Alexey Yablokov, pioneer of the environmental protection, great and warm friend, man of courage, eminent scientist, is now gone.
The most significant traits of Alexey Yablokov personality were obvious to anybody from the first contact : the benevolence, the moral rigor, the intellectual intransigence, the patriotism, the commitment for the public good, and the tireless activity in the service of the defense of the conditions of life on Earth.
Charles Digges, in the name of the well known Russian-Norvegian organization Bellona, with which he collaborated for many years, paid a long tribute to him, under a title which summarizes in a few words the historical importance of the career of the man whom President Boris Eltsine had taken by his side between 1989 and 1992 as consellor for the questions of ecology and environment :
Alexei Yablokov, grandfather of Russian environmentalism, dies at 83
Alexey Yablokov fought a thousand battles. He denounced the make-up of the number of catches of the Russian whalers, in breach with the international covenants (1997). He coordinated the counting of the Soviet atomic ships and submarines, and of the 17 000 containers of radioactive waste immersed in the Arctic Ocean. His white book on these questions brought to Russia more than a 3 billion dollar help to dismantle 200 submarines and secure dozens of stocks of military radioactive waste.
He played a major role of advice and witness in the procedure concluded by the release in 2000 by the Supreme court of Russia, of the Russian environmentalist Alexander Nikitin, prosecuted by the Russian State since 1995 for publishing the report “The Russian Northern Fleet: Source of Radioactive Contamination”.
Without counting his energy, he fought for bringing the aftereffects of Chernobyl to the rank of major and long-lasting disaster. He was used to saying : “Chernobyl is a growing tree…”. With the physicist Vassily Nesterenko, one of the most eminent “war veterans” of Chernobyl (the word “liquidator” is a political euphemism, as nothing is liquidated, except for human lives and abandoned territories), and his son Alexey, he wrote the book “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, published by Naouka in Moscow in 2006, and then by the Academy of Sciences in New-York in 2009, and available in French in an augmented version (Tchernobyl : Conséquences de la catastrophe sur la population et l’environnement, <http://ur1.ca/q7gtw>).
Although tormented by the painful developments of his disease, he keept on working till the absolute limits of his strength. One of his last publications was : “A Review and Critical Analysis of the Effective Dose of Radiation Concept. J Health Pollution, Part I, June 2013 et Part II: An Approach to an Objective Assessment of Human Radiation Risk, October 2014. It should induce every independent radio-biologist to take a close look at the gap between the presentation of the effects of the radiation by the international authorities – OMS, Commission internationale de protection radiologique et United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation – in charge since 1957 of the development of atomic energy (in support to the very young EAIA), and what was revealed by the major accidents, among them Chernobyl.
Alexey Yablokov was and still is an irreplaceable example. We were not only honored, but also very lucky to have joined him in the fight for the recognition of the damage of Chernobyl, and so that the screed of the oblivion and the indifference do not seal the fate of the population affected by the consequences of the accident. Carrying on his work is from now on our duty, that of all who remain concerned by the victims of Chernobyl and Fukushima.
We express to his family and his friends our most sincere condolences, and we share the pain of his loss with them.
president of Enfants de Tchernobyl Belarus
author of La Comédie atomique, La Découverte, 2016
Posted: January 13th, 2017 under Environmental Policies.