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Leonid Budkovskiy, a mail carrier from Ivankiv, was reassigned to deliver military mail after the accident. He entered the exclusion zone daily. Although his drivers quit over fears of radiation, Leonid continued for almost five years out of a patriotic sense of duty. In 1990, his knees started to swell. His legs slowly stopped working. By 1996, he was confined to a wheelchair. “In Chernobyl, no one knew how serious it was. We wore no special clothes,” Leonid says. “I am 55 years old, and no one needs me. I can still hold a spoon, but I need help to go the bathroom and I have to wear diapers.” He spends summer days sitting on his back stoop, overlooking his wife’s vegetable garden.<br />
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This photograph is part the book of Would You Stay?, by Michael Forster Rothbart, published by TED Books in 2013. The photos come from Forster Rothbart’s two long-term documentary photography projects, After Chernobyl and After Fukushima.<br />
© Michael Forster Rothbart 2007-2013.<br />
www.afterchernobyl.com<br />
www.mfrphoto.com • 607-267-4893 • 607-436-2856 <br />
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Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart<br />
Date:  7/2009    File#:  Canon 5D digital camera frame 79493
Leonid Budkovskiy, a mail carrier from Ivankiv, was reassigned to deliver military mail after the accident. He entered the exclusion zone daily. Although his drivers quit over fears of radiation, Leonid continued for almost five years out of a patriotic sense of duty. In 1990, his knees started to swell. His legs slowly stopped working. By 1996, he was confined to a wheelchair. “In Chernobyl, no one knew how serious it was. We wore no special clothes,” Leonid says. “I am 55...
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