The village of Kopachi (Ukrainian: Копачі, Russian: i) is located in Kiev, Ukraine, in the middle of a 30 km zone set up and displaced after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, in the vicinity of Pripyat, which was completely demolished during radioactive decontamination in the summer of 1986. his kindergarten remained. The village is located near the Red Forest, in the most polluted part of the Zone, just a few kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Legends about the inhabited settlements of the Kiev province are first mentioned by L. Pohilevich, about whom he writes in 1864. Although it can be assumed that the village was established earlier, as Chernobyl and its surroundings date back to the XII. It was inhabited in the 16th century. The area is the XIV. It was part of Lithuania in the 17th century. century was part of Poland, then in 1793 the area was transferred to Russia.
The name of the village does not come from the word “копать” (dig), but from the Ukrainian word “i“, which means folk church. According to the 1886 census, 774 Orthodox and 92 Jews lived in the settlement. In 1900 the village belonged to Sergei Chelyschev. At that time, there were 334 inhabitants in the 56 households of the village.
The large wooden church of Martyr Paraskeva was built in 1742 and completely destroyed in 1927 along with the icons and church relics inside.
In February 1967, the Central Committee of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution choosing the village for the construction of a nuclear power plant. The area was suitable in many ways, as it was characterized by a low production area, adequate water supply, and thus a good transport hub. The settlement was chosen after studying and analyzing sixteen settlements in the Vinnitsa, Kiev and Zhitomir regions.
The settlement developed rapidly in the 1980s after the power plant was built. The main center of the council was Kopachi, to which the villages of Leliv and Nagorny also belonged. The village had 3.2 thousand hectares of agricultural land, including 1.7 thousand arable and livestock farms with 2 thousand hectares of agricultural land, of which 1,200 hectares was arable land. In the village, there was an 8-grade school, kindergarten, cultural palace, library. The population of the village at the time of the accident was 1114 people. The town is just 4 km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. After the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986, the village became heavily polluted, its houses were demolished, and people moved away. Only the nursery of the village, the monument to the warriors of the Second World War, has survived. The depopulation of the village only benefited the animals.
The government did not recognize the fact that these highly-contaminated buildings and houses would seep radioactive isotopes into the water table. Burying the buildings drove radio-toxins deeper into the environment. The soil and water surrounding the former village remain contaminated with radioactive materials including plutonium, strontium-90, and caesium-137. Other villages in the exclusion zone faced a similar fate, thus polluting the aquifer.
After the Chernobyl accident, on May 3, 1986, the entire population of the village of Kopachi was evacuated. The residents headed for the Lechnovka and Baryshevsky districts. Residents were forbidden to bring any things, money, pets from home. They fled a lot in their own home clothes. To avoid panic, residents were told they could return to their homes in three days, which has not happened to date.
The area of the village is polluted and uninhabited, unlike today’s Chernobyl. The areas have been reclaimed by nature, with much rare wildlife living in the area. The settlement is located within a 10 km zone, passing through the Leliv checkpoint, the road leads through the former site of the village, which is a tourist attraction, and visitors there can see the remains of the village.
The village also appears in the computer game STALKER: Call Of Pripyat and in Dmitry Sillow‘s book “STALKER: The Law of the Sniper“.