Statement by the XXIX Session of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic

On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident

Thirty years ago Belarus faced the most severe industrial and environmental disaster in its history. As a result of an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, large amount of radioactive material was thrown into the atmosphere, up to 70% of which fell onto the territory of Belarus.

The BNR Rada states that Belarus has suffered more than any other country from the Chernobyl catastrophe, and that the accident’s effects will be felt in Belarus for many centuries. A third of Belarus’s territory has been contaminated by the radioactive fallout; large areas became unsuitable for human habitation. Belarus has seen a sharp rise in deceases caused by the Chernobyl disaster – above all, cancer.

The BNR Rada declares that the totalitarian Communist regime – both the central government in Moscow and the local Soviet occupation authorities in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic – bears the full responsibility for the Chernobyl catastrophe and its effects on Belarus:

– The Chernobyl accident itself was a result of the flawed Soviet economic management, faulty Soviet technologies, and errors made at the design and construction stages of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant;

– Following the accident and up until the point when the radioactive fallout reached Western Europe the Communist authorities tried to conceal or understate the scale of the catastrophe;

– The Communist high officials’ behaviour during the first, most critical, days after the accident amounted to criminal inaction, as they were holding mass outdoor public events instead of warning the population to take necessary protective precautions;

– According to the information available today the Soviet air force deliberately condensed clouds containing radioactive particles over the areas of eastern and south-eastern Belarus, in order to prevent the radioactivity from reaching Russia and Moscow.

The BNR Rada draws attention to the fact that Belarus has not received any compensation related to the Chernobyl catastrophe, neither from the central Soviet government at the time, nor from the Russian Federation as the USSR’s legal successor.

The BNR Rada notes that since the 1990s the regime of Alexander Lukashenka has been implementing a policy of re-cultivation of the Chernobyl-contaminated areas, as well as has repressed those scientists who warned against the risks of this policy. Contaminated areas have been in use for agricultural production. Benefits have been taken away from persons who were involved in fighting the Chernobyl power plant accident. Moreover, the regime of Alexander Lukashenka is constructing a nuclear power plant in Astraviec, close to the border with the Lithuanian Republic, without having had any proper public discussion of this project, while lacking a democratic mandate from the people of Belarus, and using Russian contractors and Soviet-developed technologies.

The BNR Rada calls for responsible policies in the energy sector, in agriculture and in area development, in order to avoid a new Chernobyl-type accident, and to be overcoming the aftermath of the 1986 catastrophe in an effective manner.

The BNR Rada demands a freeze of the construction of the nuclear power plant in Astraviec until this issue has been a matter of a full-scale, open and fair debate in the society of Belarus.

19 March 2016

Statement in PDF