After the huge success of HBO and Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl, Russia have decided to make their own version that shifts the blame onto the the American CIA.

I always wonder how it feels so be, say, Russian and to play something like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or 3, where to intents and purposes, they’re considered the bad guys.

Can you just remove yourself from the narrative and play as an impartial party? I’m not sure I’d love a game where I was fighting the British quite like I love the Modern Warfare series, but then I wouldn’t know until I tried it.


Basically, it must be pretty annoying to be a Russian just living your life and then constantly portrayed to be the bad guys in things like video games and James Bond films.


The latest mainstream piece of media to show Russia in a less-than-favourable light is the hit show Chernobyl, courtesy of HBO and Sky Atlantic.


Chernobyl dramatises the tragedy involving the meltdown of Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR in 1986, and essentially shows Soviet bureaucrats making a series of bad moves during and after the incident.


Conversely to this portrayal, many believe that the CIA played a part in the meltdown, even being largely to blame for the disaster that still extracts its toll today.


With that, an alternative Russian series is being made, that follows a heroic KGB agent trying – and ultimately failing – the thwart the nefarious plans of the CIA operative. That’s me paraphrasing the plot, by the way; not my opinion on what happened.

NTV, owned by Gazprom Media, will be responsible for the show, helped by the Russian culture ministry, who provided a cool 30 million rubles ($460,000).



The rest of the budget is unknown, thus far, but will have to be fairly hefty in order to compete with the might of HBO.

Meanwhile, Chernobyl is now the highest rated TV series of all time, surpassing Game of ThronesBreaking Bad, Band of Brothers and Planet Earth 2.

russian version chernobyl


This was more or less already known, but now that Chernobyl has finished, it feels a bit more official than before.

It sits atop the IMDb TV show list with a rating of 9.7 and now that it’s over, you can’t see it really dropping. Similarly, it’s also sitting pretty with a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – although I think most people take what they say with a pinch of salt these days.


The show has also had the third best ever launch for a drama on Sky Atlantic, racking up a cumulative audience for its first episode of 1.7 million, according to Deadline.

Images via HBO