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Here Are HBO’s Chernobyl Characters’ Real-life Counterparts


Here Are HBO’s Chernobyl Characters’ Real-life Counterparts

It seems that half of them died from painful deaths.

The casting director of Chernobyl is Nina Gold who also worked on Game of Thrones, The Crown, The King’s Speech and The Theory of Everything.

Jared Harris played Valery Legasov, a scientist who first responded to the Chernobyl disaster and issued an evacuation. He failed to stop the May Day Parade in Kiev and had to censor the mention of Soviet’s nuclear issues in his report to International Atomic Energy Agency.

His suicide attempt failed in 1987, but finally killed himself in 1988, just one day before his presentation to the politburo.

His Testament mentions that the incident was a clear example of the USSR economic situation according to World Nuclear Association.

The Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina was played by Stellan Skarsgard. He’s a politician who was the vice-chairman of the Council of the Ministers and served from 1984 to 1989. His cause of death in 1990 in Moscow was not disclosed.

Paul Ritter played the supervisor, Anatoly Dyatlov. His job was to supervise the test in Reactor 4 where the meltdown happened. He was sent to a labor camp for a sentence of 10 years but released early. He was reported to have threatened his workers’ position if they didn’t comply.

He died of heart failure in 1995 and before that, managed to wrote a book and said that he was a scapegoat to be blamed for the reactor’s incident.

Con O’Neill as Viktor Bryukhanov, the director of the plant who failed to issue an early evacuation by reporting to Moscow that the reactor was still intact which led to the devastating results. He was sentenced for 10 years as well but was released after half of his sentence due to health issues.

The Chief Engineer: Adrian Rawlins as Nikolai Fomin, was the man who insisted for water to be added to the system that caused short circuit. He was sentenced for 10 years as well and committed suicide as he awaits trial.

The trial.

Sam Troughton played Aleksandr Akimov who was the Shift Supervisor of the night crew. He was amongst those who went against the experiment but was threatened to be fired by Dyatlov. He and his crew pumped water all night.

Akimov died of ARS two weeks later.

Adam Nagaitis played Vasily Ignatenko who was the first responder that arrived to the location to kill the fire on the roof. He also died 2 weeks later.

Vassily’s wife, Lyudmila Ignatenko was played by Jessie Buckley. She was told that it was gas poisoning. He took care of his husband and others who were exposed to radiation burn. Meanwhile other nurses avoided the patients.

“They couldn’t get shoes on him because his feet had swelled up. There wasn’t a whole body to put it on.”

She had a baby girl who died after born for 4 hours from cirrhosis and congenital heart disease.

Her husband was then buried in Moscow, barefooted, with zinc and concrete shielding.

Ralph Ineson as General Nikolai Tarakanov, Commander of the Chernobyl Liquidators. He motivated 3,000 men who had to clear the roof and kept track records of the people he sent. This is according to Adam Higginbotham, the author of Midnight in Chernobyl.

HBO: Biorobots.
Real Biorobots cleaning Chernobyl.

28 liquidators died from acute radiation sickness according to WHO with the possibility of over 4,000 increased cancer deaths among the liquidators.

David Dencik as Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of USSR who was mostly criticized for his late response during the Chernobyl disaster. The 88-year-old politician is still alive and won a Nobel Prize in 1990 for ending the Cold War.

These were the three brave men, Valeri Bezpalov, Alexi Ananeko and Boris Baranov, who went back into the reactor chambers to release the water.

What looked like a suicide mission ended up as a heroic story they could tell alive. The water absorbed a lot of the radiation and it saved them, according to Andrew Leatherbarrow’s ‘Chernobyl 01:23:40’.

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