Vitali Shkliarov is a visiting scholar with Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The opinions in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN. (CNN)Reading the recent spate of articles about the incredulous response of the President of Belarus to the threat of Covid-19, advising his citizens simply to wash their hands more often and eat meals at the regular time, took me back to another crisis I lived through — the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl — and the similar advice doled out to Belarusian citizens at that time.I was born and raised in Gomel, Belarus, about 120 miles from the town of Pripyat in modern-day Ukraine, part of the former Soviet Union, where the ill-fated Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded on April 26, 1986. Of the estimated 50 to 120 million curies — the unit of measurement for radioactive debris — released into the air over 10 days, about 70% fell on Belarusian territory.I was just shy of 10 years old on that date. My parents and other adult relatives recalled in later years how, when told about the explosion some days later, the only advice they remember receiving from


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