There is no place for pathos
There is no place for pathos

We do not tell, do not compose and do not ascribe. We unleash the memoirs of the direct fighters of the “Chernobyl war”: the memories are not pathos, and once even banned …

Vladimir Korneychuk, a retired police lieutenant general, headed the police department of the Kiev region on the day of the accident:

“… Most of the officials were shocked in the first minutes after receiving the accident report, and I also survived the shock. The only feasible solution was to immediately call firefighters from the regional units to tame the elements that got out of control. On our initiative, a radio announcement about the evacuation was made several times in the morning. Buses with police officers and representatives of the city executive committee arrived in each house. After citizens came out, as they say with a fresh eye, they checked whether all household appliances were turned off, whether gas, water was shut off …

All entrances were closed to barn locks, blocked with a burglar alarm and brought to the centralized police guard. I am convinced that the evacuation of Pripyat in a matter of hours and the conservation of the city in a few days are the examples of courage and heroism of militiamen in the first place.

It was a difficult time for the police, and the task of evacuating the villagers was especially difficult – the villagers never wanted to leave what they had gained with their labor. Not only things and home equipment were loaded onto the machines, but also cattle, hay and straw. What can I say – it was their property.

We had to work hard to stop the looting. Many lovers of easy money were detained, who did not hesitate to climb into apartments, taking everything – spoons, bed and even radiators.

There were also incidents. At one of the meetings of the government commission, the deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, Boris Shcherbina, recalled me from the hall and ordered me to stop supplying concrete trucks to Pripyat.

He said and apparently forgot, because after three hours, having received a complaint from the rescuers, he called again a meeting and asked angrily: “What kind of fool ordered to stop the supply of concrete trucks?” I stood up and answered: “You”. Laughter erupted in the hall – so those present relaxed from the stressful day. After the meeting, I went to Shcherbina and apologized for the involuntary joke.

… It is impossible not to mention the lost time and excessively wasted power, which cost a lot of health and life in those hot days. We did not know the exact number of people who lived in the contaminated area, how many of them lived in apartments, houses, dormitories.

Nothing was known about the quantity of private and state transport, objects of national economy, their material value. There were no real plans for the evacuation of the population and enterprises. There were not enough respirators, protective masks, dosimeters, and there were no reservoirs at all.

95% of the staff of the internal affairs bodies of the Kiev region were involved for the entire time of elimination of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

Find out what happened and report in detail

Tamara Burdyko, a retired police colonel, headed the investigation department of the Pripyat police on the night of the disaster:

“… The morning has come. The angry prosecutor of Pripyat arrived at the city department, he was unhappy that the operative group of investigators had not left for the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was supposed to record what happened to the reactor and then report it in detail to him. He especially attacked me, accusing of negligence. Of course, he was right – we always went to the scene of incidents or crimes. But sorry! This was not a case, but a disaster associated with an uncontrolled leakage of radioactive substances! If he is so smart, why didn’t he take care of providing the police with at least a few lead personal protective equipment, and that at least one dosimetric or a nuclear power plant specialist should be included in the task force? What could we, the police unprepared for a radioactive attack, establish among the hot graphite debris – even at the cost of our lives? I said all this in the eyes of the prosecutor. He blushed, but said nothing, and then quietly left, but never again remembered this conversation”.

Borislav Andrievsky, a retired police colonel, was in charge of the Polesskaya police at the time of the Chernobyl disaster:

“Cargo for the nuclear power plant arrived in the village of Vilcha, then it was transported by trucks. A continuous veil of radioactive dust was in the air, which partially settled only after midnight – we all breathed this dust. Frankly, it was like 1941 — the whole Polesie land was moaning!

On May 1, alcohol trading was organized on the streets of Polesskiy – a rumor went that it protects against radiation. In the meantime, a train arrived with lead bullion, which had to be urgently transported to Chernobyl, for which a hundred KamAZ trucks were allocated. Helicopters had to dump this lead into the mouth of the reactor. And so, the chief inspector of the traffic police Nikolay Trotsenko reports: all truck drivers are blotto.

What to do – disrupt the delivery? I thought and ordered the traffic police to closely monitor the road, but do not touch the drivers at KamAZ trucks. Then we’ll figure it out … Lead was transported per day, there was only one accident during this time, but there were no casualties. Of course, then they introduced the “dry” law, but it led to a sharp increase in the production of moonshine: a three-liter could cost 100 rubles – in fact, it was the average salary in the country! ”

Guys, where are you now?

Vitaliy Rozenko headed the headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in 1986, resigned as a judge of the Constitutional Court with the rank of police colonel general:

“… In the summer of 1986, the chairman of the government commission, Boris Shcherbina, set a task for the fire brigade – to dump fragments of the destroyed reactor that emitted powerful radiation from the vent pipe, making it difficult to complete the installation of the roof of the sarcophagus. The Ministry of Internal Affairs formed a group of cadets from the Kharkov and Cherkasy fire-technical schools. These young men, masters of fire-applied sports, boldly overcame the heights and “manually” performed a unique, extremely dangerous operation. They were neither volunteers nor mercenaries, but were brave, dedicated professionals, real patriots of their homeland. Guys, where are you now? ”

Maria Buzarova, a retired police major, worked as the head of the juvenile inspection of the Chernobyl police department:

“… They gave us work clothes, we called it “a robe”: a jacket, trousers, a cap, high laced shoes and a “petal” that hung on our neck, and with which we covered our faces only occasionally, during inspections. The service life of the petal is a few hours, and it was issued one for several weeks. Trousers reached armpits, and I sewed a collar, attached it over my shoulder so as not to fall off. I had Jacket to the knees, boots size 42, but I have the 34th. I could only climb the stairs with her back forward, for the shoes were half empty. I was so tormented for two days because I could not raise my legs, so they hurt. Then I put on jeans, a police shirt and sandals. And so I went all summer”.

Nikolay Dzhiga, a retired colonel-general of police, headed the Vyshgorod police in April 1986:

“… As soon as we arrived in Chernobyl, the problem of providing a place for an overnight stay arose. It was unexpected that the cleanest place was a temporary detention center, the powerful walls of which protected this room from radiation. The police officers, having washed and ordered the rooms, had to sleep in the clink … ”

A cursed bridge

Vladimir Volodin was a deputy chief of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Kiev region 33 years ago, resigned as head of the police headquarters of the region with the rank of lieutenant general:

“… Given the fine weather, most of the residents of the cityn of Pripyat left to rest in the sunny meadows on Saturday-Sunday, many were with children …. How many times I internally tried to stop them, announce a high level of radiation, advise them not to leave home, but rather, to run away from here. Unfortunately, this was forbidden. This would be qualified as “inciting the population to panic” without the decision of the state commission. For this reason, the city disconnected telephone communications.

… The evacuation began only on Monday morning. The police also got sleepy people out of their beds, briefly but patiently explaining why it was necessary to immediately leave the apartment: in connection with the accident, for decontamination, for only a few days. Why is that? None of the law enforcement officers knew this. This was the setting of the state commission.

… I met a friend on the damned Pripyat bridge, he was the head of the Ivankovsky DMV, a major Melnichenko. The healthy young man himself controlled the movement, sincerely laughed due to the radiation commotion, and, frankly, sowed doubt in me about the seriousness of the danger. Soon, I learned that he died. Precisely because he stood for a long time on that cursed bridge.

Igor Burtseva retired colonel of internal service, was a deputy head of the regional police department at the time of the Chernobyl disaster:

“… I remember May 5, when the population of the Chernobyl region was evacuated and the town was empty, the driver of the car I was driving, police sergeant G. Svyatenko came and said that there was no operator at the city gas station, everyone was refueling with gasoline. I had to urgently put up a police post to avoid an unforeseen emergency. In the evening, the power supply was cut off, the city plunged into darkness, and only above Pripyat there was a glow”.

Anatoly Katsyuba was a deputy head of the personnel department of the Internal Affairs Directorate at the time of the Chernobyl accident, resigned with the rank of police major-general:

“… If the residents of Pripyat and the liquidators had taken potassium iodide and calcium preparations in the first hours after the accident, then they would have protected 90% of the body from the penetration of radioactive iodine. At the same time, as it became known later, these drugs lay forgotten in the Chernobyl NPP warehouses.

… I remember that on May 6 the regional executive committee adopted an order regarding the mandatory shooting of cats and dogs. It was a disgusting, but necessary decision — the animals carried radiation. As of May 26, almost 12 thousand dogs and cats were shot by specially created groups of hunters…”

George Zozulya, a retired police colonel, headed the Department of Private Security of the Kiev region:

“… After the evacuation of the inhabitants of Pripyat and Chernobyl, many objects remained in the cities where jewelry, weapons, drugs, money, archives were stored. On May 6 and 7, poisonous and narcotic substances were taken out of the Pripyat pharmacies, gold and jewelry were transferred for storage to Borodyansky department store … ”

Riot on the board of AN-24

Anatoly Korulya, a retired colonel of internal service, headed the medical service of the police department of the Kiev region from 1986 until his retirement:

“On the night of April 27, together with the chief of the Borispol regional department and the military of the airfield, we arrived at the An-24 plane, which was supposed to fly to Moscow. An unpleasant incident occurred after placing the deadly irradiated firefighters on board: a crew of five Moscow military pilots refused to deliver the injured to the capital, citing the high level of radiation in the cabin. The deputy chairman of the Pripyat city executive committee and the Major of Konopolsky had no choice but to explain to the cowards that since refusal to rescue the liquidator heroes would inevitably lead to their death, the actions of the aircraft crew would be regarded as aiding the death of these people – they would be detained and sent to temporary detention facility. Such an argument acted on the pilots instantly – they “willingly agreed” to fulfill their civic duty. I remember how I brought on my hands the mutilated body of a 28-year-old guy on board the liner – the young face disfigured by radiation was like an inanimate, only his parched lips barely whispered: “Mom …”

The lack of change of clothes sometimes led to funny cases. On the first day of the sanitary inspection room, all police officers underwent decontamination at the exit from the zone, the uniform was very “dirty”, and, of course, was subject to destruction. It was confiscated, but many did not get anything to change, because there was not enough clothing.

After a telephone conversation with the deputy chief of the Internal Affairs Directorate, Ivan Shtanko, they decided to take clothes at the pre-trial detention center warehouses, where they were enough. Subsequently, they brought for dressing up … the “robes” of the convicts. The guys were in them while the support service was preparing a changing form for business travelers.

Tasks are set by the edge – do not run away, do not hide

Ivan Kotsyura, a colonel of the internal service in reserve, was a deputy head of the Fire Department of the Kiev region on the day of the Chernobyl accident:

“… April 26, at a meeting of the Government Commission, its chairman Boris Shcherbina tells me: “ You see the reactor is on fire? Go and organize its suppression…”. Tasks are set, as they say, with an edge – not to run away, not to hide behind the backs of others. And there is no way to explain to the commission that this is an exceptional case: the “quenching” of nuclear fuel at a temperature of + 1300 degrees can entail even greater tragedy from the explosion – the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen. Nobody wanted to be extreme, but someone had to become one. At that moment, Scherbina frowned, looking that I hesitated, then I abruptly got up and blurted out: “Let’s be a dosimetrist!”

Shcherbina gave the appropriate command, and I jumped out of the office.

Then I had to make very non-standard and risky decisions. They acted on the verge of a foul, even now, when I remember what I was going to and what it could lead to – my heart is beating violently … I am still proud that I put up a post with a fire engine on the road to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant already at seven in the morning, five hours after the explosion, in order to block the path of inevitable death to all the curious Then the radiation reached 500 rem in the district…

Then it was even hotter – hundreds of law enforcement officers were thrown into trouble. But I didn’t see this – on April 28, the secretary of the party committee of the Internal Affairs Directorate M. Pilipchuk took me, insensitive, to the hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine … ”

These are just a few memories of the heroes and liquidators, among whom are engineers, doctors, scientists, military, foresters, transport workers. We are grateful to you, courageous and fearless heroes …