People flocking to Chernobyl nuclear disaster site for Instagram selfies

It's 2019 and culture is bizarre, which means nuclear disaster zone Chernobyl has now become prime Instagram fodder.

Following the success of the HBO historical drama, which has been dubbed one of the best shows on television, people are taking selfies in the now-deserted towns where thousands of people died.

As fans of the TV show (or Russian history) would know, much of the then-Soviet Union had to be evacuated in 1986, after the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine malfunctioned, causing deadly particles to spew into the air and across kilometres of land.

The official death toll has not been recorded, but experts say it could be anywhere between 4000, to around 93,000, due to deaths from radiation related illnesses.

The Chernobyl site has been open to tourists since 2011, when authorities deemed it safe to visit. Local tour operators say in the days since the show has finished airing, a fresh groundswell of tourists have swarmed the area.

One Ukrainian agency told Reuters there has been a 30 percent spike in Chernobyl tours in May 2019 when compared to May 2018. There has also been a 40 percent increase in bookings for the months of June, July and August.

Bruno Zupan posted a compilation of pictures from Instagram on Sunday, showing a variety of poses from various dumb idiots visiting the area.

One post from Instagram user 'nz.nik' has drawn particular attention: a photo of the woman shedding a Hazmat suit to show off G-string underwear.

"So taking a pic in the air of a place that affected a lot of innocent lives supposed to be an aesthetic scene for you?" one commenter asked.

"Jesus, what is wrong with you?" commented another.

Instagram influencer Julia Baessler also posted a series of images herself inside the destroyed unit of the Chernobyl plant.

"Something I will never forget," she wrote in the caption of the post, along with photos of her in a Hazmat suit.

She also posted images posing with abandoned swings and buildings.

"I don't know about you but I see a place like this and I do not stop crying for days. I do not know how you can stomach doing these kinds of photos," someone commented on a post.

Even the writer of the series has begged fans to think of the lives, rather than the likes.

"It's wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion," screenwriter Craig Mazin tweeted on Wednesday morning. "But yes, I've seen the photos going around.

"If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comfort yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed."

It's not the first time Instagram influencers have come under fire for using tragedy as material. A number of "cringe worthy" Instagram influencers were criticised earlier this year for the misuse of the #PrayforSriLanka hashtag.