone. But they started throwing up from the milk. They kept passing out, they got put on IVs. The doctors kept telling them they’d been poisoned by gas. No one said anything about radiation. And the town was inundated right away with military vehicles, they closed off all the roads. The trolleys stopped running, and the trains. They were washing the streets with some white powder. I worried about how I’d get to the village the next day to buy some more fresh milk. No one talked about the radiation. Only the military people wore surgical masks. The people in town were carrying bread from the stores, just open sacks with the loaves in them. People were eating cupcakes on plates. I couldn’t get into the hospital that evening. There was a sea of people. I stood under his window, he came over and yelled something to me. It was so desperate! Someone in the crowd heard him—they were being taken to Moscow that night. All the wives got together in one group. We decided we’d go with them. Let us go with our husbands! You have no right! We punched and clawed. The soldiers—there were already soldiers—they pushed us back. Then the doctor came out and said, yes, they were flying to Moscow, but we needed to bring them their clothes. The clothes they’d worn at the station had been burned. The buses had stopped running already and we ran across the city. We came running back with their bags, but the plane was already gone. They tricked us. So that we wouldn’t be there yelling and crying. It’s night. On one side of the street there are buses, hundreds of buses, they’re already preparing the town for evacuation, and on the other side, hundreds of fire trucks. They came from all over. And the whole street covered in white foam. We’re walking on it, just cursing and crying. Over the radio they tell us they might evacuate the city for three to five days, take your warm clothes with you, you’ll be living in the forest. In tents. People were even glad—a camping trip! We’ll celebrate May Day like that, a break from routine. People got barbeques ready. They took their guitars with them, their radios. Only the women whose husbands had been at the reactor were crying. I can’t remember the trip out to my parents’ village. It was like I woke up when I saw my mother. “Mama. Vasya’s in Moscow. They flew him out on a special plane!” But we finished planting the garden. [ A week later the village was evacuated.] Who knew? Who knew that then? Later in the day I started throwing up. I was six months pregnant. I felt awful. That night I dreamed he was calling out to me in his sleep: “Lyusya! Lyusenka!” But after he died, he didn’t call out in my dreams anymore. Not once. [She starts crying.] I got up in the morning thinking I have to get to Moscow. By myself. My mother’s crying: “Where are you going, the way you are?” So I took my father with me. He went to the bank and took out all the money they had. I can’t remember the trip. The trip just isn’t in my memory. In Moscow we asked the first police officer we saw, Where did they put the Chernobyl firemen, and he told us. We were surprised, too, everyone was scaring us that it was top secret. “Hospital number 6. At the Shchukinskaya stop.” It was a special hospital, for radiology, and you couldn’t get in without a pass. I gave some money to the woman at the door, and she said, “Go ahead.” Then I had to ask someone else, beg. Finally I’m sitting EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 13 in the office of the head radiologist, Angelina Vasilyevna Guskova. But I didn’t know that yet, what her name was, I didn’t remember anything. I just knew I had to see him. Right away she asked: “Do you have kids?” What should I tell her? I can see already I need to hide that I’m pregnant. They won’t let me see him! It’s good I’m thin, you can’t really tell anything. “Yes,” I say. “How many?” I’m thinking, “I need to tell her two. If it’s just one, she won’t let me in.” “A boy and a girl.” “So you don’t need to have anymore. All right, listen: his central nervous system is completely compromised, his skull is completely compromised.” Okay, I’m thinking, so he’ll be a little fidgety. “And listen: if you start crying, I’ll kick you out right away. No hugging or kissing. Don’t even get near him. You have half an hour.” But I knew already that I wasn’t leaving. If I leave, then it’ll be with him. I swore to myself! I come in, they’re sitting on the bed, playing cards and laughing. “Vasya!” they call out. He turns around: “Oh, well, now it’s over! Even here she found me!” He looks so funny, he’s got pajamas on for a size 48, and he’s a size 52. The sleeves are too short, the pants are too short. But his face isn’t swollen anymore. They were given some sort of fluid. I say, “Where’d you run off to?” He wants to hug me. The doctor won’t let him. “Sit, sit,” she says. “No hugging in here.” We turned it into a joke somehow. And then everyone comes over, from the other rooms too, everyone from Pripyat. There were twenty-eight of them on the plane. What’s going on? How are things in town? I tell them they’ve begun evacuating everyone, the whole town is being cleared out for three or five days. None of the guys says anything, and then one of the women, there were two women, she was on duty at the factory the day of the accident, she starts crying. “Oh God! My kids are there. What’s happening with them?” I wanted to be with him alone, if only for a minute. The guys felt it, and each of them thought of some excuse, and they all went out into the hall. Then I hugged and kissed him. He moved away. “Don’t sit near me. Get a chair.” “That’s just silly,” I said, waving it away. “Did you see the explosion? Did you see what happened? You were the first ones there.” “It was probably sabotage. Someone set it up. All the guys think so.” That’s what people were saying then. That’s what they thought. The next day, they were lying by themselves, each in his own room. They were banned from going in the hallway, from talking to each other. They knocked on the walls with their knuckles. Dash-dot, dash-dot. The doctors explained that everyone’s body reacts differently to radiation, and one person can handle what another can’t. They even measured the radiation of the walls where they had them. To the EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 14 right, left, and the floor beneath. They moved out all the sick people from the floor below and the floor above. There was no one left in the place. For three days I lived with my friends in Moscow. They kept saying: Take the pot, take the plate, take whatever you need. I made turkey soup for six. For six of our boys. Firemen. From the same shift. They were all on duty that night: Bashuk, Kibenok, Titenok, Pravik, Tischura. I went to the store and bought them toothpaste and toothbrushes and soap. They didn’t have any of that at the hospital. I bought them little towels. Looking back, I’m surprised by my friends: they were afraid, of course, how could they not be, there were rumors already, but still they kept saying: Take whatever you need, take it! How is he? How are they all? Will they live? Live. [She is silent.] I met a lot of good people then, I don’t remember all of them. I remember an old woman janitor, who taught me: “There are sicknesses that can’t be cured. You just have to sit and watch them.” Early in the morning I go to the market, then to my friends’ place, where I make the soup. I have to grate everything and grind it. Someone said, “Bring me some apple juice.” So I come with six half-liter cans, always for six! I race to the hospital, then I sit there until evening. In the evening, I go back across the city. How much longer could I have kept that up? After three days they told me I could stay in the dorm for medical workers, it’s on hospital grounds. God, how wonderful! “But there’s no kitchen. How am I going to cook?” “You don’t need to cook anymore. They can’t digest the food.” He started to change—every day I met a brand-new person. The burns started to come to the surface. In his mouth, on his tongue, his cheeks—at first there were little lesions, and then they grew. It came off in layers—as white film . . . the color of his face . . . his body . . . blue . . . red . . . gray-brown. And it’s all so very mine! It’s impossible to describe! It’s impossible to write down! And even to get over. The only thing that saved me was it happened so fast; there wasn’t any time to think, there wasn’t any time to cry. I loved him! I had no idea how much! We’d just gotten married. We’re walking down the street—he’d grab my hands and whirl me around. And kiss me, kiss me. People are walking by and smiling. It was a hospital for people with serious radiation poisoning. Fourteen days. In fourteen days a person dies. On the very first day in the dormitory they measured me with a dosimeter. My clothes, bag, purse, shoes—they were all “hot.” And they took that all away from me right there. Even my underthings. The only thing they left was my money. In exchange they gave me a hospital robe—a size 56—and some size 43 slippers. They said they’d return the clothes, maybe, or maybe they wouldn’t, since they might not be possible to “launder” at this point. That is how I looked when I came to visit him. I frightened him. “Woman, what’s wrong with you?” But I was still able to make him some soup. I boiled the water in a glass jar, and then I threw pieces of chicken in there—tiny, tiny pieces. Then someone gave me her pot, I think it was the cleaning woman or the guard. Someone else gave me a cutting board, for chopping my parsley. I couldn’t go to the market in my hospital robe, people would bring me the vegetables. But it was all useless, he couldn’t even drink anything. He couldn’t even swallow a raw egg. But I wanted to get something tasty! As if it mattered. I ran to the post office. “Girls,” I told them, “I need to call my parents in Ivano-Frankovsk right away! My husband is dying.” They understood right away where I was from and who my husband was, and they connected me. My father, sister, and brother flew out that very day to Moscow. They brought me my things. And money. It was the ninth of May. He always used to say to me: “You have no idea how beautiful Moscow is! Especially on V-Day, when they set off the fireworks. I want you to see it.” I’m sitting with him in the room, he opens his eyes. “Is it day or night?” EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 15 “It’s nine at night.” “Open the window! They’re going to set off the fireworks!” I opened the window. We’re on the eighth floor, and the whole city’s there before us! There was a bouquet of fire exploding in the air. “Look at that!” I said. “I told you I’d show you Moscow. And I told you I’d always give you flowers on holidays . . .” I look over, and he’s getting three carnations from under his pillow. He gave the nurse money, and she bought them. I run over to him and I kiss him. “My love! My one and only!” He starts growling. “What did the doctors tell you? No hugging me. And no kissing!” They wouldn’t let me hug him. But I . . . I lifted him and sat him up. I made his bed. I placed the thermometer. I picked up and brought back the sanitation dish. I stayed up with him all night. It’s a good thing that it was in the hallway, not the room, that my head started spinning, I grabbed onto the windowsill. A doctor was walking by, he took me by the arm. And then suddenly: “Are you pregnant?” “No, no!” I was so scared someone would hear us. “Don’t lie,” he sighed. The next day I get called to the head doctor’s office. “Why did you lie to me?” she says. “There was no other way. If I’d told you, you’d send me home. It was a sacred lie!” “What have you done?” “But I was with him . . .” I’ll be grateful to Angelina Vasilyevna Guskova my whole life. My whole life! Other wives also came, but they weren’t allowed in. Their mothers were with me. Volodya Pravik’s mother kept begging God: “Take me instead.” An American professor, Dr. Gale—he’s the one who did the bone marrow operation—tried to comfort me. There’s a tiny ray of hope, he said, not much, but a little. Such a powerful organism, such a strong guy! They called for all his relatives. Two of his sisters came from Belarus, his brother from Leningrad, he was in the army there. The younger one, Natasha, she was fourteen, she was very scared and cried a lot. But her bone marrow was the best fit. [Silent.] Now I can talk about this. Before I couldn’t. I didn’t talk about it for ten years. [Silent.] When he found out they’d be taking the bone marrow from his little sister, he flat-out refused. “I’d rather die. She’s so small. Don’t touch her.” His older sister Lyuda was twenty-eight, she was a nurse herself, she knew what she was getting into. “As long as he lives,” she said. I watched the operation. They were lying next to each other on the tables. There was a big window onto the operating room. It took two hours. When they were done, Lyuda was worse off than he was, she had eighteen punctures in her chest, it was very difficult for her to come out from under the anesthesia. Now she’s sick, she’s an invalid. She was a strong, pretty girl. She never got married. So then I was running from one room to the other, from his room to hers. He wasn’t in an ordinary room anymore, he was in a special bio-chamber, behind a transparent curtain. No one was allowed inside. They have instruments there, so that without going through the curtain they can give him shots, place the catheter. The curtains are held together by Velcro, and I’ve learned to use them. But I push them aside and go inside to him. There was a little chair next to his bed. He got so bad that I couldn’t leave him now EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 16 even for a second. He was calling me constantly: “Lyusya, where are you? Lyusya!” He called and called. The other bio-chambers, where our boys were, were being tended to by soldiers, because the orderlies on staff refused, they demanded protective clothing. The soldiers carried the sanitary vessels. They wiped the floors down, changed the bedding. They did everything. Where did they get those soldiers? We didn’t ask. But he—he—every day I would hear: Dead. Dead. Tischura is dead. Titenok is dead. Dead. It was like a sledgehammer to my brain. He was producing stool 25 to 30 times a day. With blood and mucous. His skin started cracking on his arms and legs. He became covered with boils. When he turned his head, there’d be a clump of hair left on the pillow. I tried joking: “It’s convenient, you don’t need a comb.” Soon they cut all their hair. I did it for him myself. I wanted to do everything for him myself. If it had been physically possible I would have stayed with him all twenty-four hours. I couldn’t spare a minute. [Long silence.] My brother came and he got scared. “I won’t let you in there!” But my father said to him: “You think you can stop her? She’ll go through the window! She’ll get up through the fire escape!” I go back to the hospital and there’s an orange on the bedside table. A big one, and pink. He’s smiling: “I got a gift. Take it.” Meanwhile the nurse is gesturing through the film that I can’t eat it. It’s been near him a while, so not only can you not eat it, you shouldn’t even touch it. “Come on, eat it,” he says. “You like oranges.” I take the orange in my hand. Meanwhile he shuts his eyes and goes to sleep. They were always giving him shots to put him to sleep. The nurse is looking at me in horror. And me? I’m ready to do whatever it takes so that he doesn’t think about death. And about the fact that his death is horrible, that I’m afraid of him. There’s a fragment of some conversation, I’m remembering it. Someone is saying: “You have to understand: this is not your husband anymore, not a beloved person, but a radioactive object with a strong density of poisoning. You’re not suicidal. Get ahold of yourself.” And I’m like someone who’s lost her mind: “But I love him! I love him!” He’s sleeping, and I’m whispering: “I love you!” Walking in the hospital courtyard, “I love you.” Carrying his sanitary tray, “I love you.” I remembered how we used to live at home. He only fell asleep at night after he’d taken my hand. That was a habit of his—to hold my hand while he slept. All night. So in the hospital I take his hand and don’t let go. One night, everything’s quiet. We’re all alone. He looked at me very, very carefully and suddenly he said: “I want to see our child so much. How is he?” “What are we going to name him?” “You’ll decide that yourself.” “Why myself, when there’s two of us?” “In that case, if it’s a boy, he should be Vasya, and if it’s a girl, Natasha.” I had no idea then how much I loved him! Him . . . just him. I was like a blind person! I couldn’t even feel the little pounding underneath my heart. Even though I was six months in. I thought that my little one was inside me, that he was protected. None of the doctors knew I was staying with him at night in the bio-chamber. The nurses let me in. At first they pleaded with me, too: “You’re young. Why are you doing this? That’s not a person anymore, that’s a nuclear reactor. You’ll just burn together.” I was like a dog, running after them. I’d stand for hours at their doors, begging and pleading. And then they’d say: “All right! The hell with you! You’re not normal!” In the mornings, just before eight, when the doctors started their rounds, they’d be there on the other side of the film: “Run!” So I’d go to the dorm for an hour. Then from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. I have a pass to come in. My legs were blue below the knee, blue and swollen, that’s how tired I was. EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 17 While I was there with him, they wouldn’t, but when I left—they photographed him. Without any clothes. Naked. One thin little sheet on top of him. I changed that little sheet every day, and every day by evening it was covered in blood. I pick him up, and there are pieces of his skin on my hand, they stick to my hands. I ask him: “Love. Help me. Prop yourself up on your arm, your elbow, as much as you can, I’ll smooth out your bedding, get the knots and folds out.” Any little knot, that was already a wound on him. I clipped my nails down till they bled so I wouldn’t accidentally cut him. None of the nurses could approach him; if they needed anything they’d call me. And they photographed him. For science, they said. I’d have pushed them all out of there! I’d have yelled! And hit them! How dare they? It’s all mine—it’s my love—if only I’d been able to keep them out of there. I’m walking out of the room into the hallway. And I’m walking toward the couch, because I don’t see them. I tell the nurse on duty: “He’s dying.” And she says to me: “What did you expect? He got 1,600 roentgen. Four hundred is a lethal dose. You’re sitting next to a nuclear reactor.” It’s all mine . . . it’s my love. When they all died, they did a remont at the hospital. They scraped down the walls and dug up the parquet. And then—the last thing. I remember it in flashes, all broken up. I’m sitting on my little chair next to him at night. At eight I say: “Vasenka, I’m going to go for a little walk.” He opens his eyes and closes them, lets me go. I just walk to the dorm, go up to my room, lie down on the floor, I couldn’t lie on the bed, everything hurt too much, when already the cleaning lady is knocking on the door. “Go! Run to him! He’s calling for you like mad!” That morning Tanya Kibenok pleaded with me: “Come to the cemetery, I can’t go there alone.” They were burying Vitya Kibenok and Volodya Pravik. They were friends of my Vasya. Our families were friends. There’s a photo of us all in the building the day before the explosion. Our husbands are so handsome! And happy! It was the last day of that life. We were all so happy! I came back from the cemetery and called the nurse’s post right away. “How is he?” “He died fifteen minutes ago.” What? I was there all night. I was gone for three hours! I came up to the window and started shouting: “Why? Why?” I looked up at the sky and yelled. The whole building could hear me. They were afraid to come up to me. Then I came to: I’ll see him one more time! Once more! I run down the stairs. He was still in his bio-chamber, they hadn’t taken him away yet. His last words were “Lyusya! Lyusenka!” “She’s just stepped away for a bit, she’ll be right back,” the nurse told him. He sighed and went quiet. I didn’t leave him anymore after that. I escorted him all the way to the grave site. Although the thing I remember isn’t the grave, it’s the plastic bag. That bag. At the morgue they said, “Want to see what we’ll dress him in?” I do! They dressed him up in formal wear, with his service cap. They couldn’t get shoes on him because his feet had swelled up. They had to cut up the formal wear, too, because they couldn’t get it on him, there wasn’t a whole body to put it on. It was all—wounds. The last two days in the hospital—I’d lift his arm, and meanwhile the bone is shaking, just sort of dangling, the body has gone away from it. Pieces of his lungs, of his liver, were coming out of his mouth. He was choking on his internal organs. I’d wrap my hand in a bandage and put it in his mouth, take out all that stuff. It’s impossible to talk about. It’s impossible to write about. And even to live through. It was all mine. My love. They couldn’t get a single pair of shoes to fit him. They buried him barefoot. Right before my eyes—in his formal wear—they just took him and put him in that cellophane bag of theirs and tied it up. And then they put this bag in the wooden coffin. And they tied the coffin with another bag. The plastic is transparent, but thick, like a tablecloth. And then they put all that into a zinc coffin. EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 18 They squeezed it in. Only the cap didn’t fit. Everyone came—his parents, my parents. They bought black handkerchiefs in Moscow. The Extraordinary Commission met with us. They told everyone the same thing: it’s impossible for us to give you the bodies of your husbands, your sons, they are very radioactive and will be buried in a Moscow cemetery in a special way. In sealed zinc caskets, under cement tiles. And you need to sign this document here. If anyone got indignant and wanted to take the coffin back home, they were told that the dead were now, you know, heroes, and that they no longer belonged to their families. They were heroes of the State. They belonged to the State. We sat in the hearse. The relatives and some sort of military people. A colonel and his regiment. They tell the regiment: “Await your orders!” We drive around Moscow for two or three hours, around the beltway. We’re going back to Moscow again. They tell the regiment: “We’re not allowing anyone into the cemetery. The cemetery’s being attacked by foreign correspondents. Wait some more.” The parents don’t say anything. Mom has a black handkerchief. I sense I’m about to black out. “Why are they hiding my husband? He’s—what? A murderer? A criminal? Who are we burying?” My mom: “Quiet. Quiet, daughter.” She’s petting me on the head. The colonel calls in: “Let’s enter the cemetery. The wife is getting hysterical.” At the cemetery we were surrounded by soldiers. We had a convoy. And they were carrying the coffin. No one was allowed in. It was just us. They covered him with earth in a minute. “Faster! Faster!” the officer was yelling. They didn’t even let me hug the coffin. And—onto the bus. Everything on the sly. Right away they bought us plane tickets back home. For the next day. The whole time there was someone with us in plainclothes with a military bearing. He wouldn’t even let us out of the dorm to buy some food for the trip. God forbid we might talk with someone—especially me. As if I could talk by then. I couldn’t even cry. When we were leaving, the woman on duty counted all the towels and all the sheets. She folded them right away and put them into a polyethylene bag. They probably burnt them. We paid for the dormitory ourselves. For fourteen nights. It was a hospital for radiation poisoning. Fourteen nights. That’s how long it takes a person to die. At home I fell asleep. I walked into the place and just fell onto the bed. I slept for three days. An ambulance came. “No,” said the doctor, “she’ll wake up. It’s just a terrible sleep.” I was twenty-three. I remember the dream I had. My dead grandmother comes to me in the clothes that we buried her in. She’s dressing up the New Year’s tree. “Grandma, why do we have a New Year’s tree? It’s summertime.” “Because your Vasenka is going to join me soon.” And he grew up in the forest. I remember the dream—Vasya comes in a white robe and calls for Natasha. That’s our girl, who I haven’t given birth to yet. She’s already grown up. He throws her up to the ceiling, and they laugh. And I’m watching them and thinking that happiness—it’s so simple. I’m sleeping. We’re walking along the water. Walking and walking. He probably asked me not to cry. Gave me a sign. From up there. [She is silent for a long time.] Two months later I went to Moscow. From the train station straight to the cemetery. To him! And at the cemetery I start going into labor. Just as I started talking to him—they called the ambulance. It was at the same Angelina Vasilyevna Guskova’s that I gave birth. She’d said to me back then: “You need to come here to give birth.” It was two weeks before I was due. They showed her to me—a girl. “Natashenka,” I called out. “Your father named you Natashenka.” She EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 19 looked healthy. Arms, legs. But she had cirrhosis of the liver. Her liver had twenty-eight roentgen. Congenital heart disease. Four hours later they told me she was dead. And again: we won’t give her to you. What do you mean you won’t give her to me? It’s me who won’t give her to you! You want to take her for science. I hate your science! I hate it! [She is silent.] I keep saying the wrong thing to you. The wrong thing. I’m not supposed to yell after my stroke. And I’m not supposed to cry. That’s why the words are all wrong. But I’ll say this. No one knows this. When they brought me the little wooden box and said, “She’s in there,” I looked. She’d been cremated. She was ashes. And I started crying. “Put her at his feet,” I requested. There, at the cemetery, it doesn’t say Natasha Ignatenko. There’s only his name. She didn’t have a name yet, she didn’t have anything. Just a soul. That’s what I buried there. I always go there with two bouquets: one for him, and the other I put in the corner for her. I crawl around the grave on my knees. Always on my knees. [She becomes incomprehensible.] I killed her. I. She. Saved. My little girl saved me, she took the whole radioactive shock into herself, she was like the lightning rod for it. She was so small. She was a little tiny thing. [She has trouble breathing.] She saved . . . But I loved them both. Because—because you can’t kill something with love, right? With such love! Why are these things together—love and death. Together. Who’s going to explain this to me? I crawl around the grave on my knees. [She is silent for a long time.] In Kiev they gave me an apartment. It was in a large building, where they put everyone from the atomic station. It’s a big apartment, with two rooms, the kind Vasya and I had dreamed of. And I was going crazy in it! I found a husband eventually. I told him everything—the whole truth—that I have one love, for my whole life. I told him everything. We’d meet, but I’d never invite him to my home, that’s where Vasya was. I worked in a candy shop. I’d be making cake, and tears would be rolling down my cheeks. I’m not crying, but there are tears rolling down. I gave birth to a boy, Andrei. Andreika. My friends tried to stop me. “You can’t have a baby.” And the doctors tried to scare me: “Your body won’t be able to handle it.” Then, later—later they told me that he’d be missing an arm. His right arm. The instrument showed it. “Well, so what?” I thought. “I’ll teach him to write with his left hand.” But he came out fine. A beautiful boy. He’s in school now, he gets good grades. Now I have someone—I can live and breathe him. He’s the light in my life. He understands everything perfectly. “Mom, if I go visit grandma for two days, will you be able to breathe?” I won’t! I fear the day I’ll have to leave him. One day we’re walking down the street. And I feel that I’m falling. That’s when I had my first stroke. Right on the street. “Mom, do you need some water?” “No, just stand here next to me. Don’t go anywhere.” And I grabbed his arm. I don’t remember what happened next. I came to in the hospital. But I grabbed him so hard that the doctors were barely able to pry my fingers open. His arm was blue for a long time. Now we walk out of the house, he says, “Mommie, just don’t grab my arm. I won’t go anywhere.” He’s also sick: two weeks in school, two weeks at home with a doctor. That’s how we live. [She stands up, goes over to the window.] There are many of us here. A whole street. That’s what it’s called—Chernobylskaya. These people worked at the station their whole lives. A lot of them still go there to work on a provisional basis, that’s how they work there now, no one lives there anymore. They have bad diseases, they’re invalids, but they don’t leave their jobs, they’re scared to even think of the reactor closing down. Who needs them now anywhere else? Often they die. In an instant. They just drop—someone will be walking, he falls down, EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 20 goes to sleep, never wakes up. He was carrying flowers for his nurse and his heart stopped. They die, but no one’s really asked us. No one’s asked what we’ve been through. What we saw. No one wants to hear about death. About what scares them. But I was telling you about love. About my love . . . Lyudmilla Ignatenko, wife of deceased fireman Vasily Ignatenko EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 21 PART ONE THE LAND OF THE DEAD MONOLOGUE ON WHY WE REMEMBER You’ve decided to write about this? About this? But I wouldn’t want people to know this about me, what I went through there. On the one hand, there’s the desire to open up, to say everything, and on the other—I feel like I’m exposing myself, and I wouldn’t want to do that. Do you remember how it was in Tolstoy? Pierre Bezukhov is so shocked by the war, he thinks that he and the whole world have changed forever. But then some time passes, and he says to himself: “I’m going to keep yelling at the coach-driver just like before, I’m going to keep growling like before.” Then why do people remember? So that they can determine the truth? For fairness? So they can free themselves and forget? Is it because they understand they’re part of a grand event? Or are they looking into the past for cover? And all this despite the fact that memories are very fragile things, ephemeral things, this is not exact knowledge, but a guess that a person makes about himself. It isn’t even knowledge, it’s more like a set of emotions. My emotions . . . I struggled, I dug into my memory and I remembered. The scariest thing for me was during my childhood—that was the war. I remember how we boys played “mom and dad”—we’d take the clothes off the little ones and put them on top of one another. These were the first kids born after the war, because during the war kids were forgotten. We waited for life to appear. We played “mom and dad.” We wanted to see how life would appear. We were eight, ten years old. I saw a woman trying to kill herself. In the bushes by the river. She had a brick and she was hitting herself in the head with it. She was pregnant from an occupying soldier whom the whole village hated. Also, as a boy, I saw a litter of kittens being born. I helped my mother pull a calf from its mother, I led our pig to meet up with a boar. I remember—I remember how they brought my father’s body, he had on a sweater, my mother had knit it herself, and he’d been shot by a machine gun, and bloody pieces of something were coming out of that sweater. He lay on our only bed, there was nowhere else to put him. Later he was buried in front of the house. And the earth wasn’t cotton, it was heavy clay. From the beds for beetroot. There were battles going on all around. The street was filled with dead people and horses. For me, those memories are so personal, I’ve never spoken of them out loud. Back then I thought of death just as I did of birth. I had the same feeling when I saw a calf come out of a cow—and the kittens were born—as when I saw that woman with the brick in the bushes killing herself. For some reason these seemed to me to be the same things—birth and death. I remember from my childhood how a house smells when a boar is being cut up. You’ve just touched me, and I’m already falling into there, falling—into that nightmare. That terror. I’m flying into it. I also remember how, when we were little, the women would take us with them to the sauna. And we saw that all the women’s uteruses (this we could understand even then) were falling out, they were tying them up with rags. I saw this. They were falling out because of hard labor. There were no men, they were at the front, or EBSCOhost - printed on 10/29/2020 10:54 PM via UNIV OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO. All use subject to 22 Chapter Title: Technical Error: Measures of Life and Risk Book Title: Life Exposed Book Subtitle: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl Book Author(s): Adriana Petryna Published by: Princeton University Press Stable URL: JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Princeton University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Life Exposed This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to Chapter 2 Technical Error: Measures of life and Risk A Foreign Burden Dmytro is a miner from the coa l-mining region of Donbas in Ukraine. I met him at the Radiation Research Center where he came to "settle his social matters.» Within ten days fo llowing the Chernobyl accident, he was one of two thousand coal miners from his region mobilized to carry out work at the disaster site. Dmytro said he underwent an occupational health screening before his mobilization: '" knew I was healthy before going there." Dmytro lacked a specia l protective mask during his monthlong work, which involved digging tunnels under the reactor. Miners injected these tunnels with liquid nitrogen and other gases in attempts to cool the reactor core. Dmytro received five times his average salary for this work. Since his work at Chernobyl, Dmytro has undergone annual hospital examinations and monitoring at the Radiation Research Center. In August 1996, he was admitted to the center's Division of Nervous Pathologies with cerebral, cardiac, and pulmonary disorders. Dmytro said he had one daughter, born five years before the disaster. He decided not to have any more children because he believed himself to be genetically damaged . .. A hea lthy child cannot come from a sick father," he reasoned. 1 His documents showed him to be categorized as a disabled person (level three). This meant he was officially recognized as having lost 50 percent of his labor capacity. Before entering the center, Dmytro decided to quit his job and secure full disability benefits from the state. He wanted to qualify for higher disability status, a certification that he had lost 80 34 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to TECHNICAL n l o l percent or more of his work capacity. This move would have doubled his pension and allowed him to pay for his medical treatments. Behind his hospita l referrals, institutional rubber stamps, dose assessments, diagnoses, corrections to diagnoses, further diagnoses, and other papers conferring his Chernobyl identity was a person who perceived himself to have lost the capacity to father, to work, and to live a normal life. Dmytro complained of emotional stress and gastritis. Like many patients I met at the center, he no longer identified himself as a worker of a state enterprise; he had come to see himself as a "prospective invalid." This was an interesting word choice since the related Russian words perspektillnyi I neperspektillnyi were vintage statist terms for deciding the fate s of financial investment in Soviet towns and villages. He was engaged in an everyday form of life science to increase his chances of becoming worthy of investment. Dmytro knew the level of internal radiation he had received o n the basis of a count of aberrations in his chromosomes. He calculated his lost work ca pacity and amassed diagnoses. He referred to the radiation in his body as a " foreign burden" (chllzhe hore)-unnatural in origin and creating a new locus where "there is no peace." He was but one of many left to assess, but without an exact numerical equivalent for, his fo reign burden. His narrative also suggests that technical measures used to define the biological effects of Chernobyl were malleable. They acquired different values over time depending on the contexts o f their use. What is the relationship between individual suffering caused by the Chernobyl accident and the technical measures and scales of expertise used to assess radiatio n-related biological injury? In this chapter, I trace the work of international scientific networks in patterning initial Soviet remediation strategies and public health responses. I explore key aspects of the initial Soviet management of the Chernobyl disaster and show how definitions of radiation-related injury were informed by an array of international scientific and political interests, and ela borated through a parricular set of technical strategies. Accounts of injury were limited to biomedical measures derived from a group of acute accident victims in the first few weeks following the disaster. Such activities limi ted Soviet government liabi lity for the many populations that were not screened o r that were possibly made vulnerable to radiation-related injuries in the future. Such interventions illustrate the ways experiences of illness are engendered and understood within the technical and political domains where they come to be addressed. With the collapse of authoritarian power, they clearly opened the way to a new form of politics based on the (unaccounted-for) scope of biological injury in the future . Adding further perspective on how this po litics could take shape, we must also recognize that among radiation research scientists working in U.S. laboratories, 35 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to (HAPTIR 2 there is considerable disagreement as to suitable parameters for interpreting radiation-induced biological risk in human populations. There is also disagreement among them as to how various experimental data may be unified in terms of a systematic theoretical approach (Chatterjee and Holley 1994:222). This lack of consensus at the basic science level deals a blow to the confidence that inspires expert claims to knowledge in the field. Ambiguities related to the interpretation of radiation-related physical damage subjected post-Chernobyl state interventions and medical surveillance to a variety of competing scientific and political interests. Scientists and government leaders garnered resources on the basis of those ambiguities to make claims for their own legitimacy and to push their scientific research and political agendas forward. Saturated Grid Scientist and Soviet political observer Zhores Medvedev has authoritatively detailed emergency measures taken after the Chernobyl accident, with particular emphasis on the first ten days, when officials were acting under the protection of a news blackout (1990:41 ).2 In the following paragraphs, I want to convey something of the technical responses that ensued to assess a radioactive Chernobyl plume. The work of estimating its fallout was based upon approximations and semiempirical models. In retrospectively surveying this technical work and its inherent problems, we arrive at a finer map of a domain of anthropologica l inquiry. I approach this surveying work as a multi locale investigation of transnational, state, and local forces and actions that to some extent framed what we currently know and do not know about the human toll of the Chernobyl aftermath. I turn first to the question of the size of the plume and how best to image it. Tom Sullivan is (he forme r director of the Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, Ca lifornia. Sullivan's team worked with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the severity of the disaster. When I interviewed his research team in 1997, members were still refining estimates of the height of the Chernobyl explosion's plume. Prior to Chernobyl, the ARAC researchers compiled meteorological data, satellite photos, wind pafterns, and atmospheric activity data to model sizes and movements of nuclear plumes associated with aboveground American and Chinese nuclear weapons tests and the Three Mile Island accident. They developed computer codes calculating concentrations of contaminated material at a certain location; they tracked contaminated plumes for a distance and, based on certain meteorologica l cond i- 36 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to TlCHNICAL nROR tions, estimated concentrations of radioactive contamination at any point in time along a trajectory. The historical context of the Cold War prevented ARAC from modeling the movements of the Chernobyl plume in real time. Limitations on the sharing of sensitive data between Western and Soviet regimes made it difficult for U.S. scientists to locate the plume in Soviet air space. "The problem was there were no weather charts for that part of the world.") Additionally, the source of the plume was difficult to locate, since maps of Soviet nuclear installations were kept secret. Sullivan's team relied on meteorological data showing the arrival of the plume in Sweden and used Swedish measurements to "invert the mathematics of the calculation. Given the concentration in Sweden ... we estimated on the order of 2 megacuries of iodine and cesium were being released." Their mathematically generated trajectory showed the source of the plume to be "at or near the Baltics."4 After intense international pressure, the Soviets admitted that a catastrophic meltdown had occurred at Chernobyl. ARAC's computers were coded to map plumes within a limited spatial range. Once the team had refined their trajectory and located the source of the Chernobyl plume in northern Ukraine, Sullivan told me, his computer programs "weren't ready" for what they had found: We typically operated within a two-hundred-by-two-hundred-kilometer area. This area had been sufficient to model prior releases such as the one at Three Mile Island and American and Chinese nuclear weapons tests. Our first calculations were on a two-hundred-kilometersquare grid. We did the imaging near the Chernobyl plant, but the grid was so saturated, I mean, you couldn't even make sense of it because every place had these enormously high va lues-they filled the whole grid, in every direction . ... Our codes were not prepared for an event of this magnitude. Sullivan's team fo und something "far worse" than a meltdown. A runaway chain reaction of uranium-235 contributed to a powerful explosion, capable of rupturing any modern form of structural containment. "We knew there had been a core meltdown after Swedish scientists sampled the plume. They found mono-elemental particles of pure ruthenium, indicating that a meltdown of the reactor core had occurred."5 Sullivan's team conducted real-time atmospheric modeling of hazardous airborne materials. Computer codes were designed to do this modeling within a limited space. Assessment of the situation required a technical upgrade, which the N uclear Regulatory Commission was ready ro support. The team had initially tried to adjust the system to account for a larger territory "to get us into Scandinavia and Western Europe." In the 37 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to CHAPTEI2 second week follow ing the explosion, there were reports that the radioactive plume had reached Japan. T he team decided that they needed a hemispheric model. 6 According to Sullivan, "that was another step in changing the whole system and implementing new capabilities." New technologies allowed them to "d rive [their] transport models and model the entire plume as it moved around the Northern Hemisphere.,, 7 • •• The Soviets rejected Western offers to help assess the meteorological situation. (Tom Sullivan offered his team's assistance through a Swedish intermediary, but his offer was refused.) Within the Soviet Union, a special military radiological service was charged with t he task of monitoring radiation levels around the plant. 8 No information was released (Medvedev 1990:46). The service finally presented crude data, indicating the d istribution of the plume within the Soviet Union, in its August 1986 report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In that report, the Soviet State Committee on the Utilization of Atomic Energy made a seemingly definite statement: None of the populations received high doses that would have resulted in acute radiation syndrome .... O n the basis of an ana lysis of the radioactive contamination of the environment in the Zone, assessments were made of the actual and future radiation doses received by the populations of towns, villages, and other inhabited places . As a result of these and other measures, it proved possible to keep exposures within the established limits. (USSR State Committee on the Util ization of Atomic Energy 1986:38) As Medvedev reported, radiation on the ground "was well in excess of the scales on the available dosimetric equipment" (1990:45). He also noted that "in some spots . .. it killed four hundred hectares of pine forest within a matter of days" ( 103). Skeptical of Soviet claims that no genetic effects from Chernobyl could ever occur, Medvedev wrote, " Pine trees may be more sensitive to radiation than oak t rees, but they are much more resistant than rodents and vertebrates in general" (ibid.). Buttressed by crude maps, the Sov iet truth (as presented to the IAEA) prevailed above and beyond observable evidence and realities of the plume; that truth authorized a domain of government activity and limited intervention . Facts that did not suppOrt this domain were either disregarded or eliminated. For example, a follow-up report from the SovietAmerican bioscientific collaboration (which I will discuss shortly) stated t hat "external measurements were unavailable at the time of the accident; they were either not designed fo r these levels of radiation or were de- 38 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to TlCHNICAl .... O .. stroyed or lost as a consequence of circumstances associated with this accident" (Baranov et al. 1989:205). ~ My interview with Sullivan's ARAC team, together with the informarion derailed above, underscores the constructed nature of the unknown in this setting. A catastrophe whose scale was unimaginable, difficult to map, and "saturating " became manageable through a particular dynamic: nonknowledge became crucial to the deployment of authoritative knowledge, especially as it applied to the management of exposed populations. Institute of Biophysics, Moscow Information about the radioactive explosion and fire was transmitted to the Soviet Ministry of Health in Moscow. Angelina Guskova, chief radiologist of Clinic No.6 of the Institute of Biophysics, was contacted one hour after the initial explosion, "on my phone at home, I was in my bed," she told me in 1996. Guskova and her colleague, Aleksandr Baranov, were charged with organizing emergency aid measures, providing biomedical care, treatment, and monitoring for the first victims of the disaster. Guskova was trained as a hematologist and neurologist; both skills would serve her well in this situation. She has been a member of UNSCEAR (UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of A[Qmic Radiation) since 1967, and she worked under Professor 1. A. Iiyin, chairman of the Soviet Radiological Protection Board and director of the Institute of Biophysics in Moscow. Since the mid-1950s, Guskova and her colleagues had been engaged in the clinical study of radiation effects in humans. Prior to working at Clinic No.6, she headed the Neurological Division of Medical Services of the Mayak nuclear plant, a munitions industry complex producing plutonium in the once closed city of Cheliabinsk, the capital of the southern Ural region. This area had been wrecked by two nuclear disasters, both of which were covered up by the Soviet government. The first one lasted a decade, when, beginning in 1951, the Mayak plant began dumping waste from nuclear bomb production into a small lake. 10 In 1957, a failure in the nuclear waste cooling system at the nearby Kyshrym plant released at least seventy tons of waste containing about twenry million curies of radioactivity-roughly one-fourth the amount released in the Chernobyl accident. Guskova oversaw research involving two hundred individuals who became part of her official Acute Radiation Sickness (ARS) cohort. Until Chernobyl, this group was considered to be the largest cohort of ARS patients in the world. I I Her clinical experience was multifaceted, reflecting the variety of radiation-related injuries these workers experienced, from direct contact with ionizing sources to inhalation and whole- 39 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to CH AP UR 2 body exposure. She developed surgica l procedures for removing radiation-induced lesions and scars. She established medical classifications and methods for clinical observation of occupational radiation-related diseases. She developed the protocols for clinical monitoring and legal-medical evaluation. In short, Guskova "formulated radiobiological questions which could only be answered by the clinica l observation [of manJ" (1997:604).1 2 Guskova also formulated what she referred to as a "semi-empirical model" fo r estimating dose exposures in cases where doses were not known. This model was based on an examination of patients' external symptoms and linked the time of symptom appearance to an estimation of dose. Based on this model, she organized treatments and projected patients' recovery or death.1l Acute radiation sickness occurs at dose ranges between 200 and 400 rem. At 400 rem, bone marrow failure sets in. Up to approximately 1,000 rem, there is a chance fo r survival with intensive treatment. ARS consists of a series of clinical events ("syndromes"). These syndromes include the central nervous system syndrome, characterized by an onset of apathy, lethargy, seizures, ataxia, and prostration, appearing immediately after exposure. The gastrointestinal syndrome is characterized by anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fever, and severe systemic infections. These symptoms manifest within a few days to a few weeks after exposure. The hematopoietic or bone marrow syndrome is characterized by an absolute fall of the patient's peripheral lymphocyte and granulocyte count and by an increase in leukocyte counts. Changes in these blood indicators can occur within the first few hours of exposure; they can keep fluctuating over severa l months, and, some say, over an individual's lifetime. Guskova went to meet the first planeload of possible ARS patients airlifted from the Chernobyl accident site and flown to Moscow on April 27, 1986. Initially, over four hundred people were taken from the disaster site to Clinic No.6. This group consisted mainly of firemen who had extinguished fires in areas around the burning reactor core. Patients described this flame to me as a long green-blue radioactive phosphorescing column. In our interview, Guskova blamed the Soviet radiological service fo r failing at the outset to provide enough dose-related information fo r her to make an appropriate assessment of patients' doses. "We had patients expressing symptoms that were the same as symptoms of ARS, but we did not know the radiation situation." She relied on semiempirical models to assess patients' doses. The individuals selected exhibited symptoms of the central nervous system and gastrointestinal syndromes, including fevers, vomiting, and nausea. Changes in the blood composition of these patients were recorded within three days of exposure.14 40 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to nCHNICAl nROR Guskova's high-dose human know-how, for lack of a better phrase, was a unique achievement of Soviet radiation science. Chernobyl's scale and lethality posed challenges that Guskova and her colleagues had not confronted before. Guskova told me that these patients received much higher doses than those she had observed in previous accidents. In one scientific article, she referred to these doses as "overlethal" (1997). An intense graphite fire in the reactor's graphite-moderated core resulted in combined injuries (burns with symptoms of ARS), making categorization of the victims difficult and "complicat[ingJ the nature and effectiveness of interventions" (Baranov et at. 1989:205). I S The majority of deaths in the first three months after exposure were attributed to skin lesions (burns) that involved 50 percent of the body's total skin surface (Wagemaker et 01. 1996,29). 5oviet--American Cooperation In their 1971 monograph, Radiation Sickness in Man, Guskova and her collaborator 8aysogolov conceptualized the organization of medical services for victims of large-scale nuclear catastrophes. They wrote that a "large number of victims introduces a number of forced corrections and apparently somewhat changes therapeutic arrangements." They considered the introduction of a triage mechanism essential because "detailed investigation is extremely limited in these cases." They also recommended "using more tranquilizers than is warranted under normal circumstances, considering the mass nature of the injuries and seriousness of the psycho· logical situation" (245). Guskova relied on a higher threshold dose to facilitate sorting patients at the Chernobyl plant in days following its explosion. A threshold dose is dose limit above which radiation exposure would likely produce long·term biological effects. Symptoms of ARS begin to manifest themselves at 200 rem. Guskova set the dose at which patient recruitment would begin at roughly 250 rem. The use of a threshold generated an on-site social dynamic. For example, because preclinical examinations were limited, some of the initial selections were faulty. Indeed, during fieldwork in the Radiation Research Center, I met one man who had panicked over having to work at the disaster site. He self-induced vomiting and nausea and was among those airlifted to Clinic No.6. Later he was released and never returned to the Zone. 16 Such were the semiempirical models at work at the disaster site. Through their implementation, Guskova enacted a procedure, a set of "dividing practices" (Foucault 1984). She limited the group of victims who would be subject to early active therapy and delayed medical me 41 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to CHAPTER 2 FIGURE 2. Volume of concentrations of cesium-137 in the air at different moments in time aher the Chernoby\ accident (month, day, hour) according to an atmospheric transfer model. The increase in isopleth number indicates a tenfold increase of concentration (World Health Organization 1996) 42 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to TlCHNICAL . . . 0. evaluation and therapies fo r workers who were potentially injured at doses below 250 rem. I met a person who estimated her dose to be 220 rem, 30 rem shy of the threshold, but who was excluded from the ARS cohort and therefore required to continue working at the disaster site . ••• Thousands of people like Dmytro were either voluntarily or involuntarily mobilized to work at the site under perilous circumstances. Administrators simultaneously withheld meteorological information and set occupational standards of radiological exposure artificially high. They also introduced a psychological technique in the effort to control perceptions of risk and interpretations of symptoms fo r anyone living "beneath" this threshold--evacuees, workers, and inhabitants of unmarked contaminated tertitories. Declassified documents illustrate how this technique was introduced. 17 In late May 1986 and at the height of East-West bioscientific collaboration, leaders in the Soviet Health M inistry issued an order to Anatolii Romanenko, then Ukrainian health minister, who had not achieved full control over the activities of local medical personnel. Romanenko was ordered to make sure that Ukrainian republican scientific and clinical administrators used a medical diagnosis, "vegetovascular dystonia" (VvD), to filter out the majority of radiation-related medical claims. This condition is akin to panic disorder in the West, but its etiology is different. It was introduced into Soviet medical classification in the 1960s to account for environmental factors, including "mental fac tors, pollution, stress, or atmospheric factors," in the initiation of disease. 18 The external symptoms of VvD include anything from heart palpitations, sweating and tremors, nausea, and hyperrension to hypotension and neurosis-like disorders, spasms, and seizures. VvD resembles the central nervous system syndrome of ARS, hut its cause differs: one is radiation-induced, the other is "environmentally" induced. Romanenko's directive to Ukrainian medical personnel read as follows: This directive concerns diagnosing early symptoms of exposed persons who are in clinics and who do not show signs of ARS. Indicate the diagnosis of "vegetovascular dystonia" in the patient's medical record. Also indicate "vegetovascular dystonia" in the medical records of workers who are entering clinics for monitoring and who have received the maximum allowable dose. (Emphasis added )1 '1 Six months after the Soviet Health Ministry issued this decree, the Ukrainian health minister confidently reported that his medical cadres had successfully fulfilled the command to enter the VvD diagnosis in the 43 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to medical records of the exposed. He also stated, " In the period following the disaster, 17,500 people have been hospitalized with various illnesses. Following the directive of the Soviet Ministry of Health, all persons from the Zone who are being hospitalized and who lack signs of immediate acute injuries have received the diagnosis of vegetovascular dystonia [emphasis added]. "20 This official intervention reinforced a dynamic we have already seen at work with respect to Soviet radiological monitoring. Nonknowledge became crucial to the deployment of authoritative bioscientific knowledge. Technical laxity fit well with this process, as well as with the way the Soviet administrators attempted to adapt a general population to the postaccident situation (this process will be assessed in terms of its impact on individual lives in chapter 5).21 A Union-wide clinic and research center was established in Kyiv in 1986 to monitor 600,000 children and adults. Romanenko became its acting director and held this position until 2000. •• • I turn now to the initial focus of Soviet bioscientific concerns and interventions and their politica l outcomes. Within two weeks of the disaster's onset, unprecedented Soviet-American bioscientific cooperation began. This endeavor, an example of high-profile "techno-diplomacy" at the end of the Cold War (Schweitzer 1989), became focused on a limited group of 237 acute accident vict ims. Their extreme injuries became the measure by which the scope of populationwide injury was defined, justifying immediate remedial actions. International experts used the accident context as a scientific "ready-made," evaluating preparedness for future accidents and accelerating bioscientific research. This techno-d iplomacy was initiated by Dr. Robert Gale, under the auspices of Armand Hammer. Gale was a leukemia specialist at the School of Medicine of the University of Ca lifornia at Los Angeles, who offered to conduct bone marrow transplants on workers who were irradiated in lethal doses and to treat less severe cases experimentally.22 Significantly, Gale's fi ve-member team had little background in radiation medicine, radiobiology, or accident management. Richard Champlin was a bone marrow transplant specialist and a specialist in the treatment of leukemia. Paul Terasaki was a kidney transplant specialist involved in researching problems of donor-recipient matching. M. Ray Mickey was a leukemia special ist involved in problems of genetic (HLA) matching. Yair Reisner was a bone marrow transplant specialist researching hematopoietic reconstitution using stem cells and developing methods of ob- 44 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to taining high yields of bone marrow cells from murine models. All were part of a growing international network of transplant specialists, and some were affiliated with the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry. Angelina Guskova's team consisted of twelve members, medical workers, leukemia and radiological specialists of Clinic No.6. Gale considered his cooperative biotechnological gesture a breakthrough in Soviet-American political relations. He felt that both parties stood to benefit: "I had a series of clicks in my mind, which was that, you know, this is exactly what we do every day. These guys don't have the resources to deal with it, and we do." He used the media attention on the Chernobyl affair to get the Soviets to agree to let his team in. "No one was going to believe what Gorbachev had to say about Chernobyl. I convinced them of that [in my negotiations} .... They had no credibility." Gorbachev personally invited the American specialists to conduct experimental bone marrow transplants, hoping to improve the image of Soviet remedial actions in the international media .23 American biotechnological assistance was the only form of humanitarian help the Soviets agreed to accept in the initial crisis period. Thirteen patients, with estimated doses ranging from 440 to 1,340 rem, were slated for high-profile bone marrow transplants. All had a high risk of dying from bone marrow failure. But there were risks inherent in the transplant procedures themselves. Immunities must be adequately suppressed for transplants to engraft. In clinical settings, adequate suppression is achieved under conditions where the administration o f dose is controlled. It was particularly important for clinical examinations and dose assessments to be accurate in uncontrolled circumstances and where the radiological situation was not known. Dose miscalculations lead to misrepresentations of levels of immunosuppression. Inadequate immunosuppression leads to transplant rejection and to a host of unanticipated secondary diseases. Questions of risk aside, both sides did indeed have much to ga in from this short-term therapeutic collaboration. Ga le's team and their major financial backer, Sandoz Corporation, got a jump start on the emerging biotechnological market in growth factor molecules that I will discuss shorrly.H Guskova told me, "Contact with Gale upgraded our hematological department not in the problem of radiation, but in the problem of hematological disease and in the treatment of leukemia. We had contact with Dr. Hammer and needed the American specialists for treatment, equipment, diagnostics." Yet the American team, unlike the Soviet team, was uninterested in long-term assessments of the health impact of Chernobyl. During our 1996 interview, Ga le told me that his interests were short-term, and that 45 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to CHAPTU 2 the accidental situation offered his team a ready opportunity: "The Chernobyl accident for the firemen at the power plant was exactly what we do at the clinic every day. Potentiall y, there were patients with [leukemic) cancer exposed to acute whole body irradiation." Gale told me that the way Guskova selected patients at the accident site was, in part, arbitrary. This arbitrariness generated a group of over four hundred patients. He sa id that his initial impulse was to help "what was not a clear number of acute radiation victims .... Actually, we brought genetically engineered molecules in here that had never been given to humans before, one of these cloned hematopoietic growth factors [rhGM_CSF).ls We were working with it for about two years, for Sandoz actually." The bone marrow transplants were a venue for testing of a new product. The genetica lly engineered molecu le was believed to be useful for treating bone marrow failure by accelerating the recovery of stem cells and other blood products. "We used hematopoietic growth factors subsequently in an accident in Brazil. The point, another idea I had at the time, was that it wasn't just useful for transplanting. We could use these growth factors for a whole bunch of things. " Ethica l standards in the United States allow fo r untried experimental treatments if a patient's life expectancy is minimal. That there was some uncerta inty regarding the acute radiation sickness sta tus of patients at the disaster site does raise questions about the ethics of research in this instance. l6 In the United States, the in vitro activity of GM-CSF had been investigated intensivelyP Little was known, however, about the activity of this protein molecule in vivo. Anima l research had gone from murine to primate model testing. In monkeys lethally irradiated (900 rem ), GM-CSF had been shown to promore bone marrow recovery by initiating stem cell growth. The product had nOt yet been tested on humans because of federal laws banning human experimentation (in this case, subjecting humans to lethal radiation doses). The American team ran GM-CSF trials on patients to see whether the molecule cou ld stimulate recovery where recovery would orherwise be improbable. When I asked Gale whether he felt that the product was successful , he said: It's very hard to say. Alii ca n say is that we had about 499 people in the hospita l, 29 died. So we were either incredi bly sk illful or incredibly lucky. I would favor incredibly lucky.... And most of the deaths we did have were not from bone marrow failure, which was the th ing we were trying to treat. The deaths were mostly from burns or orher injuries, not related to radiation. The same guy who was in the middle of the fire was the guy who got irradiated and who had steam fall over his 46 This content downloaded from on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:19:50 UTC All use subject to TlCHNICAL n l a l head. People don't understand that really, you can save them from one thing, only to die of another, and these things are tending to occur in the same people. From his point of view, causes of death associated with the disaster except bone marrow fai lure became scientifically insignificant. The Soviet-American team published the results of the transplants in the Journal of American Medical Association. Out of the thirteen transplant recipients, five died of burns, three of interstitial pneumonitis, two of graft-versus-host disease, and one of renal failure and respiratory distress. Two survived. The Soviet team later criticized Gale's drive to conduct bone marrow transplants. The team published in Hemato/ogiia I Transfuzi%giia, without including the American participants' names in the list of contributors. The American team had introduced biological dosimetry using biological markers (such as chromosome aberrations of peripheral blood lymphocytes) rather than Guskova's symptom-based markers of estimating dose exposure. The Soviets reported that out of the thirteen, at least two who underwent bone marrow transplants died as a result of the inaccuracy "inherent in estimating doses by the use of biological parameters." Guskova told me that Gale was a "good hematologist but he projects knowing more than he does."...
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Bio-citizenship Based on Chernobyl Disaster
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Bio-citizenship, also referred to as wellness citizenship; biological citizenship;
Medical citizenship; clinical citizenship, defines types of identity, demands for rights, and
appeals for access to biologically dependent services and treatment such as disability, mutual
genetic condition, or state of illness (Rose & Novas, 2005). The phrase connects subjectivity
to politics to bio-medicalization cycles, the after Human Genome Project world's rapid growth of
genomic awareness, the biotechnologies' profitability, and disputes for accessibility to life-saving
services (Rose & Novas, 2005). Component Four of the nuclear reactor of Cherobyl exploded on
26th April, 1986, in Ukraine (Petryna, 2004). The harm caused by this tragedy has been
enormous, involving acute injuries to plant workforce in the type of radiation scotch and demise,
harm to individual immunities and elevated levels of thyroid cancer between resettled
communities, and major pollution of land and rivers. The cause of the tragedy was traced by
Soviet sources to a botched test (Petryna, 2004).
The object of the test, as per one official paper, was to assess the feasibility of using the
rotor's mechanical power in a turbo-generator removed from the supply of steam to retain the
power demands in case of the power-failure. For the sake of the trial, all of the reactor's
protective devices were turned down (Petryna, 2004). When technicians lowered control and
turned off the steam, a major power outburst arose. The machine blew up at 1:23 A.M. once then
repeated again (Petryn...

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