Monday, January 28, 2013

Did Chernobyl cause the implosion of the Soviet Union (rather than Ronald Reagan's pressure)?

Mark Joseph Stein has a fascinating op-ed on Slate ("The Big Questions"), offering the theory that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in April 1986 in the Ukraine led to the total collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day, 1991 (the country pretended it could exist as a “Commonwealth of Independent States” for a while). 
The link for the story (offered by the Washington Post) is here

Until Chernobyl, Soviet citizens had believed that life could gradually get better within the confines of the heavily regulated and bureaucratic hypersocialist state.  After the accident, it seemed “unsustainable”.

The Soviets even tried to spread the risk by shipping slightly contaminated food to other areas.
Miles O’Brien recalls the event for PBS News Hour:

Wikipedia attribution link of picture of abandoned city of Pripyat, with Chernobyl in the distance. 

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