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Serhii Plokhy: Chernobyl and the fall of the Soviet Union

Serhii Plokhy on stage in front of an image of the historic Chernobyl diaster

Was the biggest peacetime nuclear disaster and demise of the Soviet Union inevitable?

On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am, a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. The blast contaminated over half of Europe with radioactive fallout and took the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

In his award-winning book, Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, Harvard University professor Serhii Plokhy argues that this was a disaster waiting to happen. A leading historian of Eastern Europe, Plokhy presents the first full analysis of the gripping and unforgettable tragedy, offering us a compelling account of the perpetrators, heroes and victims. 

Join the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction as he powerfully and expertly argues that Chernobyl was the catalyst of the Ukrainian revolt and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The fall of the Soviet Union would be grossly incomplete without the Chernobyl story.

Serhii Plokhy

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Photo credit: Prudence Upton

This talk was chaired by award-winning journalist Hamish Macdonald, and presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and is a part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Trust. Supported by Adelaide Writers' Week.

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