Deja vu

People knew enough to read between the lines: commission,” measures still being taken” and the terseness all spelled catastrophe. People understood that their lives were in danger, and that fear surpassed the fears by which the state exercised its control. The propaganda machine lost control of the narrative and found itself compelled to dribble out facts and warnings, though the old habit of blaming the West remained in place — as it does to this day — with claims that Americans and Western Europeans were exploiting Chernobyl to undermine Soviet credibility and foment a campaign of hatred.” It was weeks before Mr. Gorbachev publicly acknowledged the disaster.

Serge Schmemann

March 14, 2020

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