I know what you’re probably thinking…NOT ANOTHER CHERNOBYL POST! Or maybe not if this is the first time ever reading my blog. Either way, just thought it would be fitting to have a Chernobyl throwback  as it has been 26 years to the day that the nuclear disaster started. I say started because as I mentioned in the post I wrote last year, the consequences are still very much being felt in that region – especially amongst children.

I’m working on something that will hopefully help bring more awareness to this but for today’s post I want to talk about a man named Yuri, the famous Pripyat piano man, who also happened to be my guide for the tour I took through Chernobyl in 2009.

Actually, I had no idea who Yuri was but some Swedish guys who were also on the tour were really excited he’d be guiding us. I guess they had seen a video of him playing the piano in an abandoned building on Youtube and hoped for the same entertainment. I’m assuming it’s this video below made by Carl Montgomery. It’s pretty good and is, in a nutshell, most of the things you see when going on one of these tours. Check it:


Now let’s talk about Yuri. Why he leads these tours is beyond me but I suppose it has everything to do with a steady income. He showed us the pack of pills he has to take everyday that are supposed to help counteract his exposure to radiation  as a result of this chosen profession.

I liked Yuri a lot. He was very honest about the situation and did nothing to sugar coat facts like the Ukrainian government might have wanted him to. Not like he divulged some top secret information that no one knows about, but in a country like Ukraine, I think it’s rare to meet someone in such a position being so honest about his government’s failings – both then and now.

Sadly, we didn’t get him playing the piano. The one we found was too out of tune to make nice music, but at least he tried. I captured that attempt as well as a few seconds of footage from the interior of one of the many abandoned apartment buildings in Pripyat.


I hope he’s doing well. Even more so, I hope that by this time next year I’ll have something positive to say about this situation. Let’s hope 2012-2013 is the year repairation work on Reactor 4 is finally completed.