‘Chernobyl 1986’ Summary & Ending, Explained – Did Alexey Survive the Radiation?

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Russian film Chernobyl 1986 (also marketed as Chernobyl: Abyss) observes the Catastrophic explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that caused one of the most significant man-made disasters in the history of mankind. Real events inspire Danila Kozlovsky‘s film. But, it narrates the tale of fictional characters and their life stories. Danila also plays the lead in the film performing the role of a heroic firefighter.

Chernobyl 1986 places a firefighter at the center of its conflict. The heroic individual is hired to liquidate the repercussions of the disaster. However, he has a family to attend to and safeguard. The choice between his family and his country (compatriots) cultivates drama in the film.


Plot Summary

A 30-year old firefighter, Alexey Karpushin (Danila Kozlovsky), works at a local fire station in Pripyat (a city near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant). Coincidentally, at a barbershop, he meets his former lover Olga Savostina (Oksana Akinshina). The two used to date each other ten years ago but got separated.

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Alexey finds out that Olga’s ten-year-old son belongs to him and quickly gets attached to the family. He promises to take Olga and his son out for a picnic and dinner but never shows up. Two weeks later, he arranges a transfer and plans to go to Kyiv for new adventures. At his farewell dinner, a drunk Alexey suddenly remembers Olga and pays a visit. A disheartened Olga asks Alexey to leave them alone and never visit again.

Alexey is about to leave the city when suddenly reactor four at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explodes. He quickly mounts a fire brigade to save the city from the tragedy.


‘Chernobyl 1986’ Ending Explained

Alexey was one of the lucky ones who survived the radiation exposure. He worked as a reactor fire inspector throughout his career and thus was familiar with the corridors beneath the reactors. To strategically use his expertise, the senior officials assigned him a pivotal mission. Alexey, along with a few other divers, were tasked to manually open the drainage valves of the coolant water reservoir that was directly underneath the burning reactor. If the reactor core reached the reservoir, the radiation would contaminate the whole of Europe. Officials were urgently required to drain out the water from the plant.

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Alexey initially denied going out on the death mission. But later, Alexey discovered that his son was also near the plant during the reactor explosion and got heavily exposed to radiation. His health was deteriorating miserably. The General Secretary had promised radiation treatment in Switzerland to all men who volunteered to be liquidators. To save his son, Alexey requested Tropin to send his son in his place. He volunteered to be a liquidator to save his son.

Even when Alexey survived the first mission, he felt responsible for saving the lives of his countrymen. Valera (Filipp Avdeev) told him that very few people were volunteering for the job, and most of them were army men who had little idea about the reactor and the corridors. Without Valera and Alexey, the mission had bleak chances of success. The urgency compelled Alexey to put aside his family and life. He stepped on for the second infiltration.

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In the end, Alexey and Valera successfully drained the reservoir water. But during their retreat, Valera got trapped. He sliced off the connecting rig to let Alexey swim to the surface. But Alexey didn’t back off. The army found him after the water drained from the tank. Alexey was heavily exposed to the radiation and couldn’t be saved. Olga paid him last visit and embraced her dying lover without a hazmat suit.

Three months later, Olga’s son safely returned from Switzerland after successful treatment. Alexey sacrificed his life for his son and his humanity, and fortunately, he saved both.


Chernobyl 1986 (also marketed as Chernobyl: Abyss) is a 2021 Russian disaster film directed by Danila Kozlovsky. Danila plays the main lead in the movie portraying the role of firefighter Alexey Karpushin.

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Verna Dela Cruz

Just finished the movie a minute ago. I like it’s story. Danila is a good actor and director.

Shikhar Agrawalhttps://dmtalkies.com
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 6 years, majorly writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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