The Chernobyl disaster in the KGB documents
The Chernobyl disaster in the KGB documents

Today we have the opportunity to get acquainted with many documents from the KGB archive, which have been labeled “top secret” for more than thirty years.

…It`s June 27, 1986, on the calendar. The OCHA staff prepared another secret report for the leadership “On the situation in the Kiev region in connection with the Chernobyl accident”. There are its main points in this article.

“06/27/1986. The Office of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR in the city of Kiev and the Kiev region continued to study existing and emerging problems in the areas of the Kiev region affected by the Chernobyl accident. The main elements that determine the situation in the affected areas are the lack of public awareness of the radiation contamination of the area, a decrease in the supply of clean food, inadequate medical care, and problems of resettlement of residents from the most polluted villages of the Polessky region.

Currently, the relevance of the task of creating a complete and objective picture of the radiation situation for each settlement, farmstead, all areas of farmland, forests, water bodies, determines all further work on the organization of safe living of the population, including decontamination, and, if necessary, resettlement.

Hot question: The performed airborne gamma survey does not provide complete information on the distribution of radionuclides in the most polluted areas, which in turn confuses the determination of radioactive contamination zones.

It should be noted that the first attempts to separate the zones of resettlement and control of radioactive contamination revealed significant problems of objective determination of boundaries. The territories of a number of farms can be attributed to the zone of unconditional resettlement and guaranteed voluntary resettlement with areas of enhanced radiation control due to the uneven distribution of radionuclides.

This circumstance, in turn, will affect the socio-political aspects associated with resettlement, housing, payment of benefits and compensations to persons living in the respective areas. An important aspect of maintaining the proper level of life of the affected areas is providing the population with clean food, effective medical care and health-resort treatment.

A common problem for the affected areas is the provision of clean food.

Despite the food shortage in the regions, funds were cut by another 1 thousand tons of meat products and 19.5 thousand tons of dairy products. Significantly less than the required for baby food, canned meat, fruit and vegetable products, juices, and milk concentrates are allocated.

It is alarming that not a single special complex of baby food production facilities was commissioned after 5 years after the Chernobyl accident.

In addition, the order of the State Agricultural Committee of the Ukrainian SSR No. 31 dated 02.14.1991 “On liability for violation of radiation safety requirements, procurement, processing and marketing of radioactive contaminated food products”, in the absence of sufficiently effective radiation control, forced the Polesskiy region administration to drastically reduce the number of large cattle (for 9 thousand heads, 3 thousand heads prepared for shipment to meat processing plants), which, in turn, will significantly reduce regional consumption funds for relatively clean meat product itself.

Polesskaya district sanitary and epidemiological station is not able to provide an express analysis of a number of rapidly deteriorating food products entering the region. Research results are often obtained after the sale of products. Radiation monitoring of food products produced and consumed by rural areas is at an extremely low level against this background. These circumstances made a certain negative contribution to the rather complicated socio-political situation in the region.

Medicine is a weak link

Along with certain changes in the organization of medical services for the population of the affected areas, the creation of additional specialized services, the strengthening of the material and technical equipment of medical institutions and the retraining of personnel, medicine remains one of the weakest links in the whole complex of works to eliminate the consequences of the accident.

The central region hospitals (Polessky, Ivankovsky, Vyshgorod regions) cannot cope with providing assistance to the population due to the shortage of specialists of the corresponding profile, special equipment. 30 doctors are still lacking in the Polessky district, 29 – in Ivankovsky. There is a shortage of ultrasound, endoscopic and radiometric equipment. Not one object of the endocrinological and oncological dispensaries planned for construction has been launched yet.

The urgent issue is the creation of a regional rehabilitation center for the affected population. Meanwhile, there are shortcomings in the issue of summer recreation of children. So, only 600 secondary school students were sent to Sevastopol from the Polessky region in May – June, while the remaining children (about 5 thousand people, and about 20 thousand in total are in the affected areas, including infants and preschool children) spend the summer months on the spot.

Only 3.5 thousand permits were allocated for 10 thousand schoolchildren planned for rehabilitation in the Vyshgorod region. A team of Japanese doctors worked in the Vyshgorod region in May. They examined children for thyroid damage and changes in the body at a mobile diagnostic laboratory delivered from Japan.

Japanese experts were bewildered after conducting a survey of 50 of the 200 children presented by the fact that all the tests were positive and no changes were found in the body. In addition, excess of permissible norms was also found in none of the samples presented for measurement of food grown in local areas.

After that, foreigners expressed the opinion that the conclusions of Soviet experts on the effects of radioactive exposure on people are exaggerated and do not correspond to reality. At the same time, their opinion partially changed after conducting similar examinations in the villages of Rudnya-Dymerskaya and Vakhovka, where pathological changes in organisms were revealed in children, and radiation levels were recorded that were 1.5–2 times higher than permissible.

This circumstance indicates that the responsible employees of the Ministry of Health of the Ukrainian SSR need to more specifically and with maximum benefit solve the issues of using foreign medical specialists in the affected areas, focusing on data on the foci of incidence due to radioactive contamination in order to clarify them and make recommendations on living conditions of the population in the area.

Housing preparedness – some flaws exist

The main element that affects the entire region of the north of the Kiev region is the resettlement of the most polluted 16 villages of the Polessky district and the inhabitants of the Polesskoye village. A fundamental factor in the resettlement is the willingness of housing in the choice of areas of the Kiev region and other regions of Ukraine. However, there are significant flaws in the organizational plan in solving this problem.

All tasks for the construction of housing for migrants are sent to the relevant areas. Moreover, in some cases, regional construction organizations are required to build not only in the territory of their region, but also in other areas, where the immigrants expressed a desire to move.

This structure of management and coordination of construction leads to the dispersal of funds, randomness and unsystematicity, respectively, delaying the timing of housing. To date, organizations of the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kharkov and other regions have not completed construction tasks. No region has virtually begun construction of planned housing for immigrants of the Polessky district.

In these circumstances, it may be necessary to create a separate construction organization that would specialize only in resolving this issue. Constant disruption of resettlement plans will continue without a radical solution to this problem.

Besides, it is necessary to introduce the practice of relocation of people (especially from villages) to social groups together with the principle of voluntariness of the choice of the territory for further residence by the migrant, i.e., with the preservation of compactness of settlements, which will save labor collectives, family ties, etc. A similar experience exists in the Byelorussian SSR”.