HBO's Chernobyl: What Really Happened To Dyatlov, Fomin, & Bryukhanov

HBO Chernobyl Jared Harris as Valery Legasov and Paul Ritter as Anatoly Dyatlov

HBO's Chernobyl ends with the trial of Anatoly Dyatlov, Viktor Bryukhanov, and Nikolai Fomin, as well as the chain of events that led up to the reactor exploding, but what happened to the three men who were judged responsible for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster? Chernobyl episode 5, "Vichnaya Pamyat", which translates to "everlasting memory," closely follows the Chernobyl Trial that took place in 1987 and was used as a means to close the case on the crisis that plagued the Soviet Union for over a year.

While Chernobyl centers on the main three officials - Dyatlov, Bryuhkanov, and Fomin - there were actually six people on trial at the time. The other three were senior engineer and inspector, Yuri A. Laushkin; shift director of reactor 4, Boris V. Rogozhin, and the chief of reactor 4, Aleksandr P. Kovalenko. Aside from the fact that the show halved the number of defendants, the final episode of HBO's miniseries does depart from what really happened in mostly minor ways, but these deviations were done to push the story forward. Interestingly, though, the results weren't changed.

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As shown in HBO's Chernobyl, Dyatlov, Bryuhkanov, and Fomin were all sentenced to several years of hard labor for their criminal misconduct and responsibility of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. According to various articles of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR, Bryuhkanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with both Dyatlov and Fomin also receiving 10 years, but they were jailed in correctional colonies instead (via NY Times).

HBO Chernobyl Trial

Since Dyaltov was in the control room when reactor 4 exploded, he received a near-fatal dose of radiation and lived the rest of his life with medical complications because of that. But despite not being allowed to appeal his prison sentence, Dyatlov was granted amnesty by the Russian government around the time the Soviet Union dissolved. Even though he was released from prison early, he died a few years later, due to heart failure, in 1995. Dyatlov maintained his innocence, to an extent, all the way to his death, claiming that faulty machinery was responsible for the disaster.

Fomin, who attempted to commit suicide - by breaking his eyeglasses and using the corners to cut his wrists - during the trial, was also released early from prison, at approximately the same time that Dyatlov was released. According to reports, Fomin spent one year in prison and then another three years in a mental institution after having a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, it's unclear what happened to him after he was released, but considering his deteriorating health, it's unlikely he lived for too long. The same could be said of Bryuhkanov, who spent only five years in prison due to suffering from health issues.

Next: Chernobyl True Story: What The HBO Miniseries Gets Right (& Changes)

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