"Samosely" of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Residents of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

    "Samosely" are people who, after the evacuation of 1986, returned to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The term “homeowners” was introduced by journalists, people never call themselves that, it’s even insulting to them: “like this, we returned to our homes, and we are also called names.”


    In one grandmother, journalists interviewed and asked: “why did you return here?” The answer was simple - this is homesickness. It is clear that there is a house in which four generations have lived, and here he is asked to leave, not everyone could. Someone refused to evacuate altogether, people hid in the forests, lived almost in dugouts, drowned houses only at night so that smoke could not be seen.


    But, nevertheless, there are several significant reasons why people returned to the restricted area.


    The first is that, after the construction of the Sarcophagus, the Soviet government declared victory over the “peaceful atom”. Accordingly, people thought - "the atom is defeated, the sarcophagus is built, so we will return soon." Mostly elderly people returned. These are those people who have drawn up a pension, and they do not need to go somewhere, get a job. There is a penny, there is a garden and the Pripyat River which feeds.


    The decisions of the Kiev Oblast Executive Committee and the Government Commission for 1986 referred to the temporary (up to 3 months) evacuation of residents of the Chernobyl region (except for the city of Pripyat). This prompted some of the evacuees to return home in the fall of 1986, and most of them returned in the spring of 1987, before the start of field work. In the certificates of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1987, a surge of "returnees" was recorded - more than 1200 people.


    Second moment. After the Chernobyl disaster, 162 new settlements were built in Ukraine, in particular 41,777 new houses. But then they tried to do everything very quickly and were simply silent about the quality of the new houses. There were cases when in winter the walls of the new house were covered with ice. Yes, someone insulated, modified, but to some it seemed completely unsuitable for normal living.


    In subsequent years, people were compensated in the form of apartments. Sitting in four walls - changing your lifestyle, for an older person it is not entirely comfortable.


    Neither the South of Ukraine, in particular to the Crimea, resettled many people. There, agricultural and climatic conditions differ from those in Polesie, there are mostly sandy terrain. People could not manage their households properly, and therefore returned.


    Today in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 114 "Samosely". Most of them live in the city of Chernobyl, in the private sector, the rest are scattered in villages located near the Pripyat River. The main source of livelihood for these people is a household farm, as well as picking mushrooms, berries, fishing, and sometimes hunting.

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