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From Chechnya to Chernobyl

From Chechnya to Chernobyl

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled wars and political turmoil in Chechnya, Tajikistan, Georgia and Azerbaijan in order to find peace in the radioactive pastures surrounding Chernobyl, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986.

'I prefer living with radiation over living in a war zone,' says one former resident of Chechnya.

The tiny, little-known country of Belarus has suffered more than any other in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. Winds scattered the heaviest radioactive deposits across the country, where after a decade 25% of the land is still judged uninhabitable. Thousands of villages and towns were abandoned or evacuated, and their populations resettled to safer areas.

When Russian-speaking filmmaker Slawomir Grunberg heard that local governments were encouraging people to resettle the irradiated villages, he decided to go there with his camera. His film documents the latest twist in the Chernobyl disaster and the evolution of the former Soviet republics.

In the village of Raduga he met the Tsiplaevs, an ethnic Russian family from Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Like many, they've chosen to risk their health, and the health of their children's children, in exchange for a life without the constant fears of living in a war zone.

'A unique film that covers a topic of which most of us are unaware. This intriguing documentary is recommended for an undergraduate college curriculum that would cover modern European history or current events.' Kathleen Loomis, Electronic Resources Librarian, SUNY-Fredonia MC Journal

'This is a beautiful piece that deeply moved several of us. Your entry is a touching portrayal of the plight of people torn by war and a grim reminder that the specter of Chernobyl is still with us - captivating, artistic, and well-written.' Katherine Knight, EarthVision Coordinator

'Grunberg does a skillful job of portraying the bleak choices that the people of the former Soviet Union face. This video is a good supplement for classes on environmental politics, post-Soviet studies, and international relations.' Amit Gupta, Asst. Prof., Political Science, Stonehill College

'Provides a unique perspective on both the post-Soviet conflicts and the problems of refugees.' Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution


Main credits

Grünberg, Slawomir (filmmaker)
Grünberg, Slawomir (film producer)
Grünberg, Slawomir (photographer)
Grünberg, Slawomir (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Photographed & edited by Slawomir Grünberg, Jason Longo; translation from Russian, Elena Dubrovsky; English voice, Jane Greenberg; music, Brian Aumueller.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Conflict Resolution
Developing World
European Studies
Human Rights
International Studies
Migration and Refugees
Nuclear Energy
Political Science
Russian/Slavic Studies
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Toxic Chemicals
War and Peace


Chechnya, Chernobyl, refugees, radiation, nuclear accident; "From Chechnya to Chernobyl"; Bullfrog Films

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