The city of Novosybkov is located on the Belarusian-Russian border, in the Briansk Oblast. After the Chernobyl disaster, it has achieved a sad record: it is the worst contaminated city in the Russian Federation.
By Horst Klauser, ARD radio studio Moscow.
It’s never been nice here. 45,000 people live in the gray city today. It used to be 60,000 – before Chernobyl. And for those who don’t know, life here can only be joyless. The Lenin statue looks out over the oversized square in front of the town hall. The neon signs in the few shops are rusting and hanging on cables from the house wall. There was work in the long-closed textile combine and also on the many kolkhozes in the area. The roofs of the tractor halls and stables have collapsed and covered in moss, rusty steel girders point bizarrely into the cloudy sky over the arable soils, which were once among the most fertile in Europe. Nobody grows anything here, and no cattle graze here. The land is dead, birch trees grow where there used to be furrows, waist-high bushes cover the former grain fields.