'Chernobyl': Russian Communists Want 'Disgusting' HBO Series Banned for 'Demonizing the Soviet Regime and Soviet People'

HBO's hit series Chernobyl has been met with unanimous critical acclaim for its horrifying-yet-touching depiction of the 1986 nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine.

But despite rave reviews among journalists and fans, not everyone is happy with the groundbreaking series. The response in Russia has—in some circles—been tepid at best, with critics arguing that it should not be left to western writers and actors to tell a story that took place in the Soviet Union.

A Russian communist party now wants to take things a step further and impose a blanket ban on the series being screened in the country.

The Communists of Russia party, not to be confused with the larger and more influential Communist Party of the Russian Federation, released a statement calling on Roskomnadzor—the federal body responsible for media censorship—to file a libel case against HBO for its "disgusting" depiction of the Soviet Union.

The party accused HBO of "demonizing the image of the Soviet government and Soviet people" in the five-part series, which has been praised for its sensitive depiction of the hundreds of thousands of normal people who were forced to respond to the accident, preventing a far worse tragedy.

However, it also serves as a cautionary tale of the incompetence, corruption and secrecy that riddled Soviet governance and was partially to blame for the disaster.

The Communists of Russia dismissed the program as "an ideological tool" and suggested: "The real tragedy is the Chernobyl series." The statement argued: "The motivation, the actions of the heroes, the order of relationships in institutions and collectives, the moral climate in Soviet society, are an absolute lie."

Chernobyl is the highest-rated show on the IMDb online movie database with a score of 9.6 out of 10. On a Russian equivalent of IMDb—KinoPoisk—the show has a score of 9.1, suggesting most Russians don't share the opinion of the communist party.

Indeed, it has been praised at the highest levels of government. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky—who belongs to the United Russia party formerly led by President Vladimir Putin—said the series was "made masterfully," The Hollywood Reporter noted.

Medinsky—whose father was among the so-called "liquidators" who cleaned up the power plant and the surrounding area after the incident—said Chernobyl was created "with the greatest of respect for ordinary people...My father, who was a liquidator practically from the first day, said that, yes, in general it was just like in the film."

The Kremlin, however, is reportedly mulling making its own version of the show, which will blame CIA agents for the explosion at the power plant.

Chernobyl, Communists, Russia, Soviet Union
A memorial for victims of the Chernobyl disaster is pictured in front of the New Safe Confinement structure covering the destroyed fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in Ukraine on November 22, 2018. Getty/SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP