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“Perhaps the worst example of this total disregard for the truth and human lives came on May 1. Winds that had initially blown the radiation north and over the Scandinavian monitoring devices had turned and were keeping most of the increasing radiation over Ukraine, Belarus, and some areas within Russia. While this radiation continued to drop over the Ukrainian countryside, the Soviets staged their annual extravagant May Day parade in Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev, whose leadership guided the Kremlin response, smiled and waved to the crowd in Red Square. To the south, just 90 miles from where the fires of Chornobyl were still burning out of control, the Soviets staged another massive parade in Kyiv that included children dancing down Kyiv’s broad central avenue, Khreshchatyk. Perhaps the only noticeable difference from previous May Day celebrations in Kyiv was the fact that as the marchers and dancers reached the reviewing stands where Communist Party bosses traditionally watched the festivities, they found the stands empty. Some members of the “classless” Soviet society had been given enough information to know to evacuate the republic’s capital. There was also a May Day bicycle race. Exercise and deep breathing — all the better to inhale radiation.
Given the lack of concern Gorbachev’s government showed for the population’s unnecessary exposure to the deadly Chornobyl radiation, the ordinary citizens of Ukraine might as well have been the “kulaks” Stalin sought to “liquidate as a class” in his intentional and forced famine of 1932–33. Their safety and health meant nothing. From Stalin to touted glasnost, what had changed?” (National Review)