The Firefighters of the Chernobyl exclusion zone and wider Chernobyl community call upon you and all concerned to join the fundraiser for the restoration of the iconic monument, ‘To Those Who Saved the World’.
This internationally renowned monument was constructed 10 years after the Chernobyl tragedy, in 1996 and dedicated not only to the firefighters and others that lost their lives at the time of the incident but also to the 600,000 workers involved in containing and clearing up the aftermath, otherwise known as the ‘liquidation’ of the Chernobyl disaster.
The idea of creating the monument originated in May 1995, when the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy was approaching and a plan to commemorate the work of the liquidators was discussed and, after 4 months of gathering information and processing many sketches, a working design was approved and the location of the monument was chosen to be in the immediate vicinity of the fire brigade station; to the left of the gate and checkpoint, to be precise.
On April 15, 1996, the sculptural composition, ‘To Those Who Saved the World’, was installed on the site and officially unveiled on April 26, 1996; the 10th anniversary of the disaster.
The monument is comprised of a tall, central section and two shorter sculptural compositions on either side. The central section consists of two 11 metre columns connected, at the top, by a crucifix as a symbol of faith and life and, at the base of the columns, by a replica of the destroyed Reactor No.4 and chimney as a symbol of the lives lost. Midway, between the crucifix and the destroyed power unit a hollow, steel globe is affixed to the column, to symbolise the fragility and the vulnerability of the planet to human activity. The columns are encircled by two rings, each of which represents one of the 10 km and 30 km exclusion zones. The ‘knot’ at the base of the two columns is symbolic of an allegory of unsolvable problems that the supposedly ‘peaceful atom’ had created.
The two sculptural compositions are located on platforms to the right and left sides of the central columns, each comprised of four smaller sculptures. On the right, there are four sculptures of first responding firefighters and, on the left are figures of a nuclear chemist with dosimeter, a victim, a doctor rushing to the rescue and an employee of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, who we now know to have closed the valve in the reactor.
According to the creator of the project, Ivan Simonov, when the monument was originally built no one foresaw that it would become such an important place of commemoration and that future presidents of Ukraine would visit it to lay wreaths of flowers and honour the memory of the dead.
For over two decades, every year on the anniversary of the tragedy, hundreds of people have lined up near the monument, a siren has been sounded and people have laid flowers at its base. This has become a special, sacred place for those whose relatives died during the liquidation.
These days, you can find many photos near the monument, and it has even become an international symbol of the city of Chernobyl, where visitors stop to honour the dead and take photos in memory of the great tragedy of our time. Sadly, however, the monument is under threat…
Unfortunately, as the monument was never officially commissioned, no official body is financially responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.
Therefore, the monument relies solely on donations for this and, after 25 years of very little maintenance, it has begun to crumble and is now in a very bad state.
It is not yet too late to save it though…
In Autumn 2019, firefighters of the 11th state Fire and Rescue unit of the city of Chernobyl started an appeal to all concerned to join the fundraiser for the restoration of the monument and, if you happened to visit today, you would see that the monument has been totally covered with plastic in an effort to protect it, and a banner has been installed, alongside the monument, asking people to join the fundraiser.
How you can help
We are attempting to raise money for the restoration costs. Approximately €7,000 is required for urgent maintenance and, for full repairs and reconstruction, the price is around €17,000.
To kick start the fundraising process, we are organising a special trip to Chernobyl where we are pulling out all the stops. And you could join this trip in return for a donation of just €10!
The trip will be a total of five days in the zone, most off which will be in the zone, but also some time spent in Kyiv, where the trip will start and finish
We are working hard to confirm and finalise the details and already have lots of exciting and exclusive content confirmed. Currently, the provisional itinerary is as follows:
We will do our best to arrange the tour for a time after travel restrictions are lifted, with plenty of notice to all who have a ticket. We are currently working towards a week in Summer 2021.
The team putting this trip together all have many years experience of the zone, and some even lived in Pripyat.
There are many people really putting a huge amount of effort in to make this trip happen, and here are just a few:
How does it work?
This trip will take place after the current travel restrictions are lifted, with plenty of notice and will likely be late Summer or early Autumn 2021. Every effort will be made to ensure that the trip is at a time suitable for everyone, but eventually it will be your responsibility to get to Kyiv, Ukraine in time for the start of the trip and provide information and documents required for permits.
The trip includes all paperwork, permits and permissions, transport from day 1 until day 5, meals within the exclusion zone and accomodation within the exclusion zone. Getting to Kyiv, transport, and accomodation in Kyiv is your responsibility, however we can assist with this.
If the trip has to be cancelled for any reason, there will be no refund of donations. Every effort will be made to ensure this does not happen.
The trip itinerary is provisional, and can change without notice.