‘I gathered you here so you don’t have any problems’ An anonymous soldier explains Russia’s radioactive missile explosion to local townspeople
On August 17, the website Newsader published a video recording of a conversation between an unnamed Russian soldier and residents of Nyonoksa, where a prototype weapon exploded earlier this month, releasing a cloud of radiation. Newsader doesn’t identify the soldier, state his rank, or clarify when the video was recorded. Nevertheless, independent analysts told RFE/RL’s Mike Eckel that the footage appears to be authentic, and “it matche[s] up with other evidence that has emerged since the blast.” Meduza quickly summarizes what the soldier told the people of Nyonoksa.
Everyone’s trying to compare Nyonoksa to Chernobyl. I was in Chernobyl in 1986. That was an explosion of immense power. That was people disappearing and disintegrating into molecules. On August 8, people went out onto a pontoon, and everything blew up underneath it. The pontoon flipped, and the people were fatally injured by the objects on it. These were Rosatom workers. They were taken to a special Rosatom hospital. Who told you that the tests were only on August 8? There were tests long before that.
None of the damage effects of a nuclear weapon has been recorded here. They were testing one of the rocket engines. This engine is powered by nuclear isotopes. There was an emergency and then an explosion — but it was a blasting compound, not a nuclear explosion. As a result, radioactive elements were scattered on the pontoon structures, and the people who were there were exposed to radiation contamination. These people were then taken to Nyonoksa. They had these elements on their clothes, and they were cleaned here.
Objects from the pontoons, one of which exploded, are washing up at sea. I know of one person who was already planning to visit this place. This would be unwise, because you’d be exposing yourself to the same problems that you’re afraid of now. There would be the same risks if somebody climbed onto the pontoons or took home the objects lying on the beach that at first glance seemed to be safe. That’s why the shore is being guarded. I gathered you all here so you don’t have any problems.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock