Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide


This photography-led book reveals the story of Chernobyl today, with unprecedented access to the Zone, it takes the reader into previously undocumented areas


ISBN: 9781916218420 Category:

Darmon Richter, FUEL


Since the first atomic bomb was dropped, humankind has been haunted by the idea of nuclear apocalypse. That nightmare almost became reality in 1986, when an accident at the USSR’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant triggered the world’s worst radiological crisis. The events of that night are well documented – but history didn’t stop there. Chernobyl, as a place, remains very much alive today.

In Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide, researcher Darmon Richter journeys into the contemporary Exclusion Zone, venturing deeper than any previously published account. While thousands of foreign visitors congregate around a handful of curated sites, beyond the tourist hotspots lies a wild and mysterious land the size of a small country. In the forests of Chernobyl, historic village settlements and Soviet-era utopianism have lain abandoned since the time of the disaster – overshadowed by vast, unearthly mega-structures designed to win the Cold War.

Richter combines photographs of discoveries made during his numerous visits to the Zone with the voices of those who witnessed history – engineers, scientists, police and evacuees. He explores evacuated regions in both Ukraine and Belarus, finding forgotten ghost towns and Soviet monuments lost deep in irradiated forests. He gains exclusive access inside the most secure areas of the power plant itself, and joins the ‘stalkers’ of Chernobyl as he sets out on a high-stakes illegal hike to the heart of the Exclusion Zone.

Additional information

Weight 778 g
Dimensions 16.8 x 20.8 cm
Publisher name FUEL Design & Publishing
Publication date 24 September 2020
Number of pages 240
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell
Dimensions 16.8 x 20.8 cm
Weight 778 g


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Darmon Richter is a British researcher with a particular fascination for the ideological art and architecture of communist regimes. Born in Oxford, he was studying to be a psychotherapist when a bad case of wanderlust lured him away to the unknown. He backpacked from China to Haiti before settling in Eastern Europe, where he was mesmerised by the striking visual contradiction presented by communist-era buildings and memorials: bold, heroic, utopian designs, often ruined and forgotten, like abandoned blueprints for a future that never arrived. Richter committed himself to uncovering the history of these places. Today he leads tours to communist heritage sites in nine countries and one post-Soviet conflict zone, in addition to working with various local conservation projects. Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell have been publishing critically acclaimed books on Soviet culture since 2004 with their Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia. More recent titles include Godless Utopia, Spomenik Monument Database and Soviet Bus Stops.