Russian Media is so Butthurt About HBO Chernobyl Mini Series #chernobyl
The pro-Kremlin version blames the CIA for the disaster
The pro-Kremlin TV channel plans to broadcast a miniseries about Chernobyl, according to the plot of which a saboteur from the CIA stood behind the radiation disaster of 1986, due to which up to a million people were exposed..
The Kremlin is extremely unhappy with the recent successful five-part HBO project on Chernobyl, the authors of which emphasized the courage and dedication of people who tried to extinguish the fire and contain the consequences of the meltdown in the reactor, but at the same time spoke in detail about the mistakes of the Soviet leadership, the slow response to the disaster and years of denial of design flaws.
At that time, the authorities tried to completely blame the disaster on the mistake of incompetent reactor staff during the test..
Thanks to the enthusiastic responses of critics and viewers, “Chernobyl” came to the first place in the rating of TV series according to IMDb, ahead of even “Game of Thrones”. The miniseries were also praised by historians for the accuracy of the story. However, the Kremlin, pro-government commentators and publications have criticized the HBO series, claiming that it tarnishes Russia’s reputation as a great nuclear power..
The weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” called the series “a caricature, not the truth.” Stanislav Natanzon, the host of the Russia-24 TV channel, joked: “There is not enough bear and accordion”.
In an article for The Moscow Times, Ilya Shepelin, a correspondent for the independent TV channel Dozhd, expressed the opinion that the negative reaction was generated by jealousy and spoke more about critics than about the series itself. “The fact that the American HBO channel tells us about their feat, and not ourselves, is a shame that the pro-state media cannot possibly survive,” he writes..
Other independent observers believe the series’ main flaw from the Kremlin’s perspective is its lack of patriotism. In its project, the NTV channel, owned by the state energy giant Gazprom, plans to show precisely patriotic feelings. The series, which is filmed in Belarus, promotes the idea that a foreign conspiracy was behind the explosion of reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Pripyat..
According to media reports, the project is financed by the Russian Ministry of Culture, which has allocated a grant of $ 460,000 to the channel..
The marketing materials of the project set out a plot, in the center of which is a CIA agent deployed in Pripyat, who is tasked with collecting information about the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The main character of the series is a Russian counterintelligence agent trying to track him down.
There is no evidence of the real presence of a CIA agent in Chernobyl, but the director of the series Alexei Muradov promises that his project will tell viewers what really happened.
Apparently, it is planned to do this without retelling the stories of firefighters, liquidators and hundreds of military personnel and civilians who were involved in the analysis of radioactive debris, containment of the consequences of the accident and the construction of a sarcophagus over the reactor..
Alexey Muradov said: “According to one theory, the Americans infiltrated the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. And many historians do not deny that an enemy intelligence agent was present at the station on the day of the explosion. “.
In recent years, NTV has produced a number of documentaries reflecting the Kremlin’s position.
For example, in August 2014, the channel broadcast a picture in which critics of Russian politics in Ukraine were called “traitors” and “fascists.” In Anatomy of a Protest, anti-government activists in the former Soviet republics were called “puppets of the West” and CIA agents. The film used edited recordings of wiretapped conversations, apparently transmitted to the producers by the Russian special services of the FSB..
According to various estimates, the radiation release from the explosion of reactor No. 4 killed 4,000 (original UN estimate) to 200,000 people (Greenpeace estimate). Radioactive plumes spread over large areas of the territory in the west of the USSR and in Europe. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60 percent of radioactive fallout fell in Belarus.
In the Kremlin, the incident was recognized only two days after the explosion, when scientists in Sweden raised the alarm in connection with a sharp jump in radiation levels.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did not comment publicly for three weeks and aggressively denied attempts to withhold information, insisting that the authorities in Moscow did not know what was going on. In an interview with The Associated Press in 2006, he said that in the first days the authorities tried to get an idea of what had happened, and only later did they realize the drama of the situation..
Subsequently, historians came to the conclusion that the Chernobyl disaster became a catalyst for the policy of glasnost, which opened the way for reforms and the subsequent collapse of the USSR..
Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely talks about Chernobyl and the people who survived the disaster, and even then only on the occasion of big anniversaries: he last touched on this topic in 2016, in connection with the 30th anniversary of the accident. According to Shepelin, this is due to the fact that Putin cannot turn this event into an object of national pride..
Independent observers note that since 2012, when Putin’s third presidential term began, the Kremlin has tightened its grip on the media, insisting that they portray Russia in a patriotic vein as the last stronghold of traditional values under attack from the “decaying West.”.
As Russian journalist Daria Litvinova notes in last year’s report to the Reuters Institute, the government promotes conservatism based on three pillars: the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, “family values” and “Russia’s great past.”.
The HBO series was not shown on any of the Russian TV channels, but viewers could watch it online for a fee. Whether the Russians will be able to see such projects in the near future raises serious doubts, critics of the Kremlin say. Last month, the State Duma tentatively approved a bill on “digital sovereignty” designed to separate the Russian segment of the Internet from the global.