Rad Storm Rising (1990)
A hundred and fifty years ago the Russian philosopher Petr Chaadayev wrote that “we are one of those nations that somehow are not part of mankind but exist only for the sake of teaching the world some kind of terrible lesson.” In the area of nuclear affairs the steady emission of environmental horror stories from the USSR confirms that the Soviet Union is in the process of teaching the world another in its series of terrible lessons.
Recent disclosures from the USSR demonstrate that the total insulation from public scrutiny which the Soviet nuclear industry enjoyed for so long has left a legacy of pollution and lax practices that remains exceedingly difficult to escape. Soviet officials themselves are today saying that the USSR is being transformed into a nuclear-waste dump. Even allowing for the Russian penchant for hyperbole, the latest revelations in the ever more candid Soviet press make clear that Soviet problems in the area of nuclear pollution and safety continue to be extraordinarily severe.
By Gabriel Schoenfeld, The Atlantic (1990)