Chernobyl victims on hunger strike outside President’s Administration
On Monday, 12 September those involved in attempts to eliminate the consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster began an indefinite hunger strike outside the President’s Administration. Over a hundred gathered on Monday. Most are members of the civic organization “73rd Special Defence Battalion”, the organization’s head Volodymyr Reznik.
The Chernobyl victims’ demands include: providing housing; raising pensions; proper medical security and being attached to a military hospital.
The men, who in 1986 spent whole days at the Chernobyl site without any means of protection, are trying to draw officialdom’s attention to the problems they face. They carried banners with bitter statements such as “We liquidated first. Now they’re liquidating us first”,
Volodymyr Reznik says that the 73rd Battalion was taken away from Chernobyl after the liquidation attempts and forgotten about by the authorities. Of the 750 people, only around 100 are still alive and all invalids. He says that there is no legislative base for these people. Their numerous letters have received only fob-off answers. Letters to the President were answered with “Your demands have been passed to the Cabinet of Ministers” and requests for a meeting with him “not deemed possible”
They point out that on 28 April they were promised by Prime Minister Azarov that they would be provided with flats and state awards, yet this has not been done.
They report also that in order to receive pensions, they need to provide a certificate confirming that they worked as liquidators. Yet in the Ministry of Health Archives they are told that the relevant journal was destroyed because of its highly-radioactive state.
Since the beginning of the year two people have died during Chernobyl victims; protests while during this hunger strike, ambulances have been sent out everyday.