Monologue About Lies and Truths
The problem of Chernobyl presents itself first of all as a problem of self-understanding.
The most reliable "robots" were the soldiers. They were christened the "green robots" (by the color of their uniforms). Three thousand six hundred soldiers worked on the roof of the ruined reactor. They were young guys. They're dying now, too, but they understand that if it wasn't for them... These are people who came from a certain culture, the culture of the great achievement. They were a sacrifice. There was a moment when there existed the danger of a nuclear explosion, and they had to get the water out from under the reactor, so that a mixture of uranium and graphite wouldn’t get into it — with the water they would have formed a critical mass.
They forgot about the cars and apartments they promised — but that’s not whey they dove! Not for material, least of all for the material promises. Those people don’t exist anymore, just the documents in our museum, with their names. But what if they hadn’t done it? In terms of our readiness for self-sacrifice, we have no equals. 我一直在思考，在一种政治体制或者文化下，人们都拥有的自我奉献的精神究竟是好是坏。细细想来却觉得有些可怕，因为这些为了崇高的理想而存在的牺牲却往往可以为可鄙的上位者所利用，成为他们政治阶梯的踏脚石，亦或是掩盖错误的遮羞布。就像基辛格说的，苏联时候的年轻人，我们上山下乡的年轻人究竟为那个时代带来了什么？只是融进了时代的背景，成为了历史的缩影罢了。所以有时候也会觉得亚当斯说的如果社会中的每个人都努力自私的活到他们的最好，那么整个社会就会欣欣向荣，这也许也很好。
Four hundred miners who worked round the clock to blast a tunnel under the reactor? They needed a tunnel into which to pour liquid nitrogen and freeze the earthen pillow, as the engineers call it. Otherwise, the reactior would have gone into the groundwater. So there were miners from Moscow, Kiev, Dniepropetrovsk. I didn't read about them anywhere. But they were down there naked, with temperatures reaching fifty degrees Celsius, rolling little cars before them while crouching down on all fours.There were hundreds of Roentgen. Now they're dying. But if they hadn't done this? I consider them heroes, not victims, of a war, which supposedly never happened. They call it an accident, a catastrophe. But it was a war. The Chernobyl monuments look like war monuments.三十四万人的投入啊，这就是一场战争，苏联自己的核战争。
Why do we keep hovering around death?
Chernobyl -- we won't have another world now. At first, it tore the ground from under our feet, and it flung pain at us for real, but now we realize that there won't be another world, and there's nowhere to turn to. The sense of having settled, tragically, on this land -- it's a completely different worldview. People returning from the war were called a "lost" generation. We're also lost. The only thing that hasn't changed is human suffering. It's our only capital. It's invaluable!
An enemy diversion. A lot of people at the time thought that. But I remembered how I'd once been on a train with a man who worked in construction who told me about the building of the Smolensk nuclear plant: how much cement, boards, nails, and sand was stolen from the construction site and sold to neighboring villages. In exchange for money, for a bottle of vodka. 万法皆空，因果不空。如果苏联不曾作那么多恶，又何至于在这有着改革的丝微希望时遇上切尔诺贝利爆炸？气数已尽，国家当亡。这大概就是为什么这本书被禁了吧。
We didn't know that death could be so beautiful. Though I wouldn't say that it had no smell -- it wasn't a spring or an autumn smell, but something else, and it wasn't the smell of earth. My throat tickled and my eyes watered. I thought it right then -- something isn't right, something has changed forever. We didn't understand then that the "peaceful" atom could kill, that man is helpless before the laws of physics.
There were so many military vehicles -- that's when I grew frightened. But I couldn't shake the feeling that this was all happening to someone else. I was crying, looking for food, sleeping, hugging my son, calming him down, but inside, this constant sense that I was just an observer.
Many had heart attacks and strokes, right there at the train stations, on the buses. I was saved by my mother. She'd lived a long time and had lost everything more than once. The first time was in the 1930s, they took her cow, her horse, her house. The second time, there'd been a fire, the only thing she'd saved was me. Now she said, "We have to get through it. After all, we're alive." 兴，百姓苦，亡，百姓苦。千古箴言，不分国界。
Chernobyl happened, and suddenly you got this new feeling, we weren't used to it, that each person's life was completely separate from everyone else's. But now you had to think: What are you eating, what are you feeding your kids? What's dangerous, what isn't? Should you move to another place, or should you stay? Everyone had to make her own decisions. And we were used to living -- how? As an entire village, as a collective -- a factory, a collective farm. We were Soviet people, we were collectivized. Then we changed. Everything changed. It takes a lot of work to understand this. And also there's our inability to speak out. 这里终于解释了之前每个人都强调的『不懂发生了什么』，现在我终于明白，他们不懂的不是切尔诺贝利爆炸有多么的可怕，他们不是不懂他们以及他们后代的生活将会被彻底改变，他们真正不懂的是在这个一统意识的国家里为什么还会有灾难降临，在国家抛弃他们的时候他们该怎样生存，他们该如何作为个体选择未来不同的人生。这对于现代个体自由的我们仿佛很难理解，我也无法体会到他们的心情。
Monologue About Answers
Chernobyl is the catastrophe of the Russian mind-set. I agree with those who write that it wasn’t just the reactor that exploded, but an entire system of values. We were raised with a particular Soviet form of paganism, which said that man was the crown of all creation, that it was his right to do anything he wanted with the world. The Michurin formula: “We can’t wait for favors from Mother Nature, we must take them from her ourselves.” It was an attempt to teach people the qualities that they didn’t naturally possess. We had the psychology of oppressors. Now everyone talks about God. But why didn’t they look for Him in the Gulag, or the jail cells of 1937, or at the Party meetings of 1948 when they started denouncing cosmopolitanism, or under Khrushchev when they were wrecking the old churches? The contemporary subtext of Russian religious belief is sly and false. 爆炸的不仅仅是切尔诺贝利，还有苏联人对于“人定胜天”的信仰。
But it's only now that nuclear energy has fallen so low and been shamed. But for my generation -- in 1945, when they first dropped the atom bomb, I was seventeen years old. I loved science fiction, I dreamt of traveling to other planets, and I decided that nuclear energy would take us into the cosmos. I enrolled at the Moscow Energy Institute and learned that the most top-secret department was the nuclear energy department. In the fifties and sixties, nuclear physicists were the elite, they were the best and brightest. In out world everything was a secret. The physicists got the high salaries, and the secrecy added to the romance. It was the cult of physics, the era of physics! Even when Chernobyl blew up, it took a long time to part with that cult. They’d call up scientists, scientists would fly into Chernobyl on a special charter, but many of them didn’t even bring their shaving kits, they thought they’d be there just a few hours. Just a few hours, even though they knew a reactor had blown up. They believed in their physics, they were of the generation that believed in it. But the era of physics ended at Chernobyl. 最后一句说得好心酸。切尔诺贝利的爆炸就如同泰坦尼克号的沉没，挑战了人们的认知。而切尔诺贝利更严重的动摇了人民对核对物理的信仰与追崇。
The regions waited for directions from the oblast, the oblast from Minsk, and Minsk from Moscow. It was a long, long chain, and at the end of it a few people made the decisions. We turned out to be defenseless. That was the main feeling in those days. A few people were deciding our fate, the fate of millions. At the same time, a few people could kill us all. They weren’t maniacs, and they weren’t criminals. They were just ordinary workers at a nuclear power plant. When I understood that, I experienced a very strong shock. Chernobyl opened an abyss, something beyond Kolyma, Auschwitz, the Holocaust. 古今多少人追权逐利，只为命运不被他人主宰。
Russians just aren't about to start thinking only of themselves, of their own lives, to think that way. Our politicians are incapable of thinking about the value of an individual life, but then we're not capable of it either. Does that make sense? We're just not built that way. We're made of different stuff. 不，我还是不信，又或者难以理解。俄罗斯人目光超越个体的这个本性也许只是那个时代，体制，文化的产物。现在还是不是这样呢？