Chernobyl is a Sky and HBO co-production examining the fallout of the nuclear disaster in 1986. At the time, the explosion took place in the USSR, which was controlled by the government in Russia. The show looks at the extent to which the USSR at the time attempted to reduce coverage of the explosion. But did the cover-up cost lives and why was it covered up?
Why did the Russians cover it up?
The Chernobyl disaster happened on April 26, 1986, in the town of Pripyat in Ukraine.
At the time it was under the government of USSR, which tried to limit the impact of its coverage.
For example, the official Soviet recording of the number of deaths in the Chernobyl disaster is 31.
However, it is thought the real figure is much higher, with Greenpeace claiming it could be over 93,000.
Creator of the HBO and Sky show Craig Mazin, said at a London screening: “The Soviet number is 31.
“There are estimates all over the place, it is difficult because of course, the Soviets did not keep records and if they did, they got rid of them or didn’t share them.”
This depiction is based on historian accounts that the Soviet government did try to cover-up the true nature of the nuclear disaster.
WAS THERE MUCH AWARENESS ABOUT RADIATION DURING CHERNOBYL?
After Ukraine became independent when the USSR fell, historians were given the chance to study the disaster.
However, historian Dr Natalia Baranovskaya told 2015 documentary The Russian Woodpecker that the records had been destroyed.
She said: “When Ukraine became independent, professional historians had the opportunity and the need to find the truth.
“But I went to the archives and nothing was there.
“Everything was disbanded, scattered about and in short, destroyed.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHERNOBYL DIVERS?
Did Russia cover up of Chernobyl cost lives?
In episode one of the HBO and Sky series, scientist Valery Legasov (played by Jared Harris) says into his tape recorder: “What is the cost of lies?
“It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognise the truth at all. What can we do then?”
Throughout the series we see Legasov struggling to deal with how the USSR responds to the disaster and the potential consequences of this.
One immediate consequence of the misinformation is seen in episode two when viewers are shown how it took until the early hours of April 27 before the town of Pripyat was evacuated.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF RADIATION SICKNESS?
This was because information about the initial explosion at the reactor was not widely reported for many hours.
This meant that many were exposed to nuclear radiation for longer than they should have been, which is likely to have affected their health.
However, while it is definitely a theme of the show that this cover-up could have cost lives, there is no definitive evidence of this.
Russia disputes the version of events presented in the television show and has announced plans to remake it.
The show will be created by NTV and follows around a CIA agent dispatched to Pripyat before the disaster.
Chernobyl is available to watch on NOW TV.
Source: Read Full Article