Chernobyl and Soviet System

Pursuing high productivity was the primary goal of the society, and hence a completion of projects in the shortest possible period of time was considered as the true measurement of success. The implication of that structure of the Soviet system was the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in which the safety test procedures were not conducted in accord with standard safety regulations, and the plant operators rushed the testing to an extent that further violated the safety standards to meet the operating schedule (Dobbs). As a result, these operator’s errors because of the communist philosophy triggered potential problems, and that the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant actually occurred. Subsequently, the Chernobyl disaster was a symbol of the Soviet failure.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Despite the first catastrophe of the accident was the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant itself, the process that the Soviet government dealt with the Chernobyl crisis remained a classic Soviet cover-up (Plokhy). The firefighters were never informed of a nuclear fire and the possibility of nuclear radiation poisoning. Accordingly, those firemen used water and standard fire-retardant chemicals to extinguish the fire, but high temperature of the radioactive fire vaporized the substances, erupting a massive cloud of contaminants into the atmosphere. Due to lacking information, most of those firefighters did not wear their radiation suits and hence died within few months because of exposing to high doses of radiation (Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident).

Communist Party Principles

In addition, in order to perpetuate and justify the Communist party principles, as well as to protect the image of communism as the ideal and perfect system, the officials and institutes were required to only publicize what the Party chose to announce. Under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet government neither announced the residents nor informed the international community of the nuclear accident (Shlyakhter and Richard 252-253). In particular, Chernobyl’s intercity phone was cut off, and the workers and engineers at the nuclear plant were prohibited from sharing news of what was happening with their friends or relatives. During the time, state authorities wore respirators, whereas residents only heard misinformation. As a result, this cover-up was tragic itself that led to thousands of deaths and millions of affected victims of radioactive exposure. Until the Swedish nuclear plant scientists in Forsmark noticed erratically high radiation levels and determined the source from the Ukraine, the Soviet authorities had to admit the accident and began an evacuation program.