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Elena Filatova

From Academic Kids

Elena (Lena) Filatova (Russian: Елена Филатова) (born 1974) is a Ukrainian motorcyclist who gained Internet fame in 2004 under the nickname KiddOfSpeed after her web site was mentioned at Slashdot and other online news sources.

On her web site, she posted photographs of her alleged motorcycle trips in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, 18 years after the nuclear accident there. She mainly visited the virtually abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine.

The photos are arranged in the form of a story presented as an account of a trip by a biker who somehow got a permit to travel alone in the radiation zone. The accuracy of that story has since been questioned - not least because motorcycles are specifically forbidden inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which can only be accessed through permanently manned checkpoints. It has been alleged that Filatova visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone only as part of an organized tour ("Urban Exploration Resource" (http://www.uer.ca/forum_showthread.asp?fid=1&threadid=8951)).

Nevertheless, the value of Elena's story is not her degree of personal involvement, nor her narrative, but her photos. While some of them could have been staged to a degree (one of the points of criticism - it is noticeable that there are no photographs of her motorcycle inside the abandoned town of Pripyat), she obviously could not have staged the whole ghost town. While there are numerous accounts of the consequences of the catastrophe, Elena presented it to the world in a way never done before.

Recently Elena's original homepage was replaced with a new photojournal about the Serpent's Wall near the city of Kiev, her home. The new journal contains photos of Elena's exploration of an ancient wall and more modern World War II fortifications built among its remains.


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