Unraveling the Secrets of the Past: Contested versions of Nuclear Testing in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan PDF Print E-mail

Cynthia Werner and Kathleen Purvis-Roberts

Unraveling the Secrets of the Past: Contested versions of Nuclear Testing in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan

November 28, 2005

Abstract

The people of Kazakhstan have been grappling with the legacy of nuclear testing for over a decade. The different versions of the past are hotly contested when it comes to issues of the Soviet government's culpability. Did the government take proper precautions to limit radiation dose exposures, or did it knowingly expose its own citizens to harmful levels of radiation? If the tests exposed people to dangerous levels, did the government do this intentionally in order to test the effects of radiation on human health? And did it do so covertly in a way that limited people's knowledge of nuclear testing and the risk of radiation?

This paper addresses these questions from three different perspectives. First, it describes the perspective of nuclear scientists who designed and executed these nuclear tests in Kazakhstan. In recent publications and personal interviews, these scientists have defended their actions in the name of national security and claimed that the certain precautions accompanied the tests to limit impacts to the health and environment. Second, it presents the arguments made by medical researchers in Kazakhstan who stress the harmful health impacts of nuclear testing. Finally, it describes the perspective of Kazakh and Russian villagers who lived near the test site. Although the individual stories vary, most villagers do not feel that the government adequately protected them, and many believe that it used them as guinea pigs.

 

Contact Information

National Council for Eurasian and East European Research

DC Office
  • 1828 L Street NW Suite 1200
  • Washington, DC 20036
  • Tel: 202-572-9095
  • Tel: 202-572-9125 (alternate)
  • Fax: 866-937-9872
  • E-mail: info@nceeer.org

ac_logo_smallcarnegielogo_smallsd_logo_smallNEH

NCEEER

miffsuzzallopomak_children

National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER) is a non-profit organization created in 1978 to develop and sustain long-term, high-quality programs for post-doctoral research on the social, political, economic, environmental, and historical development of Eurasia and Central and Eastern Europe.   More

Latest NCEEER Working Papers

2012_826-14g_Irvine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors' and Parents' Perspectives on Communication Regarding HPV Vaccination in Bulgaria

Elitsa Dimitrova, Yulia Panayotova, Anna Alexandrova-Karamanova, and Irina Todorova

Contextual Constitution of Behavior: Introducing the HPV Vaccine in Eastern Europe

Irina Todorova and Adrian Baban

The Readers of Novyi Mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait

Denis Kozlov