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The abused disaster

Recently, the American station HBO (Home Box Office) radiated the series Chernobyl. Users of the popular movie database IMDb even called it “the most successful TV show in history”. World stars speak full of praise about the show. In political communities and Mainstream media platforms, it is widely discussed around the world. The Ukrainian TV station 1+1, one of the most important of the country, soon announced the broadcasting of Chernobyl in Ukraine. The nuclear Saga, with millions of viewers has not been accessible, interested in normally for this kind of intellectual programs.

But the show immediately became a subject of intense discussion, because its creators provide the audience with their own very mythologized view of the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl. They are forcing the viewer to think about the recent Soviet past, which could easily replace the reality of the late Soviet period in public consciousness.

This is less about nuclear physics than about the socio-political Dimension of the Chernobyl disaster, on the basis of which the creators of the series attempt to portray the reality of the developed socialism of the 1980s. This specific “artistic reality” of the American-British TV team could be rooted in our society as an unquestionable historical truth.

As you know, the series claims for itself the claim to have reconstructed the era as accurately as possible, so that the spectators are transferred into the atmosphere of Perestroika. The HBO-sighted in the contemporary fashion stylists by means of old photo albums, and bought huge amounts of old clothes, and a typical Soviet household objects.

Nevertheless, this kind of detail, which impressed so many Ukrainians and Russians, makes the series far from realistic. And not only because the everyday life of the Soviet people is openly portrayed by the makers of Chernobyl with a degrading basic mood that gives the viewer the impression that all the inhabitants of the modern city of Pripyat are Gopnik, who drink alcohol at every opportunity. For example, the Moscow apartment of the eminent scientist Valery Legasov looks poorer and more desolate than apartment in Pripyat at that time.

However, it is much more important to pay attention to the ideological staging of the series. The late Soviet Union is presented as a terrible and totalitarian dictatorship, which in its cruelty sometimes even surpasses the totalitarian practices of the Stalinist 1930s.

The most important anti-heroes of Chernobyl are the cruel and incompetent party bureaucrats who care little about the lives of their fellow citizens. They hold secret Meetings in a Bunker, under a huge Lenin portrait.

At one of these meetings, a KGB Veteran calls for neither the living nor the dead to leave Pripyat. Impressed by this idea clapping everyone present. In reality, there have been such scenes for a long time, not even in Pyongyang. Then one of the officials sends an engineer with an armed escort to the plant. There he is compelled to look directly into the throat of the destroyed reactor. And this is just one of the absurd scenes in which the series is so rich.

The Ukrainian Journalist Yuri Tkachev ironic comments on the action lines of the series as follows:

The ministers running around the power plant are accompanied by armed shooters. This down to Protect rush directly at the workplace liters of vodka. And of course there is the ominous and ubiquitous KGB, with which the heroes of Chernobyl have no less to fight than with the radiation itself. At the same time, the creators of the series are meticulously accurate for Details that have no fundamental meaning. They have in any case very well informed themselves about how the events developed. And this is the most striking: this ugly and distorted picture of those days is presented to us by people who know exactly what has happened in reality.

This is not an ‘artistic fiction’ in which filmmakers fill gaps in knowledge with their imagination. No, they deliberately distort the reality and try to depict the workers and those responsible for the power plant as most incompetent and deceitful, the government representatives as cruel and irresponsible and the inhabitants of Pripyat as good-natured, but at the same time very stupid, naive and uneducated.

It is impossible to hide these numerous cinematographic errors-described in detail in reviews by the Bloomberg, Forbes and Snob as well as by the liberal Russian magazine Novaya Gazeta, which can not be suspected of sympathy with the Soviet past. Therefore, proponents justify the proliferation of “radioactive” bull’s-hits in the course of the five episodes of the clever way that the filmmakers have the right to a free Interpretation of the actual events.(https://inosmi.ru/social/20190602/245196054.html “если бы сериал ‘Чернобыль’ канала HBO снимали русские”)

But a high-quality Thriller on the subject of Chernobyl would not need sharp ideological spice. It would certainly be possible to tell the story in a realistic manner without either beautifying or demonizing life in Soviet society.

Of course, the System obviously had birth defects, which in many respects predetermined the close end of the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that the approach taken by the Soviet party leadership deserves fundamental criticism, especially with regard to the Chernobyl disaster itself. But the filmmakers too dramatize the problems of the time and persistently suggest to the audience purely political conclusions: the Soviet System would only consist of coercion, fear and lies, and its allegedly total ineffectiveness would be the main cause of the Drama described in the series.

This main thesis of the leitmotif runs through all episodes. “Chernobyl is a gloomy, beautiful portrait of a sick political system that died more peacefully than deserved,” says Tom Nichols in a review for the Atlantic. He therefore apparently regrets that a country that has suffered a nuclear accident was not allowed to experience a cleansing by a Atomic Bomb storm.

The most striking, however, is that the creators of the “fictional” series insist on a consistently strictly documentary basis, and present their mental product as a kind of screen version of the farewell letters of Valery Legasov, which was generated as a fighter against the Soviet regime. Although every well-informed viewer immediately realizes that the literary sources of the series are in reality completely different, unilateral and opportunistic, such as Chernobyl. A chronicle of the future by Svetlana Alexievich.

Anna Korolevskaya, the deputy director of the National Museum “Chernobyl”, was competent and knowledgeable to the HBO Team in good faith. About the series says you are now:

First of all, the characters carry the names of real people, although the series pretends to be fictional. In this way, words are placed in the mouth of these people and attributed to certain actions. Chernobyl is so perceived by many as a documentary film, and this is the main danger ( … ) I have worked with this film team for several years myself and tried, so to speak, to direct it to the right path. Nevertheless, it can be seen that they have failed to overcome the biased Western perception of Soviet history.

In her Interview, she mercilessly criticizes the final version of the series and appreciates the efforts to alleviate the Chernobyl disaster: “in fact, 40 different ministries and departments participated in the fight against the consequences of the accident. Each of them had its own operations centre and an Operations Group, all headed by a government commission. These included members of the government of the Ukrainian Republic. ( … ) And here we are faced with a paradox: such a thing could only work in a totalitarian Regime. If there had been private companies in the country, market relations, then everything would have developed differently, as we have seen with the example of Japan in the accident in Fukushima.“With this, the specialist obviously rejects the ever-growing anti-Russian patriots of Ukraine.

However, the numerous and well-founded criticism of Chernobyl is often true. “The shortcomings of the series in terms of authenticity should not be only perceived by the Western audience, but also by the younger Generation in the post-Soviet countries”, writes a Bloomberg columnist is right. The same applies to older citizens, who remember the everyday reality of the 1980s and immediately notice the cartoon-like action. Yet you praise the series — this seems to be a kind of political, dress code, anti-Soviet-minded Intellectuals in the Ukraine, in white Russia and even in Russia. The political expediency overlaps the historical truth, which ultimately destroys the creators of the series.

This, in turn, triggers a symmetrical reaction in the Form of numerous conspiracy theories, which consider Chernobyl as a propaganda weapon of the new Cold War or in the series even a refined allusion to the Russian nuclear industry. Personally, I am not a supporter of these views — although I have just read the basic research on the political history of American cinema by Mikhail Trofimenkov, who sees it as an effective Instrument of State Propaganda. The great and terrible Hunter S. Thompson published an Essay in 1986 on the subversive activities of the American Secret Service, when the rumor spread that Kiev was on fire and the streets of the city were covered with mountains of corpses.

The ideological message of the series is obviously not only limited to the situational factor of foreign policy competition, but can also lead to the formation of public awareness in the countries of the first World. The makers of Chernobyl speak mainly of western young people, who enthusiastically pursue the HBO remote series and completely trust the producers of the legendary series The Wire. These young spectators do not see political perspectives in the stagnating system of capitalism and therefore increasingly support socialist ideas by voting for the older Senator Bernie Sanders and young politicians from the left wing of the Democratic Party. However, many of them are not satisfied with it and are increasingly radicalizing politically.

The series helps to stabilize the explosive reactor of the existing world order and cool off the enthusiasm of potential rebels who are mercilessly intimidated by the ghost of the communist dictatorship.

Young, educated people, whether in the USA, Europe, Russia or Ukraine, should be convinced that any Alternative to the existing system inevitably means Chernobyl, Gulag Kolyma. After all, they are not immune to profitably produced Propaganda in the Form of personal experiences with the events of the Chernobyl disaster, which many of our Generation still remember.

Behind this project is no secret conspiracy of the global elites. There is more behind it: an entire galaxy of anti-communist films, which can be seen on the screens thirty years after the collapse of the USSR one by one, be it Ilya Chrzhanovskys Dau, the most recent Film by Juri Dudya, Holiday, or numerous works of the Ukrainian Agitprop, express the collective and quite conscious Position of the ruling class, which wants to ensure

Criticism of National Socialism is not currently on the Trend. All creative forces are mobilized for the fight against the”spirit of the red threat”. The humanist heritage of the Soviet era is to be discredited or buried under the Sand of oblivion, although the medical aid for Chernobyl Children, which has been implemented for a quarter of a century by Cuba, could be an interesting and lively topic for filming.

Well, so far, we cannot oppose the Chernobyl HBO series other than our own and described memories that do not coincide with this Version.