Elena Filatova

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Elena Filatova
Born 1974
Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Pen name Kid of Speed
Gamma Girl
Occupation Writer, Photographer
Genre Nonfiction, History

Elena Vladimirovna Filatova (Russian: Елена Филатова, Ukrainian: Олена Володимирівна Філатова; born 1974 in Ukraine, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian motorcyclist and photographer who uses the online nickname "KiddOfSpeed". In 2004, she gained internet fame after publishing online a photo-essay presented as solo motorcycle rides through Chernobyl's zone of alienation.[1] Her website gained popularity due to its mention on Slashdot and other online news sources. Soon after its publication, the truthfulness of her website was called into question (see Hoax allegations).[2] Filatova has also made photo-documentary websites of Kiev-area history about the Orange Revolution and about the city's historic "Serpent's Wall" defensive earthworks and their role in the fighting there during World War II.

Chernobyl photos and motorcycle trip[edit]

Filatova's website contains a series of photographs documenting the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, starting just under 18 years after the nuclear disaster there. She visited the virtually abandoned city of Prypiat, Ukraine and a circular area surrounding the 1986 Chernobyl disaster known as the Exclusion Zone.[3]

Her website features a large number of photographs of Chernobyl-area buildings, cottages, rusting carnival equipment, and the interiors of disused Prypiat schools, shops, and apartments. The photos are mostly snapshots of the scenery, but a few show Filatova —usually with Shoei-brand motorcycle gear. Some show a motorcycle.[4] The photos are presented as an account of a trip by a biker who trekked alone in the radiation zone.

Hoax allegations and response[edit]

According to exclusion zone tour guide Rimma Kyselytsia, Filatova and her husband came on a regular tour organized by a Kiev travel agency traveling in a car provided by Chernobylinterinform. Kyselytsia stated that the story documented on Filatova's website is untrue; Filatova did not ride a motorcycle alone in the zone but "came with her husband and a friend on a regular tour". According to Kyselytsia, Filatova's husband took most of the pictures and staged some of them. Los Angeles Times journalist Mary Mycio traced some of the pictures on the website to a Ukrainian coffee table book and identified some as anachronisms, showing chemical showers that no longer existed and saplings that had grown into trees by the time of Filatova's tour.[2]

Yuri Tatarchuk , a Chernobyl tour guide who brings disaster tourists to the region, later said that Filatova's account is fictional —and that she "booked a tour, wore a leather biker jacket and posed for pictures."[5]

Around May 16, 2004, Filatova posted to her website that she was "being accused that it was more poetry in this story then [sic] reality. I partly accept this accusation, it still was more reality then [sic] poetry"; by May 24 she had removed the note.[6]

Other projects[edit]

Among her projects is a photo-journal about the Serpent's Wall near the city of Kiev, her home.[7] The journal contains photos of Filatova's exploration of an ancient wall and more modern World War II fortifications built amongst its remains.

Other links in her website lead to her photo journal of the day of Ukraine's Orange Revolution.[8] In April 2007, she posted more photos of the surrounding Chernobyl area that had been taken in March of that year.[9]

One of the latest projects on the site is photos of abandoned Soviet prison camps established under Joseph Stalin as part of the Soviet Gulag system.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (2006-04-15). "Nuclear ghosts shadow victims". The Advertiser (Adelaide). Retrieved 2008-09-05. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Mycio, Mary (2004-07-06). "The World; Account of Chernobyl Trip Takes Web Surfers for a Ride". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  3. ^ Staff (2005-08-27). "A day in the half-life of Chernobyl". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  4. ^ http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter2.html
  5. ^ Chivers, C.J. (2005-06-15). "Prypiat Journal; New Sight in Chernobyl's Dead Zone: Tourists". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Wayback archive for http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  7. ^ Filatova, Elena. "The Perpent's Wall". Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Filatova, Elena. "STOLEN ELECTION". Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Filatova, Elena. "Spring 2007". Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Filatova, Elena. "Excursion to Gulag". Retrieved 9 July 2013. 


External links[edit]