In Stalking the Atomic City (which was published in English yesterday), Markiyan Kamysh reports visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone multiple times per year starting 2010, often for a week at a time or more. Perhaps this is answered later, but how has he avoided radiation-related illness while doing this? How much of a risk is he taking health-wise with the activities described in the book?


1 Answer 1


Yes, he is. The author took substantial risks, even going so far as to travel on a boat across the cooling pond by Reactor 4 (which was the reactor that melted down), a trip that the author describes as "arrogant and exotic."

The author himself acknowledges the risk he's taking towards the end of the book:

Sometimes the Zone can be a truly dangerous place. Which trajectories and routes might lead you to trouble here? Which signs are good and allow you to bypass police ambushes and border checkpoints? What are the laws measuring how safe this or that route is and how many million impressions you can fit on a square inch of this poisoned soil? What are the chances that wolves won't tear me to pieces tomorrow? How much time do I have left to live, given the hundreds of liters of poisoned water I've drunk? I don't know.

... They'll ask me, "You come here so often. Aren't you afraid of the radiation?" And I'll tell them, "No, it's only here that life won't slip by me, for I'm living it in the most exotic place on Earth."

When people ask me about my health, I really have no idea what to tell them. Yes, it's very harmful. It's a bad idea to drink water from poisonous lakes, utility tunnels, swamps, and ditches filled with scrap metal and the corpses of roe deer. But life often happens to us, and sometimes death does, too. Sometimes we're given good health, and sometimes we're harmed. And I firmly believe that, in two decades, I will meet those boys and girls who kept me company during my travels around the Zone in the chemotherapy room of a nice cancer clinic in Kyiv. And I know that we'll smile at each other. We'll smile at a life that challenges you and dictates where you should walk, how you should live, and what you should breathe. After all, we're the children of our time. Where else could we be?

So, by the author's own admission, he has taken very substantial risks.

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