The Semipalatinsk Test Site, also known as The Polygon, was home to at least 456 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989, during the height of the Cold War. These top-secret missions were carried out with little regard for human or environmental impact in the surrounding area, just 11 miles away. Locals were told their area had been selected to help counter the threat from the US but were not aware of the full extent of the radiation damage.
Struan Stevenson, a former member of European Parliament for Scotland, slammed the programme during Amazon Prime series “The Polygon”.
He said in 2014: “People were told the Soviet military was testing new massive weapons that would give them dominance over America.
“They were not told these weapons were nuclear and there would be the question of radioactive fallout that would affect all of them.
“The KGB doctors would wait until the wind was blowing towards the villages, then detonate the bombs and spend days afterwards checking the effects on the locals.
“They were being used as human guinea pigs.”
Mr Stevenson claimed the KGB manipulated locals so they could test the full potential of their nuclear weapons.
He continued: “The KGB ordered them to pack books and bedding behind the windows of their houses and actually stand outside.
“The women were there holding their babies and the KGB told them ‘you will witness the might of Soviet technology’ and they were actually celebrating this massive bomb, not knowing it would make them severely ill.
“Igor Kurchatov and Andrei Sakharov were the fathers of the Soviet nuclear weapons.
“[Joseph] Stalin gave an order that if the bomb did not explode, the professors and all their team would be executed.”
In 1989, the anti-nuclear movement was started in Kazakhstan called “Nevada Semipalatinsk”, led by poet Olzhas Suleimenov.
The site was officially closed by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on 29 August 1991, denuclearising the country.
It has now become the best-researched atomic testing site in the world and is open to the public to visit.