“After Chernobyl, I’d be dead or drunk, if not for the Church” – the story of a priest of the liquidator

Kuzbass priest Alexander Kutishenko – one of those people who sacrificed health, saving the country from the Chernobyl radiation. December 14 – the Day of celebration of participants of liquidation of consequences of accident on Chernobyl NPP.

Father Alexander

  • Chernobyl – the zone of life, or whether people Live in Chernobyl now
  • Patriarch Kirill: Sacrificing their lives, the liquidators of the Chernobyl fulfilled the commandment of Christ about love
  • Chernobyl: shared pain, shared care, shared hope (PHOTOS)
  • Chernobyl, rise from the dead? A report from the Elias Church in the exclusion zone
  • Chernobyl priest: this land should be returned to the people

“Who will not come to be a deserter”

I grew up in Vorkuta, after the 10th class went to the army. Called to train the troops in “lad camp” got the chef’s specialty. BAM built with their own hands for 3 rubles 80 kopecks per month. Then the ordinary composition so paid. Cook did not become — has served as a carpenter, bridge-builders.

After the army, I left and came to Kemerovo, to an army friend. Settled on “Nitrogen” as a mechanic, married. We have a son… Life went on as usual. In August 1987 came to me a summons from the military. In 25 years, I again went to service in Chernobyl.

In the clinic we passed a medical examination — all healthy. The Kuzbass were recruited in all cities. Someone to Yurga on the charges went, someone from the local military enlistment office. Then — in the school of communication. Was given the form and a local go home to say goodbye to loved ones, to spend the night.

Could I not return then to stay home? Of course. But none of us from the service is not refused.

We are not afraid of anything. Well, okay, radiation. But someone has to stop this, to defend the Homeland? It is a sacred duty.

Remember how he built us and said: “You are liable for military service. Who did not come to send – be deserter”. And what kind of man would agree to this?

In the Siberian military district had its own regiment in the 30-km zone around ChNPP, in the village of Cheremoshnya. There we sent amphibious Il-4. The cabin was depressurized, the heat was supplied only in the cockpit. Cold. Remember, gave us from “muzzles” to breathe freely on top. But we do, the usual. I knew in the army go — there and not such happens. Eight hours flew, and then another four in the car got to the regiment.

Handy I cook my crust. It is a profession of the military: the changing cooked lunch, dinner or Breakfast, and then out in three days. Then go to work at the station together with everyone.

Photo: Igor Gavrilov

“Working in seconds, one after another”

At work we were taken in two stages. First, in the normal truck to the trailhead. There we were sat in a dirty, working machine and already made it to the station. At the site we were not given protective clothing or gloves. We stayed in our form. We only had the respirators-“petals”. But almost no one used it: it was hard to breathe in them, and to talk too.

Then seconds worked, though, and was already in 1987. The sarcophagus at unit already was, but decontamination continued. We shot the roof with the storage of liquid fuel wastes. It was at the station. Climb up, take a shovel or axe and cut it. A maximum of a minute or two you are given. Then ran back down, cleaned and sent back. On the road took more time. Early morning go at night come back.

Get in the regiment, and the posts are everywhere. Car washed too, inactivate. Traveling on the road toward the next shift is coming. People constantly circulate between the shelves and the station, we followed each other.

Photo: Igor Gavrilov

Every shift we would be carrying dosimeters. Put them on the chest was considered that the closer to the ground, the higher will be the indicators of radiation. After work and given it to a radiation monitor in the window with the lattice, as in the cashier. He called the numbers — 0.2 x-ray, x-ray 0,15… We recorded them in a notebook, summarize. But then we need these data nor about than not talked about. No one understood how dangerous it is.

I looked at the Pripyat once. Digress in the wrong direction, and I said: “Hurry up, the time is coming”. We’re working on, and then immediately left. There was no time to dally. And what is Pripyat? The city as a city, he’s a been a year. He destroyed it now, 30 years later: did you see the pictures scary. It seemed to us that nothing we were not in danger – there didn’t shoot. Fear was not.

“I would have died from the disease, if not for the Church”

Soon sent home everyone who was 30 years old. I have worked in the exclusion zone a month. That’s six trips. But you are considered a veteran if at least an hour spent on the war. You never know, bombed a regiment or wounded in the first battle. So we have: spent at the station at least since the Chernobyl veteran.

How much exposure I was there, I don’t know. But health undermined. Sick leg, the teeth began to fall out, the hair… my wife and daughter Natasha was born. This year will be 11 years old, she was gone. She is only 12 years old has lived with us… Health was weak.

My wife has a grown son, he was born before the Chernobyl disaster. Now serving in the army under contract. Protects the homeland, like I did. I have three granddaughters were born. Now I want to see grandchildren, if I live. This is my dream…

I don’t know if I would have died from the disease, or drunk, if the Church is not left. Pray — thank God, alive.

I have a maternal one and all, priests. My great-grandfather, father, grandmother, killed in 1918 or 1919 under Solikamsk. In one of the temples of the Perm region found burial during the Civil war, where his body was discovered. My relatives even took DNA to identify his great-grandfather. The Perm diocese has prepared him for canonization.

Father Alexander

And I the Lord set me on the path of service. First I went to the St. George temple to build. Was there and on service to go. Father Vladimir I immediately noticed the grandmother standing, and then I… In the 90s of the clergy is not enough. I was asked to learn. And fast I still went, reading was easy. In 1990, Svyatitelya Nikolaya me a deacon was ordained, and on a Bright Wednesday in the priests. This year 27 years as I serve.

“My friends less”

26 APR we with liquidators each year come to the monument at the Philharmonic. It’s the iron angel, like Christ. Five years ago established in memory of Chernobyl. Then we go to the chapel “All the afflicted”. There is stored a list of the icon of the Chernobyl Saved, take it from the Church and serve lity.

A monument to liquidators of the Chernobyl accident

My comrades every year becoming less. Memorial Day is gone come their children and widows. This year, April 26, died my best friend is also the liquidator. And so empty was…

But you can not lose heart, and there will be trouble. Remains for all to thank God. As the robber said, “For the Affairs I accept”. We need to realize that many of our actions are sinful, and we need to correct ourselves. But if this knowledge is not, and repentance will not be. Is eternal life, here on earth, we are preparing for it.

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