“She mourns for her daughter, and for their former home. “From the first day we came to Pripyat, I never wanted to leave. It was paradise. Everywhere there were roses and fruit trees, we could fish in the river and pick mushrooms in the forest. It seemed the place had been created especially for us.”
tChernobyl 30 years on: former residents remember life in the ghost city of Pripyat
The thing about being the victim of something horrible, a crime or a disaster maybe, is that you automatically lose your identity. You will always be known more for the event than anything you ever accomplished in your life. This is true of people and it’s true of entire cities. It’s true of Pripyat, the ghost city in the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl. The name itself was fading into obscurity on this side of the world until a recent TV mini-series exhumed it. The city though, and the people who lived there, had identities before the #4 reactor shit the bed in such a horrific fashion. It’s more these identities that pique my curiosity, having heard and read about the events of April 4, 1986 and beyond. It’s the sense of pride and place that the residents of Pripyat had. It’s the vision of the future they shared and their community It’s the future that never happened, that apparently they still mourn.
I’m probably overstepping my knowledge of their past and culture, but I believe I hear the loss in a lot of the music of the region and the time. It seems, considering some of this mix is newer, that they’re still feeling it.
Russian nostalgia for Soviet Union reaches 13-year high.
So what’s the nostalgia about? Is it just plain certainty? Is it the convenience of a pre-set, pre-manufactured identity? That sure seems to give comfort to a lot of people here. Rose-colored glasses aren’t specific to the post-Soviets. And Nationalism seems to be as intoxicating anywhere you look.
Lack of a collective, Utopian vision of the future… that’s how my son worded it, and he said that his is the first generation without one, despite that some of his contemporaries are actively clinging the bloated corpse of my generation’s distorted vision
Anyway, nostalgia. Melancholy. Hauntology.
People seemed to have loved Pripyat. Chernobyl really was the final nail in the coffin for the Soviets, wasn’t it? But dreams end when we wake up.