After traveling a long track gnawed by water and branches, we arrive to a tiny village with ruins and bumpy ways. A slave market was here in the 13th century. The city keeps the name: Bazar. There were 2500 inhabitants in 1986, then 230 in 2005, and now 537 in 2010. A slavic far west inside the Chernobyl’s Zone.
“Kiev was for us unlivable,” remembers Oleg Touteyko. “Less work on the building sites, and no money to live in a big city with my family…Here, we can have a free house provided that we repair it.” As the sunlight declines, the young man of 26 years old sweeps in front of his door. Inside, the walls smell of fresh painting. Oleg has lived in Bazar for six months, with his wife and 5 year old daughter. At first, the young mother was worried about the radioactivity, by the contaminated mushrooms, and the wolves in the forest, “But we have decided to know this adventure,” she said. “It’s good for Diana to live at the countryside. And there is work at the sawmill.”
On the Nicolai street where the Touteyko’s live, there are three new families, all young parents recently settled down. The children will go to the school just one hundred meters from their homes, at a big white building where 154 children study from elementary school to high school. After the catastrophe at Chernobyl, the Ukrainian authority did nothing to evacuate the city, but they did all they could to make life untenable. They closed the hospital, and didn’t maintain the roads. The mayor, Alexandre Boudko, in spite of the soviet danger, promoted Bazar. He said, “Why can’t we live here? I’m fighting for the renaissance of Bazar.” Bazar is the future of the Chernobyl zone, a rural place that although contaminated, people prefer to live rather than to know economic crisis.