Before “The Last of Us” premiered on HBO Max, creator Craig Mazin did the impossible and created something just as devastating. In a five-part miniseries, “Chernobyl” told the heart-wrenching events of the infamous meltdown and the human stories surrounding it. This was a disaster on an economic, governmental, and personal scale. And yet, the people of Ukraine and surrounding Soviet countries selflessly threw themselves into cleaning up the site, knowing full well it would cost them their lives.
“The Soviets, and particularly the people of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus threw themselves at this task in a way that is shocking and beautiful and also terrifying and heartbreaking,” Mazin said in an HBO featurette. One of these moving tales involved cleaning up the roof of the power plant. With no robotics able to survive the radiation, General Nikolai Tarakanov (Ralph Ineson) has to enlist human workers to remove the graphite from the roof. Unable to stay on the roof for longer than 90 seconds or sustain fatal radiation, the men rush to remove as much debris as they can in shifts. Chernobyl is remembered for the cover-up of the disaster. But characters such as Tarakanov put a human face to the people that did everything they could to rectify it.
“It was an honour to play General Nikolai Tarakanov in #chernobyl,” Ineson posted on Instagram. “Proud to help tell the story of the 3828 bio robots. Such bravery and self-sacrifice.”