Publicatie Laka-bibliotheek:
The compelling realities of Chelyabinsk

AuteurJohn M. Whiteley
Datumfebruari 1995
Classificatie (RUSLAND - MAYAK/TSJELIABINSK (incl. ramp Oeral 1957))
Opmerking Paper prepared for the conference "Critical Masses, Public Responses to the Environmental Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Production in Russia and the United States", at the University of California, Irvine, September 1993.

Uit de publicatie:

      Chelyabinsk Oblast is a region the size of the State of Indiana.
Located a thousand miles from Moscow east toward Siberia, it was
closed to foreigners until early 1992. It has a population of over
three million people with a major metropolitan center, the city of
Chelyabinsk, with over one million inhabitants.

      Looking at a map of the Chelyabinsk region , the striking
physical feature is the number of lakes, some three thousand, dotted
throughout the landscape. That beauty was well captured recently in
an announcement of an international children's ecology camp:

     "The Urals mountain chain stretches along the border
     between Europe and Asia in the very heart of Russia. The
     Urals region is not only a geographical reference point, it
     is a special region of our country with a rich history and
     unique culture and traditions.

     The earliest explorers from the European part of Russia
     started developing the Urals region as long ago as the
     16th century. The 18th century saw the start of rapid
     industrial growth, and our region became a metallurgical
     canter of the Russian Empire.

     The Urals, the most ancient mountains on the Eurasian
     continent, are not high .      They do not excite the
     imagination like the Caucasus or Pamirs, but real
     treasures lie hidden in their hearts.

     The Urals region is beautiful in any season: in winter
     when the ground is covered with a white veil of snow, in
     summer when the depth of the azure sky competes with
     the unruffled surface of more than 3000 lakes, in spring
     when the first greenery appears and forest meadows are
     strewn with flowers, and in autumn when the frost
     flames with brilliant foliage in crimson and gold.

The invitation went on to describe the broader Southern Urals region
as an important scientific, industrial, and cultural center for Russia.
But it was beauty to which the text of the invitation returned:

      "... a picturesque part of the Southern Urals surrounded
      by ancient mountains covered with beautiful primordial
      forests. Pine forests and birch groves create not only a
      sense of inimitable beauty, but also a unique climate.
      Our (the camp's) guests will enjoy clean , fresh air,
      gather herbs, mushrooms, and berries, and swim in clear
      waters of Sungul Lake."

      By way of sharp contrast, the industrial character of
Chelyabinsk City has a very different environmental quality from
that around Sungul Lake. Daniel Sneider of the Chrjstjan Scjence
Monitor described the urban environment as follows:

      •Beyond the worn slopes of the southern Ural mountains,
      the horizon of empty snow-covered Siberian lands is
      broken only by forests of smokestacks, belching grey
      smoke into the perpetual twilight. Here, close to the
      deposits of coal and iron ore and beyond the reach of
      invaders, Joseph Stalin built the sprawling steel mills
      and arms plants that were the bedrock of Soviet

      The pre-revolutional settlement of 75,000 hardy souls in
      Chelyabinsk has grown into a city of 1.2 million, its
      broader avenues and stolid structures indistinguishable
      from the other products of assembly-line Soviet

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