Author`s name Michael Simpson

Echo of Chernobyl. Still Painful

Terroritories suffered from the catastrophe need their pressing problems to be solved
The city of Klintsy is one of the largest industrial centers in Russia's Bryansk region. In the spring of 1986, right after the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the place experienced rather hard times. On the one hand, the large-scale production gone to pieces as a result of political and further economic reforms. On the other hand, consequences of the Chernobyl blast worsened the situation in the region: although the city belonged to the area contaminated as a result of the nuclear catastrophe and people suffered from high radiation there, but at the same time the government didn't support the people with compensation payments.

The idea to create privileged conditions for seven districts of the Bryansk region suffered from consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear blast was suggested by the regional administration and recently approved by Russia President Vladimir Putin.

As mayor of Klintsy, Alexander Dolgov says, within the past 17 years, development of enterprises and organizations in the city was considerably restrained against the background of the all-Russia regular regulations. However, economy of the city started developing more dynamically within the past three years. Almost all enterprises that used to stand idle, recommenced their activity. The production growth rate made up 20% in 1999 and already 40% in 2002, as concerning production of consumer goods and articles meant for technical purposes. Textile enterprises of the city have resumed operation, although all of them lack floating assets. The burden of previously accumulated debts is very serious for the enterprises in Klintsy.

In the Soviet era, the city of Klintsy was famous for cloth produced here. The fine-cloths factory in the city stood idle for some time. Now it is owned by Moscow companies that are trying to revive the production. Now it is a serious problem to catch up with the production rate that the enterprise fixed some time ago. What is more, the accounts payable of the enterprise make up more than 80 million rubles now, which certainly makes the reviving process even more complicated.

Investors usually avoid dealing with the territories close to Chernobyl; as for the city of Klintsy, the problem is partially solved here. The communication enterprise Inform gets enough investment, over 20 million rubles were invested in it within several past years. This financing was used for renewal of a local telephone exchange. The investment will also help install telephones not only in the city, but in the nearby settlements as well. The whole of the telephone system in the city is being renewed, it is great progress.

When Russia EMERCOM Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Bryansk recently, he got acquainted with a number of urgent problems of Klintsy. All of them are connected with the fact that the place was affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe. Klintsy Mayor Alexander Dolgov says that the governmental federal program "Children of Chernobyl" was closed this year which is especially painful for the city. In the network of the program it was planned to build a new medical complex including a maternity hospital and a gynaecological department. It would take 270 million rubles in present-day prices to build such a complex. Realization of this program is impossible without participation of the federal authorities. So, the initiative to declare seven south-western districts of the Bryansk region a privileged territory is important for the region. This status would allow to reduce electricity tariffs for the regions, which in its turn together with taxation privileges would attract more investments in the regional production.

As for the program "Children of Chernobyl", it was supposed to build a medical center in the sanatorium Vyunki which medical base is poor now. Construction of such a medical center would allow to solve health problems of many children living on the territories contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe. It is actually a pressing problem as there are just few children in the city of Klintsy who are absolutely healthy.

Zoya Babicheva
Bryansk Worker