I am based in Kyiv and writing a book about Chornobyl for the Joseph Henry Press. Several sources have sent me links to the “Ghost Town” photo essay included in the last e-POSHTA mailing. Though it was full of factual errors, I did find the notion of lone young woman riding her motorcycle through the evacuated Zone of Alienation to be intriguing and asked about it when I visited there two days ago.I am sorry to report that much of Elena’s story is not true. She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration. She made one trip there with her husband and a friend. They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.
After posting a few links to the below story, a friend on the Iain Banks forum pointed me to this entry on Neil Gaiman’s blog from a year and a half back, which says that most of Elena’s story is false. That will teach me to research more thoroughly! It seems most of the photos are genuinely from the affected area, so not a complete loss. But a strange thing to lie about…especially as there seems to be no commercial angle. Another bit of weird on the World Wide Web.