Twenty Years And A Day

Abandoned Carnival Rides in Pripyat, near Chernobyl.

Mark Nelson’s Pripyat series on flickr is full of the pictures of desolation that people seem to be looking for as we solemnly honor the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Google added high-resolution satellite photos of the area yesterday, and offers both stories and photo galleries to help us remember.

It is there that I learned that Rimma Kiselica, the woman who has guided so many of those who’ve reported from the dead-zone, died on March 19.

Meanwhile, it turns out that people have started to graffiti the town. Mary Mycio, who wrote Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl, takes great offense at such things:

For someone like me, who considers Pripyat a monument — with universal lessons about folly, tragedy and our complex relationship with our planet — this approaches desecration.

While I respect Pripyat as a monument, Mark’s picture above does make me wonder. In a command economy, who orders somebody to make bumper cars or other carnival rides? How did the Soviet system work for such things?