Can nuclear catastrophe ruin your feelings?
HBO Chernobyl series: Love in times of disaster, how it was. This mini-series is based on real events that took place in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. A large-scale disaster, which was carefully hidden by the USSR government, shook the whole world. But against the backdrop of the hard struggle for the lives of millions of people during the aftermath of the explosion, the creators show not only male heroes, but also women.
And although the women’s line in the series is not so expanded, the director draws the attention of viewers to heroic women and their role in this tragic story. Let’s take a closer look at the female characters of the series and find out whether they are taken from the real story or a fiction of the filmmakers.
Emily Watson in the role of nuclear physicist Uliana Homyuk
Of course, fiction is also present in the film called “Chernobyl.” For example, Ulyana Homyuk, who was a nuclear physicist at the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR, did not exist in reality. This generalized character was included in the series to show how brave and courageous women were in Ukraine. Moreover, it dispelled the myth that Soviet science did not have female scientists.
After Ulyana Khomuk discovers an increased level of radiation in Minsk during her work on the project, she begins to suspect that something is wrong. A brave woman does not lose time and calls to Chernobyl to find out how things are. But no one picks up the phone. She tries to reach out to local officials, explaining the scale of the disaster, but no one takes her seriously. And then, she decides to go to the very heart of terrible events to find out what caused the huge release of radiation. She helps to eliminate the consequences and saves a huge number of lives.
Despite the harassment of KGB agents and arrest, Ulyana continues finding out what happened at the nuclear power plant. She keeps interviewing employees who were there on the day of the explosion, including Anatoly Dyatlov, the first deputy chief engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and shift supervisor Alexander Akimov. She is doing what she can to help Valery Legasov, a physicist who has arrived in Chernobyl to eliminate the consequences of the disaster. Her contribution to saving lives and preventing further diseases are enormous.
And although this character is fictional, she demonstrates how inspiring women in Ukrainian history are. Our civilization is built because of such bold and selfless heroines who are not afraid to risk their lives for the good of humanity. Therefore, the character of Emily Watson became the key and inspiring for many viewers.
The tragic story of Lyudmila Ignatenko
Heroic blood runs in Ukraine women, and this is shown in the love story of Vasily and Lyudmila Ignatenko. He is a firefighter, a member of one of the brigades that first came to eliminate the consequences of the explosion of the fourth reactor. Of course, having received a huge share of radiation, the young man was hospitalized and sent by helicopter to Kyiv.
His young wife Lyudmila firstly fought her way into the hospital through a crowd of relatives and friends who were injured on the night of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion, and then went after her husband to the capital of Soviet Ukraine called Kyiv.
In the series, Lyudmila bribes a nurse to go to the ward and visit her husband. But she meets a woman doctor in the corridor. She did not want to miss her, and after Lyudmila’s tears and persuasion she gave up. First, the doctor asked if the wife of a firefighter was pregnant. She lied that she didn’t, although she knew that she was carrying a baby for a couple of months. During real events, Lyudmila lied to the head physician that she already had two children, and she was warned that she would not have more children and was allowed to go to her husband.
For two weeks, Lyudmila Ignatenko was observing her husband’s terrible agony and death. After the remission stage, which lasted only three days, his body was covered with terrible burns. He lost his sight, and he was given the strongest painkillers. And she was with him, breaking direct orders from the medical staff that she cannot touch the patient or go beyond the protective curtain.
After Vasily died, Lyudmila moved to live in one of the districts of Kyiv where she received housing. She became ill during the last weeks of pregnancy, and she was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, her child died after birth. The fetus absorbed a large proportion of radiation, so the mother remained alive.
This tragic love story cannot leave the hearts of spectators indifferent. This woman sacrificed her health and happiness for her husband to make him know that he was not alone. Lyudmila Ignatenko is the embodiment of a real loving female heroine!