Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy. Serhii Plokhy in conversation with Luke Harding. 28 May 2019, 7.15pm

On 26 April 1986 at 1:23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. The blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, contaminating over half of Europe with radioactive fallout.

Historian Serhii Plokhy talks to journalist and author Luke Harding, drawing on his recent book Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2018. In this impeccably-researched and riveting account, the catastrophe becomes emblematic of the decline of the Soviet state itself, from the complacency that led to the disaster, to the massive underestimation of its political and human aftermath.

DATE: Tuesday 28 May, 2019

TIME: 7.15pm-8.15pm

VENUE: British Library Piazza Pavilion, 96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB

Tickets £10 (concessions £8/£7). Book here


Grab a unique chance to converse to Professor Plokhy in an informal setting with a glass of wine - attend an exclusive VIP DRINKS RECEPTION organised by Ukrainian Institute London. Only 30 tickets to this event will be made available. The package costs £30 and includes a VIP Drinks Reception at 6pm plus a talk at 7:15pm, both to be held at Piazza Pavillion at the British Library.  Book VIP Drinks Reception PLUS talk with Serhii Plokhy here 

Speakers' bios: 

Professor Serhii Plokhy 

Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University. A leading authority on Eastern Europe, who has published extensively in English, Ukrainian and Russian, he has lived and taught in Ukraine, Canada and the United States. His recent books include The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (2015), The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (2015), The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires (2012) and Yalta: The Price of Peace Viking/Penguin (2010; 2011).


Luke Harding

Luke Harding is a Guardian foreign correspondent. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In 2014 he was the recipient of the James Cameron prize for his work on Russia, Ukraine, WikiLeaks, and Edward Snowden. His 2011 book Mafia State discusses his experience in Russia and the political system under Vladimir Putin.



Co-organised by Ukrainian Institute London in partnership with British Library.