The number of liquidators who were in Chernobyl 33 years ago and saved the world from an even bigger catastrophe at the cost of their own health is decreasing. Muscovite Igor Brekhov happened to be near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant at that time. He was called into the ranks of the Red Army to serve in the secret military unit of the air defense. It turned out that the place of service completely changed his life. Love and love of life helped Igor Brekhov to survive.
In April 1986, Igor Brekhov was 19, he served in the closed military town of Chernobyl-2. On the night of April 26 he was on duty — seven kilometers from the nuclear power plant.
Chernobyl divided his life into before and after, although then he did not think about it.
“I went out for a smoke, and there was a loud bang and a flash from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. In the morning we were told that there had been an accident and we should not leave the barracks and close the windows,” says Igor Brekhov.
On the bank of the Pripyat River, soldiers loaded contaminated sand into bags, it was then dumped from helicopters onto the blown up reactor. They helped to evacuate the military camp. Soon Igor and his colleagues were sent near Serpukhov. They were wearing the uniform polluted with radiation.
“I started having nasal bleeding, my legs became dark. They took me to a hospital in Podolsk, then to Burdenko hospital,” adds the Chernobyl victim.
Igor lost the ability to speak and stopped walking. He linked his health problems with Chernobyl.
“What was I thinking about? Killing himself. I had no strength,” he admits.
In Moscow, he had his spleen removed and his esophagus veins sewn together. Doctors did not believe he had a chance to survive. Igor said he was saved by his desire to live and love. Natasha was waiting for him to return from the army — they studied at the same vocational school and were friends. In Moscow, he found Natasha through an inquiry office.
“I saw him walking with three red carnations. I open the door, spoke to him, but he was silent and smiling. Then he pulled out the alphabet and showed me “I can’t talk”. I think it’s fate that I couldn’t say goodbye to him,” said Natalya Yablokova, Igor’s wife.
Natasha and Igor have been together for 28 years. They say their roots have become intertwined. They show old videos where they, young people, tell journalists about their misfortune and their love.
“A year ago I almost lost him. I was afraid to go to bed. I guess I didn’t sleep for a year. I jumped up and checked if he was breathing and was warm. Thank God we were lucky, he received help. Good people met us on the way, they helped us a lot,” says Natalia.
Last June, Igor received a liver transplant and was saved — before that he almost lost his speech, did not get out of bed and eventually fell into a coma. He is a lucky man, his wife says. Igor and Natasha have two daughters — Dasha and Sonya. The younger one came with Father to translate his speech which is not always clear. She read the poems that Natasha had written.
“Since then, 30 years have passed,
my father went through a lot of trouble.
The earth began to forget,
but we have to pay our respects to them.
I wish you to live and be,
my job is not to forget.”
Igor said, “The understanding of what Chernobyl was and the reassessment of this tragedy came many years later. The hardest thing now is to say goodbye to friends who are leaving us. Only a few of them are like him. The organization “Children of Chernobyl”, where Igor is a member, is headed by Eugene Misyura. His father, a military pilot, was in Chernobyl.
“When he brought home the equipment, nobody even knew why the new flight uniform was needed, suddenly there were some pipes and dosimeters on it. He said that it was supposed to be a business trip to Ukraine — the purpose of it was not clear. And he flew away without saying a word,” said Eugene Misyura.
My father returned and did not say anything. He spoke when one by one the diseases came and started to meet his acquaintances with the same symptoms at the polyclinic. It became clear that it was radiation. This is how the first organization of Chernobyl victims appeared 30 years ago. Now Chernobyl is forgotten, as well as its lessons, the Chernobyl victims and their loved ones said.
“The state has already closed this page. And people have already died,” complains Natalia.
“Mankind has gone a little bit wrong with technological progress and the use of the atom. (…)”
“Can Chernobyl happen again?”
“Oh, easily, easily,” Igor adds.
Masha Makarova, belsat.eu