I'm going to the zone for thrills
I’m going to the zone for thrills

In fact, the Chernobyl zone has been penetrating a black hole in the heart of Ukraine f or 30 years. The explosion at the 4th reactor in April 1986 irrevocably changed the fate of thousands of people, both liquidators and local residents. Much has changed during this time. The sarcophagus was erected. After it, a new confinement, the settlers had the opportunity to visit their homes and the graves of their ancestors. In a word, the exclusion zone became accessible to tourists.

However, another phenomenon – stalking – appeared. Fans of extreme tourism are attracted by uninhabited land, where draughts still raise radioactive dust into the air. What are these desperate people looking for, and what danger lies in wait for a person who enters the zone illegally?

Chernobyl zone stalkers

Stas Poloskoj was in the exclusion zone arbitrarily and repeatedly. He says that he has already lost track of his campaigns, but says that there were a lot of them. It all started with research on the estranged villages closest to the border.

– I began to visit the Chernobyl zone to take a break from every day life. Just wanted excursions without permission. I don’t like official ones when they drive “by the hand”, and when the time limit is,” Stas says.

Everyone has its own reasons for visiting the territory of alienation. Someone is trying to escape away from people and fuss, somebody else is going to the zone for the sake of a “Profit”, as in the Strugatsky brothers in the “Roadside Picnic”. So, it is profitable to sell the received things outside the forbidden territory.

Lina Kostenko said in one of her interviews that not those who sang “It didn’t die yet …” go to the zone, but those who love Ukraine. They go to where she has already died.

According to Stas Poloskoj, stalkers usually become those who are tired of every day and monotonous life in the city, who want to touch the history of the world’s most terrible technological disaster, who want to test their strength and endurance in an autonomous existence.

Previously, more or less adequate persons became stalkers, the obligatory principle of which was to not harm the zone, leave after going away as it was before, without drawing or destroying. But over the years, a new wave of the zone’s popularity came, and yesterday’s schoolchildren who did not differ in high IQ, who often even during the official excursion try to remove some artifact from the zone — a book, a poster, a school notebook — began to go on trips to the zone.

Stalker is a romantic at heart

Stas explains his desire to visit the exclusion zone on his own, without prying eyes and annoying control, as follows:

“.. I’m sick of a ton of licked photos from Pripyat, illustrating the atomic tragedy. I wanted something new, so I focused on life and landscapes of the Dead City, accessible only to the inquisitive eye of an illegal immigrant. I shot fantastic landscapes of the Chernobyl NPP at night, sunset, twilight, night. I’m probably a romantic at heart.”

It is stupid and careless to try to penetrate the unprepared into the Chernobyl zone on your own. One of the dangers is wild animals. There are three species of large predators that can attack humans – lynx, wolf and bear – on the territory of the zone.

Stas Poloskoj says that he himself saw foxes and wolves with signs of the first stage of rabies several times. You should also beware of snakes and hornets. And, of course, sources of radiation are among the main dangers. Everyone knows that the territory of the exclusion zone, one way or another, is contaminated with various types of radionuclides.

This is mainly gamma and beta particles. They are found mainly in the 10-kilometer zone, but there are spots in the 30-kilometer zone. Therefore, to go without a dosimeter into the zone, the stalker emphasizes, is insanity, stupidity and indifference to one’s own health.

If they caught you red-handed

Those who enter the exclusion zone without permission need to know that police officers are on duty at the checkpoint regularly, horse and foot patrols are working, and automobile detours periodically take place. In addition, the special department of the Security Service of Ukraine at the Chernobyl zone, special forces units, border guards, foresters, paramilitary guards – all these organizations will try to prevent your entry and movement through the territory of the alienation.

If you are caught, you will be fined for violating radiation safety requirements, SBU representatives will conduct a personal conversation, delete all data from DVRs, cameras, and copy your phone book. You will be registered in the Chernobyl police department. In addition, your knives and first-aid kit will be transferred for examination for a possible opening of a criminal case under articles of illegal possession of weapons, medical and narcotic drugs. If they find an “artifact” from the zone, this is a violation of the rules for handling radioactive materials, for which you will most likely be prosecuted.

The zone attracts not only with its desertedness, but also with the fact that one can hide from the law there. Therefore, according to the stalker, looters, and fugitives from places of deprivation of liberty and other illegal subjects who are hiding in the territory of exclusion pose a potential danger. Therefore, leaving the zone illegally, you should definitely take someone experienced who knows this territory well, because there are wells, cellars, snares, swamps, traps for animals that you can get into.

What you will not be shown on official excursions in Chernobyl

  • The Volkhov anti-aircraft missile system is located in the ten-kilometer exclusion zone, not far from the Chernobyl-2 over-the-horizon radar station, nicknamed by the people of Duga-1. A part was created directly to cover the Chernobyl from air attacks. The remains of a transport-charging machine, garages and a large missile caponier have been preserved on its territory barracks.
  • The Krug circle ionospheric sounding station is an auxiliary system for an over-the-horizon radar station located west of Chernobyl-2. The structure has the form of two circles, consisting of many antennas about 10 meters high.
  • Radar station class P-14 “Lena”, which was used to detect airborne objects.

Fans of extreme tourism are attracted, including equipment tanks in the villages of Buryakovka and Rassokha, located in a 30-kilometer zone. They are abandoned, but remained in good condition. There was an entourage of Soviet times, from those places little was carried out by looters. It is difficult to get there.

May 9 is a traditional Day of Remembrance in the zone. On this day, people who used to live in Chernobyl, Pripyat, the nearest villages, or were related to an alienated territory, were passing there. People have the right to be alone with their homeland. This commemoration is not only for the zone, but also for relatives, friends, home and former life.