“People prefer to endanger their children’s health rather than leave Baikonur”
My husband is works at the Baikonur base. After the explosion, when he came home, he felt sick, and since then, he has a strange, sweet taste in his mouth. They gave vitamin injections to everyone who was at the site, and several people were hospitalised.As for me, I felt nauseated after the explosion. There’s panic in the town; people fear the toxic fumes will blow towards us and poison us. So they’ve gone to pharmacies en masse to buy masks.People are aware of the health risks posed by the rocket base, but they also know full well that the town will die if the Russians stop using the site: before they started leasing the site in 1994, monthly salaries were around 3,000 to 5,000 rubles (around 75-100 euros). Now, the average salary is around 30,000 rubles (around 750 euros). That’s a lot higher than nearby towns. People prefer to risk their children’s health rather than leave here. They’re prepared to suffer and save up lots of money, build new homes in Russia and then leave here forever.However, you have to be Russian to benefit from this. For me, it’s almost impossible to find a job with some sort of link to the base. Even though I’m married to a Russian, I can’t obtain Russian nationality unless I live on Russian soil permanently. Two years ago, young people protested and called for the Russians to leave.I don’t believe for a second that the launches will end: Kazakhstan will almost certainly receive some form of compensation for Tuesday’s launch failure. In a way, it’s profitable to Kazakhstan if Russia’s rocket launches fail. [Editor’s Note: The loss of three satellites is estimated to cost Russia 200 million euros].