In April 1986, a huge explosion erupted at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine. This series follows the stories of the men and women, who tried to contain the disaster, as well as those who gave their lives preventing a subsequent and worse one.
Though Craig Mazin sought authenticity in the way the characters addressed each other, he said he opted against always using the accurate formal address in Russian, in which one refers to a peer or superior by their first name and patronymic as opposed to a title and last name. For example, Legasov would address Shcherbina as Boris Yevdokimovich, not Comrade Shcherbina. Despite the accuracy, Mazin felt this was too distracting for Western audiences and would create a level of confusion. See more »
People refer to each other in the form "Comrade-surname," which is inappropriate among colleagues. Dyatlov's subordinates would have called him "Dyatlov" among themselves and "Anatoly Stepanovich" (his first name and patronymic) when addressing him directly, rather than "Comrade Dyatlov." However, it is likely the writers decided against using the correct forms of address to avoid confusion with non-Russian viewers, who might think, for example, that Stepanovich is Dyatlov's surname. See more »
As my mother tells it, the weather was quite nice, the sky was clear without any sign of clouds in the spring of 1986. It was like any other day behind the iron curtain. Not a lot to do but not a lot to worry about either, a long day of boring work after dropping the kid off at the kindergarten, just to pick him up again at the afternoon, just like yesterday or any other day since the beginning of time. This is why she did not understand why the old lady (who she very much liked because she seemed to love children and had that neverstopping smile) told everyone at the nursery school not to let the children out to play, don't feed them the veggies and don't let them drink the milk we had for every lunch before that day. We lived in a hungarian town close to the croatian border and the life in that town was pretty simple apart from that day. We lived 900 kms from Chernobyl and we did not even know that place exists until 3 days later.
Apparently a man who did not introduce himself called most of the schools and nurseries in the country and told them the same message. A lot of teachers did not take it seriously as he did not mention any details, just the warning: do not let the children out, do not feed them any vegetables which grows overground (potatoes are fine), do not let them drink anything apart from bottled liquids.
Noone knew what it was about. Noone knew what danger we are in. I assume this is why it was such a shock. The life was simple and we were not supposed to know stuff. We were not supposed to be afraid, maybe only because the capitalist pigs over the iron curtain. But something changed that day. A faceless, nameless man risked his life and called everyone he could to warn them about Chernobyl. News like this is not easy to contain, soon everyone was talking about what could happen and why. Is it a nuclear attack? Is it the CIA? Are they looking at us from satelites? Are they bombing us?
It was the first crack on the Iron Curtain. Not Reagan's stupid monologue, not the thousands of fleeing east-germans, not the soviets economy's ridiculous debts. Entire nations realized their lives mean nothing, millions felt betrayed. A man with no name defeated the Soviet regime with a few telephone calls.
We still don't know who that man was. After 30 years and a few inquiries we have no clue who risked his life to prevent thousands of deaths and millions of illnesses. Some historians are adamant the person was executed and vanished without a trace, some say noone found him at all. All I know I have to be grateful for him. We all have to be. He saved a nation. Sure, we could survive the radioactive cloud the mild wind blew over our country but when I look at my two children who are the same age I was back then I am pretty sure I am not willing to take any risks. Would you?
Dear anonymous man who defied a violent regime to save millions: We will forever be grateful. Dear ukranian workers whose names we will never know: We will forever be grateful. The workers whose names we know: We will forever be grateful.
This show tells a story noone should forget and this is the right way to tell it. Bluntly. How the man with no name told us.
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