Chornobyl, 1986-2022: Toward a Global History of the Disaster


Friday, July 8, 2022, 1:15pm to 2:30pm


Zoom Webinar and YouTube

Serhii Plokhii, Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History, Harvard University

Register for Zoom or watch on YouTube

Lecture 2 poster with image of person walking in Chernobyl power station


The all-out Russian aggression against Ukraine began with the occupation of the Chornobyl nuclear site on February 24, 2022. Together with the subsequent attack on the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Ukraine, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the takeover of the Chornobyl site produced a nuclear crisis that the world had never before experienced: nuclear facilities ended up in the middle of an armed conflict.

In this lecture, Serhii Plokhii will discuss the history of the Chornobyl accident from the explosion of Reactor No. 4 in April 1986 to the current Russo-Ukrainian war as part of the global history of nuclear accidents—the theme explored in his recent book, Atoms and Ashes.

About the Speaker

serhii plokhiiSerhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. His interests include the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Ukraine. He is the author of, among others, Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters (W.W. Norton, 2022); The Frontline: Essays on Ukraine's Past and Present (HURI, 2021); Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis (W. W. Norton, 2021); Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front: American Airmen behind the Soviet Lines and the Collapse of the Grand Alliance (Oxford University Press, 2019); Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe (Basic Books, 2018); and The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (Basic Books, 2015). His books have won numerous awards, including the Ballie Gifford Prize and the Shevchenko National Prize (2018).