Chernobyl liquidator kills himself days after watching HBO show because it brought back memories of how authorities neglected him
61-year-old Nagashibay Zhusupov took his own life after years of neglect by the government that left him to live in a cramped apartment with his wife and five children and no hope of adequate compensation for his sacrifice
A heroic liquidator who put his life on the line after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 committed suicide after watching the HBO drama on the event because it reminded him of how authorities had neglected him.
The 61-year-old Nagashibay Zhusupov served as one of more than half-a-million liquidators — the name given to those who helped in the cleanup operations after the nuclear disaster — commissioned by the Soviet government, according to a Daily Mail report.
He was first stationed in the remains of the infamous reactor no. 4 that exploded in the early hours of April 26, 1986, with Bakitzhan Satov, the chairman of an organization representing Chernobyl liquidators. Zhusupov was reportedly one of the first to respond to the scene.
He later took up a job at a Soviet nuclear testing site in Semipalatinsk. But unlike many Chernobyl veterans who were awarded housing and boosted pensions by governments in ex-Soviet states Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, Zhusupov received no benefits.
In June, fed up with the way he was discarded by the government, the 61-year-old reportedly jumped off the roof of a five-floor building in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, and was found dead at the scene.
His 25-year-old daughter Gaukhar said that his suspected suicide came after Zhusupov watched 'Chernobyl', the HBO historical drama miniseries which tells "the stories of the people who caused the disaster and those who responded to it".
Gaukhar said her father had watched the series with "tears in his eyes" because it brought back painful memories of his sacrifice, with his friends stating that they believe he killed himself because he felt cheated and neglected by authorities.
In the aftermath of the disaster, he reportedly had been forced to move into a cramped hostel dormitory with his wife and five children and spend years demanding the kind of state-run apartments allocated to other Chernobyl veterans.
However, he was left "distraught" after waiting in a housing queue for 10 years, only to find that his name had been deleted from the list. Another Chernobyl veteran who met him in April said he was "severely depressed".
"He was suing to recover his place in the line for a flat," Satov said. "The last time I saw him, he regretted that he could not get an apartment. I believe that he jumped from a height in total despair because for many years he could not get a proper home."
Local reports indicate that he also suffered from health issues because of his work as a liquidator and had been spending an increasing amount of time in the hospital due to frequent severe headaches and sudden collapses.
His pension, including disability allowances, was just $44 a week. "My dad got some support from the government, but not the way he wanted," Gaukhar revealed. "Dad had a dream to get an apartment from the state like other Chernobyl liquidators who sacrificed their health. But his dream remained a dream."