Самосёлы: население зоны отчуждения

Samosely or self-settlers are residents of the 30 kilometer Chernobyl Exclusion Zone surrounding the most heavily contaminated areas near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus and Ukraine.

The Zone is estimated to be home to 197 Samosely living in eleven villages as well as the town of Chernobyl. This number is in decline, down from previous estimates of 314 in 2007 and 1.200 in 1986. These residents are elderly, with an average age of 63. After many attempts at forced displacement, the authorities became reconciled to their presence and have allowed them limited supporting services. Residents are now informally permitted to stay by the Ukrainian government.

  • Samosely
    Samosely in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone


Approximately 3 thousand people work in the Zone of Alienation on various tasks, such as the construction of the New Safe Confinement, the ongoing decommissioning of the reactors, and assessment and monitoring of the conditions in the Zone. Employees do not live inside the Zone, but work shifts there. Some of the workers work “4-3” shifts (four days on, three off), whilst others work 15 days on, 15 off. Other workers commute into the Zone daily from Slavutych. The duration of shifts is counted strictly for reasons involving pension and healthcare. Everyone employed in the Zone is monitored for internal bio-accumulation of radioactive elements.

The Babushkas

Check this movie trailer about the The Babushkas of Chernobyl. For more than 30 years they have survived – even thrived – on some of the most contaminated land on Earth.

Babushka, or in Russian ба́бушка, means grandmother or elderly woman. The women, now in their 70s and 80s, are the last survivors of those who illegally returned to their ancestral homes shortly after the accident.

  • Selfsettler Chernobyl
    One of the self settlers shows his ‘project’.

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