Weird History

The True Story Of The Three Chernobyl Workers Who Waded Into Radioactive Water

For many years, the details of the Chernobyl disaster were shrouded in mystery. The Soviets vehemently denied and purposefully obfuscated exactly what happened at Chernobyl, and westerners were allowed to see little of what transpired behind the Iron Curtain. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, more and more documents have been released, and we now have a clearer picture of the 1986 disaster and its aftermath.

While the events of Chernobyl were tragic, they could have been so much worse if not for the efforts of the brave first responders who contained the disaster. In covering up the disaster's true scope, the USSR also buried some of these heroic stories, including the stories of the Chernobyl suicide squad, three workers who risked their own lives to prevent an apocalyptic event.

Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov, and Boris Baranov (posthumously) were awarded the Ukrainian Order For Courage in 2018, but for many years their story was left untold. Modern reporting and dramatizations like HBO's series Chernobyl have shone a light on their sacrifices.