Russia is making a rival to HBO's 'Chernobyl' which focuses on a conspiracy theory that a CIA agent caused the nuclear disaster

HBOThe Chernobyl Power Plant control room depicted in HBO’s miniseries.
  • Russia is making its own TV series about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster to rival the HBO miniseries.
  • But the Russian version will be about a KGB agent hunting down CIA agents trying to sabotage the nuclear reactor before the disaster, director Alexei Muradov said on Tuesday.
  • HBO’s “Chernobyl” series attributed the nuclear disaster to Soviet state censorship and reckless decisions made by senior staff at the plant.
  • Many journalists from the former Soviet Union called HBO’s portrayal inaccurate and slanderous.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Russia is working on its own TV show about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster – but this version focuses on a conspiracy theory that a CIA agent sabotaged the reactor.

The Russian show, whose release date is not yet known, comes at the heels of HBO’s successful miniseries, “Chernobyl.”

The HBO show attributes the 1986 nuclear disaster to a combination of reckless decisions made by senior plant staff and Soviet state censorship, which resulted in the government hiding dangerous problems at the plant from the public, as well as other scientists and plant staff.

Donald Sumpter Chernobyl HBO miniseries Liam Daniel/HBODonald Sumpter on HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ miniseries.

This portrayal is considered highly accurate. Many former Soviet, however, slammed it as inaccurate and slanderous of the Soviet Union.

Read more:
What HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ gets right (and wrong) about the world’s worst nuclear power plant accident

The nuclear disaster propelled radioactive particles over 1,000 square miles of Ukraine and Belarus. The death toll remains unknown, but some studies say tens of thousands of people died as a result of the leak.

Moscow’s version of “Chernobyl” – which is produced by NTV, an arm of Russia’s majority state-owned Gazprom Media – is premised on the theory that CIA agents sabotaged the nuclear reactor, which ultimately led to the accident, NTV said in April 2018.

Specifically, the plot will follow a Russian KGB agent in the town of Pripyat, near the plant, as he tries to track down US spies before they trigger the disaster, director Alexei Muradov told The Moscow Times on Tuesday.

Russia’s ministry of culture gave NTV 30 million rubles ($US462,000) to produce the Russian version of Chernobyl, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The idea for Russia’s version of “Chernobyl” is based from a popular conspiracy theory in the country, Muradov told The Moscow Times.

“One theory holds that Americans had infiltrated the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and many historians do not deny that, on the day of the explosion, an agent of the enemy’s intelligence services was present at the station,” he said.

The US and Soviet Union were in the midst of the Cold War at the time of the explosion, and espionage and mutual mistrust were high.

Read more:
Russia still has 10 Chernobyl-style reactors that scientists say aren’t necessarily safe

Journalists from former Soviet countries have taken issue with HBO’s adaptation of the nuclear disaster.

One writer from Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia’s most popular paper, said last month the series was designed to slander Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear energy company.

The same newspaper also ran the headline on a separate story, which said according to The Guardian: “Chernobyl did not show the most important part – our victory.”

Another journalist wrote in Kosovo’s Express Gazeta that HBO had wrongly depicted “ignobility, carelessness and petty tyranny.”

HBO’s “Chernobyl” is the highest-rated TV series of all time,Esquire cited IMDB as saying.

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