HBO’s critically acclaimed miniseries, Chernobyl still continues to stay on the top of the charts. This series gives a dramatized but accurate representation of the deadly explosion that was termed as the worst man-made disaster in history. Here is a list of the cast of the show and their real-life counterparts.
1. Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, Scientist
Valery Legasov was the deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy who was also responsible for investigating the Chernobyl accident. He was an honest personality who tried to be open about what really happened. The investigation took a toll on him professionally and emotionally and this forced Lergasov to take his own life a day before the results of the investigation. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, eight years after his death, for his efforts to tell the reality about Chernobyl.
2. Jessie Buckley as Lyudmila Ignatenko, Vasily’s wife
Lyudmila Ignatenko was the wife of Vasily Ignatenko , a firefighter. She went through a heartbreaking experience where she saw her husband for two weeks dying in agony. The hospital requested her to stay away from her beloved because she was pregnant but she ignored those warnings completely. A few months later, she gave birth to a baby but, it died soon after birth because it was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and congenital heart disease. It is said that Lyudmila still lives in Ukraine but nothing can be said for sure.
3. Stellan Skarsgard as Boris Shcherbina, Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Shcherbina was the member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and he held his position till his death. During 1984, he became the vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers and he was made in charge of dealing with the Chernobyl accident in 1986. He was acting as the crisis management supervisor. He went on to become the first President of independent Russia.
4. Sam Troughton as Aleksandr Akimov, Shift Supervisor of the night crew
On the night of the disaster, Aleksandr Akimov was on duty. When he was informed that something was horribly wrong, he didn’t believe it. In fact, he relayed false information to his superiors for quite some time which turned out to be the worst mistake. When he finally understood the seriousness of the situation, he stayed on the site to do everything he possibly could to mitigate it. Akimov declared an emergency when the reactor had exploded but it was too late. He stayed behind along with other engineers who were trying their best to contain the situation. He died due to ARS, two weeks later.
5. Adam Nagaitis as Vasily Ignatenko, a Pripyat firefighter
Vasily Ignatenko was one of the first firefighters to have reached the scene of the roof fire without knowing the extent of the situation. He was exposed to harmful radiation along with his colleagues. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital two weeks later.
Biorobots were basically civil military personnel who were called upon to deal with the consequences of the disaster on the site. They were also known as Chernobyl liquidators and they are hugely credited with limiting the immediate and long-term damage from the disaster. Many liquidators were given significant social benefits because of their veteran status. The Soviet government and the press praised their efforts.
7. Paul Ritter as Anatoly Dyatlov, Supervisor
Anatoly Dyatlov, the deputy chief engineer was responsible for supervising the test that led to the explosion. When the reactor power slipped to 30 MW, he insisted the operators continue the test. He ignored the warnings signs given by Akimov and Toptunov which, ultimately led to the explosion. Even after the explosion, Anatoly Dyatlov believed the reactor was intact and was working fine. Dyatlov was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the explosion but he was set free after serving 5 years. He passed away from heart failure in 1995.
8. David Dencik as Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union
Mikhail Gorbachev was the final leader of the Soviet Union who faced worldwide condemnation for failing to issue an immediate statement about the disaster. He informed the rest of the world about the disaster only after 18 days. He was considered a significant figure during the second half of the 20th century but he still remains the subject of controversy. He was a Noble Prize winner who still operates in Russia’s political circles.
9. Con O’neill as Viktor Bryukhanov, Plant Director
Viktor Bryukhanov was the plant manager who arrived at the site at 2:30 AM. Akimov informed him about the situation but due to limitations of available instruments, they couldn’t do much to contain the massive radiation levels. Bryukhanov immediately contacted Maryin, the deputy secretary for the nuclear power industry to report about the situation. Later, Moscow, ordered feeding water to the reactor at 4 AM but it was already too late. Bryukhanov was the Director of the Chernobyl site so, he was imprisoned for 10 years but, he served only 5 years of the sentence due to illness.
10. Ralph Ineson as General Nikolai Tarakanov, Commander of the Chernobyl liquidators
General Nikolai Tarakanov was the commander of the Chernobyl liquidators. He gave motivational speeches and inspirational talks to more than 3,000 liquidators who risked their lives to clear the roof.
11. Adrian Rawlins as Nikolai Fomin, Chief engineer
Nikolai Fomin was the Chief Engineer who arrived in the Block 4 control room at 4:30 AM to assess the situation. Fomin was informed about the seriousness of the situation but he kept pushing the staff to feed water to the reactor. He asked for more people in unit 4 to replace those who were being disabled by the radiation. Later, he ordered his replacement to climb the roof of unit C and survey the reactor, because of which, Sitnikov received a fatal radiation dose. Before the trial, Nikolai Fomin had a mental breakdown and he tried to kill himself. He was finally sentenced to 10 years in labour camp. Just like the others, he didn’t serve a full sentence due to health reasons but, no one really knows what happened to him after his release.
12. The Trial
Watch the complete series here.
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