Elena revisits Chernobyl – again

In my earlier post, Revisiting Hell, I introduced you to Elena, the Russian biker, who rode through Chernobyl on a motorcycle and took some quietly chilling pictures of a place where time stopped 18 years ago.


She has returned to Chernobyl again and has updated her photojournal with additional pictures and text. She tells a compelling story with occasional touches of dark humor in her eloquent broken English.

Do not miss this update. It contains a close-up shot of the reactor which turned the whole region into a dead zone which will might last for an estimated 900 years.

Many thanks to the Commissar for spotting her return. Visit his site for more comments and for URLs of mirror sites. Elena’s photojournal has generated so much interest that the original site is occasionally slow to download.

Bloggers are an amazing community. Elena’s return was originally spotted on 3/4/04 by Jessica’s Well, the Community Web Log on Media, Government, and Politics in Midland, Texas. I missed that point when I first read the Commissars post. You owe it to yourselves to visit this two year old site and meet a perceptive and entertaining group of bloggers. Their mix of local and global viewpoints offers an interesting glimpse of the potential for bloggers to exert influence.

UPDATE:  Now you can tour Chernobyl and write your own story.

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0 Responses to Elena revisits Chernobyl – again

  1. oldcatman says:

    14 chapters later (I’ll finish later too)………..
    I have a habit of when watching documentaries
    on TV of invisioning being at the area being shown…I did this here and it was frightening!
    Goosebumps! The whole ‘9 yards’ of fear……Wow!
    The most striking thing to me were the wolf
    packs….The wolf is my “spirit animal” and I have always thought that when MAN destroys himself
    on this earth, that the wolves will come back
    and reclaim the earth that MAN has destroyed….
    enough said.

  2. Seeing the wild horses gave me the same feeling.

    It is a sobering example of man’s capacity to destroy his environment.

  3. Carrie says:

    Her updates are amazing. That’s one brave woman!

  4. Natalie says:

    The link and kind words are much appreciated!


  5. george says:

    Does anyone have a contact….an e-mail address for Elena, the Russian Chernobyl motorclyclist?

    I am trying to contact her because we may wish to have her article printed in our magazine and need to negotiate rights.


  6. Bruce Sikes says:

    Russian-Ukrainian chicks are crazy! Or maybe it’s just bikers! Elena is one tough and smart babe. Seriously, a nice bit of journalism and a poignant reality check of the power of nukes…

    Bruce Sikes
    St. Louis, Missouri USA

  7. Dan Sinclair says:

    That Is one chilling Photo-Essay
    and I to would like Elena’s E-Mail address
    we have put a link to her web-site but would also like to talk with her about her journey
    and any more she may have done of is planning

  8. Lee Cooper says:

    Her journal, both photographic and written, is very moving. She has been able to capture in picture and words the feelings that must have been experienced by those there during this awful tragedy.

    I, too, would like her email to congratulate her on her prowess and journalistic ability.

  9. I have not been able to find her email address.

    This was Elena’s message to visitors on her site:

    Photos on this site are mostly mine or from my dad’s archive. Few pictures were taken by other photographers. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of authors of those photos because I received them through the internet.

    If authors of those pictures can be found and want me to remove or add their names or include more photos on this site, here is my contact address.

    Ukraine 03187 Kiev-187 Zabolotnogo 20/A Post Box 25 Elena

  10. Stuart Reid says:

    Good on you to keep reminding us of the foolishness of some men.

    Best wishes

  11. Bastl says:

    It must have been very exciting and moving. My deep respect!
    P.S. i would like too to have her email adress.



  12. Shadi says:

    It’s fake.

  13. David says:

    Read my post, Faking it, on how she altered the facts and discredited what was otherwise an incredible photo essay.

  14. Speculation says:

    There’s a lot of talk concerning Elena’s trip through the dead zone. Personally, who cares if it is fake? Can you honestly ask yourselves that you knew 90%of the facts or realised the horror that has befallen the people, the region and the heritage or the Belorussians, Ukrainians and Russian peoples? Three mile island, looks like a walk in the park when compared to something like Chernobyl happened.
    So, relax, take a coke and a smoke and reread Elena’s trip and then look up on a search engine the city of Prypiat http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/chernobyl/prypiat/001.html and perhaps take the time to talk to a wonderful lady by the name of Lyubov Sirota (email: orantas@i.com.ua).
    If you don’t learn one new thing a day then there is little point in staying around. Learn and be enriched..

  15. Dennis says:

    Although Elena posted her story a
    year or so ago, I accidentially
    found it a week before (summer 2005),
    and I’m still deeply impressed!

    After reading a lot of comments accusing
    her of lying i concluded that there are
    a lot of people interested in preventing
    you and me from thinking about the risks
    of atomic energy.

    okay some of Elenas photos are obviousely
    staged, and may be she really toured
    once with her husband and a helmet the
    guided tour to stage even more shots.

    But have you ever noticed that her photos
    were taken at different seasons, in
    late winter, springtime, in autumn…?

    Do you think the barrier around the ZONE
    consists rather of some checkpoints
    and disintegrating fences in beetween,
    or do you believe it looks rather like the
    Berlin Wall, including spring guns
    and thousends of guards (which would
    be required to keep a 24/7 jealous watch
    over a border which
    (30km Diameter * 2 * pi) is 188
    Kilometres long?

    Elena is living there.
    She obviousely knows where to drive into and
    out of the ZONE, permission or not,
    and of course she will not tell us
    (and the guards) where she prefers to
    break through 🙂

    Thank you for keeping an eye on
    Pripyat and the Chornobyl region.

    Berlin, Germany

    TITLE: Faking it?
    URL: http://ripples.typepad.com/ripples/2004/05/faking_it_.html
    BLOG NAME: Ripples
    DATE: 05/26/2004 02:28:54 AM
    Like Milli Vanilli, and so many others pretending to be what they weren’t, Elena, the Chernobyl motorcyclist, may have destroyed any credibility she earned through her arresting photojournal. Recent reports would indicate that she and her husband and a…
    TITLE: Chernobyl Biker has her own domain
    URL: http://ripples.typepad.com/ripples/2004/04/chernobyl_biker.html
    BLOG NAME: Ripples
    DATE: 04/15/2004 01:39:52 AM
    Elena has a new domain: kiddofspeed.com. It is faster, has new photographs like the one below, and some new text. It appears that she may be doing more updates in the future. This statue of Prometheus stealing fire from the