Everyone seems to be absolutely enamored with HBO’s five-part Chernobyl miniseries. A lot of us here on Flixist love it (I’m sure I will, when I get to it!), and critics and viewers alike seem to be on the same page as well. At least here in the good ‘ol capitalist US of A.
Though internationally Chernobyl has garnered similar praise, the Kremlin seems to take a different stance. News broke that NTV, a Russian production company held by nationalist gas company Gazprom is currently finishing post-production on a dramatization featuring a Russian take on the Chernobyl incident.
The Russian series is said to feature a plot that “implicates the United States as playing a role in the disaster,” with allusions to historical allegations of American sabotage at the plant on the day of the accident. This would conflict with the accepted truth of the situation, endorsed by the United Nations and the World Nuclear Association, which is the story of flawed equipment operated outside of protocol.
The series is also reported to have received 30 million rubles (or approximately $460,000) of funding from the Russian Ministry of Culture.
Perspective is crucial in drama, but more so in the telling of history, which HBO’s Chernobyl seems to have done for a large percentage of its viewers. Naturally, there are dramatic embellishments, but as a piece of docufiction, or an otherwise-dramatic representation of fact, Chernobyl would appear to at least be inspiring viewers to seek out greater details on a massive, relatively recent historical event.
The Russian series, from where this writer sits, screams of propaganda right out of the gates, with an early slant against an outside factor to shift blame, rather than a desire to depict the tragedy itself. As someone who’s not yet viewed Chernobyl, I couldn’t say whether the series looks to place blame or simply live in a historical moment, accounting for the mistakes made, so perhaps the HBO show is at fault as well, though the overwhelming praise would seem to indicate otherwise.
Of course, the Russian Chernobyl series remains in post-production, and shouldn’t be condemned one way or another just yet, as it remains uncertain as to when it will air.
Unhappy with HBO’s ‘Chernobyl,’ Russia is planning its own series — blaming the CIA [The Washington Post]