"What is the cost of lies?". This question is definitive for understanding "Chernobyl" mini-series.
I was a kid living near Pryp'iat' when the forth nuclear reactor exploded. Both of my parents worked at that Nuclear Power Plant. My sister went to school in Pryp'iat' on April 26, 1986. Nobody told us nothing about the danger. Moreover, those, who wanted to leave Pryp'iat' for personal reasons weren't allowed to do so. Only after more than 36 hours after the disaster, on sunny Sunday evacuation begun. We were told that the evacuation is only a "temporally measure" and that we will come back to our homes on the next day, after they'll "clean up" Pryp'iat'. Well, more than 30 years have passed since that promise. They told us nothing about the level of radiation, neither gave us potassium iodide. My parents, who went back as so-called "liquidators" told me that even in the May of 1986 they were deceived about the radioactivity level and didn't receive potassium iodide. Most of their colleagues are dead by now. There were lie everywhere and about everything.
The mini-series nailed most of that lies and show its consequences. The criminal and cowardice nature of the soviet government, the incompetence and fear of big and small "bosses" without proper education, but with big ambitions. The fear and meanness of careerists with black souls, ready to lie to the last and easily sacrifice others. Especially easily such liars are willing to sacrifice others. The conscript soldiers and reservists (which were called "partisans" by liquidators) who were sent to the roof to clear it from graphite are mostly dead by now. These "bio-robots" were sometimes misused, worked over the "safe" time, sent back more and more. Such dehumanization is terrifying. Evacuated people not only lost their homes and all their previous lives - they were doomed to diseases and "stigmatization" by society. Their lives were divided on "before" and "after" the disaster. In the May, 1986 along the roads near Pryp'at' lay a lot of shot dogs - it was heartbreaking to see, my mother recalls. She was looking for our dog among those dead bodies.
This is the real cost of lies. "The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all". Soviet atmosphere and life recreated as thoroughly as possible. Total lies, cowardice, incompetence and inhumanity of the system and its functionaries evoke memories and is as frighten as a revived corpse enchanted by necromancers from HBO. Craig Mazin has created a spiritualistic seance under the guise of the mini-series. The degree of immersion and horror is amazing. No horror film is capable of what reality is capable of. Musical accompaniment, background noises, absurdity and madness of what is happening on the screen, the doom of the performers of someone else's will, going to suffering and death. And the total lie of all and about everything. All of these shown by wonderful actors cast, with tense dramatization, perfect ambient sounds and music. Deep and haunting show, with excellent balance between staying true to the real story and keeping audience in suspense despite the fact that we all know how the story ends.
The whole soviet system was build on lies, on denial of truth. All we are eager to believe in convenient lies rather than to accept painful truth. And sooner or later such ignorance of reality inevitably leads us to collision with it - the real world reminds about itself ruthlessly to those, who are willing to live in dreams instead of reality. But when the lies became building material for the whole political system, the manifestation of truth can became catastrophic. Truth is like radiation - it is invisible and you can easily deny its existence until you begin to vomit and die from radiation sickness or, if "lucky", from cancer.
P.S. Some commentators complains about the absence of "Russian language" are ridiculous - locals spoke Russian at best with their national accents. In small villages locals spoke Ukrainian or Belorussian or mixed both languages. Thereby one essential factor was missed in the mini-series. As liquidators joked with grim humor, in Pryp'iat' Moscow wanted to extinguish all the national minorities - in 1986 conscripts from Latvia were "thrown" to Pryp'iat', in 1987 - conscripts from Central Asia. The local population were Ukrainian with nearby Belorussians. Moscow didn't care much, because population of Russia did not suffer at all in a result of that stupid experiment conducted by the order of Moscow bosses on the reactor designed with engineering miscalculations. When it exploded, mostly Ukrainians and Belorussians suffered, with other national minorities sent there as conscripts.
P.P.S. "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Or you may live in lies, in illusions, slave of fear, and truth will truly crush you. Everyone decide for themselves.
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