WAY BACK EAST

Prague Post…………Chernobyl was more than a single disaster, however large that one event was. It was the first highly visible crack in the Soviet Union. Things would never again be the same for the evil empire. The West had known the bitter truth of Soviet life for many years before: the 500,000 prisoners in the East, in Siberia, as an example, the repressive regimes in the satellite states — all that, but none of it actually affected us in the West personally. Indeed, there was even the feeling that the Russian people had always been victims, and that somehow that could never change. That was their destiny. Chernobyl was the climb-down: the first time the Soviet Union had to admit its bankrupt society to the world. Admission is hardly the word, as it was self-evident. The West was actually invited to assist  which it was anxious to do to save its own skin  and the dark secrecy of the Soviet era was exposed. Chernobyl was the landmark event, the symbolic and  beginning of the end of Soviet communism.