The Russian Communist Party Wants to Ban HBO's 'Chernobyl,' Sue Series Creator

Russia is not done being mad at HBO’s Chernobyl. On the heels of the Russian government lambasting the miniseries chronicling the events of the horrific 1986 nuclear disaster, the Russian Communist Party is now calling for an all-out ban of the series. The Communists of Russia, a Marxist-Leninist political party separate from the larger Communist Party of the Russian Federation, is calling for a ban of the HBO series from airing in Russia, as well as a lawsuit against series creator Craig Mazin.

The Wrap reports that the Communists of Russia are threatening a libel lawsuit against Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and the show’s producers, citing Article 129 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which forbids “the spreading of deliberately falsified information that denigrates the honour and dignity of another person or undermines his reputation” in “a public speech or in a publicly performed work.”

In a statement, Communists of Russia party member Sergey Malinkovich called the series a “ideological manipulation on the part of HBO,” adding (via The Wrap):

“The TV series about the dramatic events of April 1986 is an ideological tool designed to defame and demonize the image of the Soviet government and Soviet people. Although the chronology of the series’ events and key moments correspond to reality, the actions of the heroes themselves, the order of relationships in institutions and collectives, and finally, the moral climate in Soviet society itself is the first example of an absolute lie.”

The party also claims to have asked Russia’s TV regulator, Roskomnadzor, to block local access to the series, which has become hugely popular in the country. However, the Roskomnadzor told Deadline it has yet to receive a formal inquiry, but would “examine the request if it’s filed and would respond as stipulated by law.”

The show’s surprising popularity in the country has also become a sore point for the Russian government, which per according to The Moscow Times, is launching a “mini-crusade” against the series, part of which includes the development of its own series about the disaster from the country’s NTV channel.

The irony lies, of course, in the show’s actual depiction of Soviet Union characters as quite nuanced and sympathetic. Rather, the show highlights the dangers of bureaucratic cover-ups, and the timely issue of when “willful ignorance seems to be prevailing, and science is seen as something partisan,” according to our review of the series.

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