Aliya Sakhariyeva (2)

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Aliya Sakhariyeva

The story of one lake

Saint Petersburg, Russia (nationality: Kazakhstan)
Art historian, head of the Art&Science center at ITMO University

© Image by Turar Kazangapov

Hello my friend,

My name is Balapan, I’m an atomic lake. Yes, I am radioactive, but I hope this won’t petrify you much. My name in Kazakh means a “nestling”. Maybe it’s not the name for an atomic lake, and Lake Chagan, my second name, probably sounds more horrifying, but I’d prefer sweet Balapan. I was born as part of the USSR Peaceful Nuclear Explosion project in the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in 1965. The goal was the bright future of using the results of nuclear explosions for creating artificial water reservoirs, thus solving the problems of summer drought. Sadly, it never happened. And since that very day I’m suffering from being neither dead nor truly alive. Should I mention the pain of bringing death to everything I touch? That’s why I don’t have many friends. I frighten everyone and I am scared too as I do not intend to hurt anyone. Being a true friend to someone is my biggest dream. I heartily hope I could be a friend of yours and listen to your stories about the places you’ve seen. Won’t that be great? Can’t wait to see you soon!