Yeah Russia had been sketchy as hell in a number of ways over the years. I've seen how miserable the cosmonauts were in old film actually and doesn't surprise me one bit. Being first isn't as important as doing it rightThere is little evidence to back the Russian Media's claims on American spying sabotage in the Chernobyl reactor. It was 100% the product of the Soviet Union culture of corruption and lies and no regard for human safety or even proper training. And what would the Americans gain from such a nuclear disaster anyway? The truth would have come out and they would be branded as the people who poisoned the Earth with radiation and death for 1000 generations. All to show up the USSR as a failed state and communism as a wrong ideology? They did that on their own.
Same thing with the Space program. The only reason Yuri Gagarin was 1st in space was because the USSR didn't give a sheit about safety of their cosmonauts. The Americans were ready to send their man Alan Shepard 3 weeks later, but with NASA ensuring full safety compliance and covered every possible emergency and rescue situation. The world would later witness just how terrible the USSR actually were in the space race when it came the Moon and developing a rocket to leave Earth orbit at 11 km/s. They developed the N1 rocket which was underfunded and very rushed and failed 4 times without ever leaving Earth! The Americans made the Saturn rocket which is still one of the greatest engineering marvels of humanity.