HBO’s adaptation of the events that unfolded surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant disaster in 1986 has received acclaim from viewers and critics alike. However, it seems that Russia is currently filming its own version for local audiences. Recent reports state that Russia believes that there were key elements missing from HBO’s Chernobyl that will be addressed in the Russian version.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, NTV, “a top free-to-air network, owned by Gazprom Media,” has a series currently in post-production that will delve into the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occurred on April 25, 1986 in Ukraine, near the Belarus border. Ukraine was then a member of the Soviet Union. At the time, the cleanup efforts were extensive and the reported loss of life, while varied according to sources, is generally believed to be extended once long-term effects are factored in.
Little is known about the Russian film version of the Chernobyl disaster. However, THR states that the upcoming series will center on “KGB officers searching for a CIA agent stationed at the nuclear power plant.” It is also known that 30 million rubles ($460,000 USD) have been allocated toward the TV series by the culture ministry. A total budget has not been released for the Russian Chernobyl series. For the record, Gazprom Media is also the media arm of natural gas giant Gazprom.
CNet lists actor Dmitry Ulyanov as playing the role of the CIA spy, the series antagonist. Director Alexei Muradov will aim to show a different side to the Chernobyl disaster than what is commonly known by outsiders.
“There is a hypothesis with the interference of Americans in the work of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” Muradov told Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, according to CNet.
“Many historians do not exclude the fact that on the day of the explosion one of the agents of the enemy intelligence services was working at the station.”
Journalist Ilya Shepelin also speaks of the shame involved with an American network telling the story of the Chernobyl disaster.
“The fact that an American, not a Russian, TV channel tells us about our own heroes is a source of shame that the pro-Kremlin media apparently cannot live down,” Shepelin wrote in the Moscow Times.
Shepelin states this is the real reason that Russia has decided to go ahead with its own interpretation of the events at the Chernobyl Power Plant back in 1986.
While Russia’s NTV is planning to set the record straight regarding the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, THR also states that HBO’s Chernobyl has already aired in Russia via Amediateka, which airs HBO content.
The five-part limited miniseries, Chernobyl, is currently airing on HBO.