The coronavirus pandemic and the Chernobyl meltdown have presented two very similar crises, due to their relation to modern technology, according to noted American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama.
Fukuyama voiced this opinion during the Zero Corruption Talk – Lessons of Chornobyl in Time of Pandemics conference that was organized by NGOs Anti-Corruption Action Center and Zero Corruption Conference, and broadcast by Hromadske on April 26.
“The national threat that it suddenly presents is extremely similar,” Fukuyama said, drawing attention to the responses of governments, which mirror some of the responses to the Chernobyl meltdown.
“One of the big differences that's emerging between national responses to the crisis, are those governments that have tried to cover up what has been happening, that have suppressed information, and basically look to their short-term interest versus governments that were transparent and open and took advice from the appropriate experts, and then designed public policy responses around that,” the political scientist pointed out.
This allows us to discover which governments are capable and which are not, he reasons.
Historian and author of “Chernobyl” Serhii Plokhii shares Fukuyama’s views, but also has his personal vivid memories of the 1986 disaster. He admitted to recently having a feeling of a déjà vu.
“It's like repeating what I felt like in 1986 in Ukraine, when I was entering the house and thinking okay, but that invisible enemy, those particles whether they're still there, whether they are jumping from one place to another, I can see them, I can smell them, I can feel them. And that's what is very similar,” Plokhii recalls.
This threat that is not easily identifiable allows certain governments to deny its existence, like in 1986 in the Soviet Union.
And with the state “controlling the information, denying the impact of radiation on people, among children, and today with the governments playing games with statistics, it's basically the same story. So the parallels are striking,” the historian argues.
At the same time Plokhii expresses hope that the world community can draw lessons from Chernobyl in the way it deals not just with this pandemic, but with what happens in the aftermath as “our life is changing in a major way to an extent it hasn’t in the last 100 years”.