HBO's latest miniseries, Chernobyl, chronicles the events that led up to and proceeded the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, but the thing is, the actors all use their normal (mostly British) accents rather than attempt to incorporate Russian accents in the Soviet Union-focused series - why? Unfortunately, Hollywood isn't particularly known for its inclusiveness, and that's extended to not casting actors - on a general scale, though there are exceptions - from the countries where their TV shows and movies are set.
Audiences have seen this time and again with controversial blockbusters like Exodus: Gods and Kings as well as period pieces like Valkyrie, in which either the actors were cast from the wrong regions in the world - and, therefore, couldn't properly represent the characters - or the actors themselves failed to adopt their characters' accents. In the case of Chernobyl, the latter is the one that has sparked some questions online. Why are they using British and other European accents instead of Russian and Ukrainian ones?
From the get-go, most (if not all) characters in HBO's Chernobyl are using accents other than Russian and Ukrainian. It may seem like an egregious oversight for an otherwise excellently-produced miniseries, but it was actually a decision that was made quite early on in the pre-production process. According to series creator Craig Mazin on The Chernobyl Podcast, they thought they would have actors use vague, eastern European accents, but then they realized that actors would act accents, not their roles.
Using the proper accents in a series like Chernobyl is certainly important to properly represent the people who are being portrayed on-screen, but then again, the series is primarily about those people's stories as well as the events that unfolded during the nuclear disaster and its aftermath. As it stands, forgoing the use of Russian accents, which Mazin says was done after about two auditions (partly because their use could ultimately become comic-y), was a great decision. HBO's Chernobyl is no less captivating, haunting, and visceral without the Russian accents.
Of course, just because the Chernobyl minseries doesn't incorporate Russian and Ukrainian accents into its production, that doesn't mean steps weren't taken to avoid pulling audiences out of the story. One of the things Mazin says they did to prevent such a thing from happening was not cast any Americans, as hearing an American accent in a TV show about the Soviet Union would understandably be absurd. Other than that, they just asked the actors to "take the edge off" their stronger British accents. And all in all, it worked.