Nikolai Tarakanov

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Nikolai Dmitrievich Tarakanov
Native name
Николай Дмитриевич Тараканов
Born (1934-05-19) 19 May 1934 (age 86)
Gremyach'ye Village, Gremyachinsky District, Central Black Earth Oblast, RSFSR, USSR
Allegiance Soviet Union
Years of service1953-1990
RankCCCP army Rank general-major infobox.svg Major General
AwardsRUS Order of Friendship ribbon.svg SU Order of the Red Star ribbon.svg SU Order For Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR 2nd class ribbon.svg SU Order For Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR 3rd class ribbon.svg

SU Order of the Badge of Honour ribbon.svg SU Medal In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ribbon.svg SU Medal Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 ribbon.svg SU Medal Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR ribbon.svg

SU Medal 40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR ribbon.svg SU Medal 50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR ribbon.svg SU Medal 60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR ribbon.svg SU Medal 70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR ribbon.svg

SU Medal For Impeccable Service 1st class ribbon.svg SU Medal For Impeccable Service 2nd class ribbon.svg SU Medal For Impeccable Service 3rd class ribbon.svg RUS Medal 60 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 ribbon.svg

RUS Medal 65 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 ribbon.svg 75 let MCS rib.png 150letghdv1rf rib.png

Nikolai Dmitrievich Tarakanov (born 19 May 1934, Gremyachie [ru], Central Black Earth Oblast) is a former Soviet military leader, doctor of technical sciences, member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, founder and chairman of the Coordination Council of the Presidential Club Trust, Center for Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities, a member of the Union of Russian Writers, laureate of the M.A. Sholokhov International Literary Prize.

Tarakanov led the operation to remove radioactive debris from the dangerous zones of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant[1] and the restoration work after the Spitak earthquake. He became disabled due to consequences of his exposure to radiation in Chernobyl.[2]


Tarakanov was born on the Don in the village of Gremyach'e (now - Khokholsky District, Voronezh Oblast) to a large peasant family. In 1953 he graduated from the Gremyachensk secondary school, then Kharkov Military Technical School. He served in the school, later in the Red Banner regiment of civil defense troops (the city of Meref) as commander of an electrical platoon.[3][4]

In 1963, he graduated from the Kharkiv Automobile and Highway Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering. He served in Saratov as a regimental engineer. In 1967 he became a teacher at the Moscow Military School of Civil Defense.[4] In 1972 he graduated from the adjuncture of the Kuibyshev Military Engineering Academy in Moscow.[3] He served as a senior specialist in the Military Technical Committee of the USSR Civil Defense Forces, then in the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Civil Defense (including as First Deputy Chief of the Institute), Deputy Chief of the Civil Defense Staff of the RSFSR.[4]

In 1986, he led an operation to remove highly radioactive elements from highly dangerous zones of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.[4][1]

For me and for my soldiers, until my death, the Chernobyl disaster will be one of the most tragic events in my 37-year service. I got there in the month of June 1986, when there was still complete confusion after the largest catastrophe on our planet.

— N. D. Tarakanov[2]

In 1988 he led the rescue work after the Spitak earthquake.[4]

Spitak turned out to be much more terrible than Chernobyl! In Chernobyl, you grabbed your dose and be healthy, because the radiation is the enemy of invisibility.

And here – torn bodies, groans under the ruins ... Therefore, our main task was not only to help and pull out the living from the rubble, but also to bury the dead. We photographed and recorded in the staff album all unidentified corpses and buried them with numbers.

When the people affected by the earthquake returned from hospitals, they began to look for their dead relatives and turned to us. We provided pictures for identification. Then we exhumed the identified ones from the graves and buried them in a human way, in a Christian manner. This went on for six months ...

At the end of last year, when it was ten years since the tragedy, we visited Spitak and looked at its current miserable condition. Armenians understand that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they lost more than anyone else. Overnight, the program to restore the destroyed Spitak, Leninakan, Akhuryan region collapsed. Now they are finishing rebuilding what Russia and the other republics of the USSR were rebuilding.

— N. D. Tarakanov[4]

In June 2019, in an interview with Dozhd TV channel, discussing the HBO serial Chernobyl, he said that he had lost the savings that he had saved for treatment.[5]

And yet I had to fight. Here I have a telegram to him, I am this year ... Constantly with radiation sickness, I was lying in army hospitals, now in the hospital of the presidential administration. And once in this hospital they say: "General, we cannot restore the mobility of the legs, no pain in the joints, and so on." I was in Israel, I was treated once, Gazprom paid for my trip and fifteen soldiers.

And by my naivety, as we are all naive, I placed my savings and all the retirement pensions of the generals in the Moscow City Cash Desk, in the savings bank. She worked for six years. I learned everything that a normal box office and so on. And now I’m calling from the Kremlin hospital, which means Popov, the director at 10 Novaya Square. I say: “You make money for me, I received consent again to Israel. I am not asking for money from Putin or from the state, just let them give me the money.” "Come, General, good."

I come a week later, while I was discharged, while that-that. I come, he says: “You know, the Central Bank has selected a license from us. We can't give you money.” Then I’m writing one telegram to Putin, the second, the third. What do you think? I think, of course, if these telegrams were laid on his desk, of course, he would have made a decision. But these telegrams fell to this man, Dozorov.

You can contact Vladimir Vladimirovich right now, we will write down your appeal.

Yes. And he answers me: “General, and what can we do? Sue. Serve at the Central Bank.” The Central Bank also responds: "General, sue." But this same woman, the head of the Central Bank, because she knows if this box office has worked for six years, why did you immediately put her into bankruptcy? You did not ask, there are participants in the war, there are Chernobyl victims, there are disabled people. You give them the money, and then imprison those. Nothing done. And so I have not received the solution until today. Here they are, all the telegrams that I showed on channels even today.

— TV channel "Rain"[5]

According to Tarakanov, for his leadership of the operation on the Chernobyl accident, he was presented to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The general said this in an interview with journalist Alexey Pivovarov. But after, as Tarakanov says, the conflict with the chief of staff of the Kiev military district, General Fedorov, he was removed from the list.[6]


  • Father – Dmitry Tikhonovich Tarakanov, a veteran of the Russian Civil War, Winter War and World War II
  • Mother – Natalia Vasilievna[4]
  • Wife – Zoya Ivanovna, a doctor
  • Daughter – Elena, a doctor; married to Igor Filonenko, a doctor[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In the HBO television series Chernobyl, Tarakanov is played by the English actor Ralph Ineson. Tarakanov praised the series, calling it “brilliant work”,[5] and also spoke highly of the portrayal by the British actor who played him in the series.[5][7]

Did you recognize the portrayal of yourself?
Yes, I watched it. The actor Ralph played, I will tell you, brilliantly. Not everything, not from the beginning to the end, but the most important moments of leading the operation by the general at Chernobyl, the removal of nuclear fuel, graphite, and so on — this was very brilliantly shown.[5]

— Dozhd

That is, you were in the first batch of people who agreed to go to the roof. And did you say exactly what is in the movie?
Word-for-word. I liked the actor, I even fell in love with him. Just one general, even nothing to complain about.[7]

— RT

Despite his praise for the series, Tarakanov notes that young, newly drafted soldiers were never sent into residential areas to shoot animals, as depicted in HBO's Chernobyl. "Nothing even close to that ever happened...The shooting did take place, but it was in the forests, where wild animals still roamed, including deer, as well as cattle that wandered off after the evacuation. But to show this young boy, recently drafted, being given all this equipment straight away [is just absurd]."[8]


Public awards[edit]

  • Order "For the Salvation of Life on Earth" (on the green ribbon)
  • Order "Pride of Russia" (on a red ribbon)
  • Order "For Service to the Fatherland" III and I degree (on tape)
  • Order of "Civil Valor"
  • Order "Defenders of the Fatherland" (white)
  • Freeman (Order of the silver star "Public recognition")
  • Order of Merit (Order of the Minister of Emergency Situations Shoigu)
  • The gold medal of the winner of the M.A. Sholokhov International Literary Prize
  • Sergey Yesenin's gold medal
  • Gold Medal "Honorary Lawyer"
  • Gold Medal "Winner of the Chernobyl Star Literary Award"

Medals For Loyalty to the Fatherland, Peacemaker, Russian Land, Medal Bunin, Silver Medal of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, For merits in the revival of the nation to them. Peter the Great, 20 years of the Chernobyl disaster, For loyalty to duty, For merits in the field of veterinary medicine, George Zhukov, 55 years of the Moscow city writers' organization, Afghanistan 40th Army, Medal. Roentgen (Germany).[3]

Scientific activities[edit]

Source – NNB Electronic Catalogs

  • Maksimov, M. T., Tarakanov, N. D., Experience of Using Technical Means and Methods for Managing the Consequences of the Accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant / Ed. ed. V.L. Govorova . - M.: stroiizdat, 1990. - 137 p.
  • Tarakanov N. D. Complex mechanization of rescue and emergency rescue and recovery operations. - M.: Energoatomizdat, 1984. - 304 p. - (Civil Defense of the USSR).


Source – NNB Electronic Catalogs


  • Tarakanov N. D. Two tragedies of the XX century. [The explosion of the nuclei. reactor at Chernobyl. NPP and the Spitak earthquake]: Dokum. to lead - M.: Owls. writer, 1992. - 431 p. - ISBN 5-265-02615-0
  • Tarakanov N. D. Living memory. reflections on time and on human destiny ... / comp. A. Pekarsky. - Ed. 2nd, add. [and pre.]. - M.: Voenizdat Branch, 2006. - 488 p. - ISBN 5-203-02811-2
  • Tarakanov N. D. Notes of the Russian General. Fav. works: In 3 tons. - M.: 4th fil. Military Publishing, 1998.
    • Vol. 1: Hell's End
    • Vol. 2: Coffins on the shoulders
    • Vol. 3: The Abyss

Tarakanov N. D. Notes of the Russian General. [selected works]. - M.: Branch of Voenizdat, 2007.

    • Vol. 1: Hell's End
    • Vol. 2: And the Earth opened up
    • Vol. 3: The Catcher in the Lie ...
  • N. D. Tarakanov. And the two destinies became one fate ...: a literary collection of arts. - M.: Voenizdat branch, 2008. - 175 p. - ISBN 5-203-02753-X
  • Tarakanov N. D. When the mountains cry. - M.: Dignity, 2014. - 294 p. - ISBN 978-5-904552-35-0
  • Tarakanov N. D. Hope of Russia. - M.: B.i., 2004. - 472 p. - BBK Ш6 (2 = Р) 75-491
  • Tarakanov N. D. Under the constellation of the Bull. Field. meditations. - M.: Inter-Libra, 2003. - 279 p. - ISBN 5-86490-093-14 (err.)
  • N. D. Tarakanov. Break: [Earthquake in Armenia, 7 Dec. 1988]. - M.: Military Publishing, 1991. - 192 p. - ISBN 5-203-01243-1
  • Tarakanov N. D. Russian knot. Prince thinking - 2nd ed., [Add.]. - M.: Military Publishing, 2002. - 615 p. - ISBN 5-86490-117-X
  • Tarakanov N. D. Chernobyl notes, or Reflections on morality. - M.: Military Publishing, 1989. - 208 p. - ISBN 5-203-00716-0
  • Tskhinval: a chronicle of Georgian aggression. documentary collection / under total. ed. N. D. Tarakanova. - Ed. 2nd, add. - M.: Presidential Club "Trust", 2009. - 272 p. - ISBN 5-203-02765-8
  • "Chernobyl Signal"; "The dead judge the living"; "The dead are not silent"; “At the turn of the millennium. Fracture "; "Fracture"; "Graphite"; "Soldiers of the Fatherland"; “Vivat to President Putin!”; "President Putin in the new version"; "Sonkino Lake"[3]

Television appearances[edit]

  • Air Force TV program
  • Chernobyl: Chronicle of Silence
  • Good Morning (with Arina Sharapova, Larisa Verbitskaya)
  • Evening Voronezh (1992)
  • Go!, Klass! TV (commissioned by ORT, 1997)
  • Hero of the Day with Svetlana Sorokina (NTV, 1998)
  • Witness of the Century (NTV, 2000)
  • Forgive with Andrey Rasbash (Channel One, 2005)
  • Church and Peace (June 21, 2014)
  • Male and Female (ORT - Channel 1, February 20, 2015)[3]



  1. ^ a b Sazhneva, E. (26 April 2012). "Чернобыль мстит своим героям" [Chernobyl gets revenge on its heroes]. Moskovskij Komsomolets (in Russian) (25927).
  2. ^ a b Katys, M. (26 April 2004). "Чернобыль. Рассказы очевидцев и прогнозы ученых" [Chernobyl: Eyewitness Accounts and Forecasts of Scientists] (in Russian). Radio Liberty. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Nikolai Dmitrievich Tarakanov, Presidential Club "Trust"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Tkachenko V. Nikolay Dmitrievich Tarakanov: The fate of the hero of Chernobyl and Spitak. Pseudology.
  5. ^ a b c d e ""Фильм снят блестяще". Ликвидатор аварии в Чернобыле о сериале HBO и волне интереса к трагедии" ["The film was shot brilliantly." The liquidator of the Chernobyl accident on the HBO series and the wave of interest in the tragedy]. Dozhd. 6 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Чернобыль в сериале и в жизни / Редакция" [Chernobyl in the series and in life / Editorial]. "Revision". Journalist Alexei Pivovarov's channel on YouTube. 5 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b ""Людей не оповещали 36 часов": генерал Тараканов — об аварии на ЧАЭС и сериале "Чернобыль"" [“People were not notified for 36 hours”: General Tarakanov – about the Chernobyl accident and the Chernobyl series]. RT. 7 June 2019.
  8. ^ "What HBO got wrong: Chernobyl general gives hit TV show a reality check". RT International. Retrieved 2019-07-03.