The New Yorker article on Dyatlov Pass
An article came out in The New Yorker on May 10, 2021, titled: Has an Old Soviet Mystery at Last Been Solved? by Douglas Preston. I, Teodora Hadjiyska, and Igor Pavlov consulted the author with information and felt compelled to take one final unsolicited look over the details. Here is our fact check.
A note from us: There is no need to turn the members of the Dyatlov group into martyrs. Finding the truth about their tragic death will remain a cause worth fighting for without presenting them as perfect, virtuous individuals. We have long lived in countries where there was a constant impetus for people to be turned into exemplary statues. This is like burying a broken body in a golden sarcophagus. Let's remember the Dyatlov group as normal, ordinary, young people, not monuments.
Barnaul skiers tragic death
On January 28-29, 10 corpses were found in the area of the Pavlovsky tract. This is how the indictment begins in the case of the death of a group of Komsomol skiers in the vicinity of Barnaul in 1946. Another tragedy with many parallels with the Dyatlov group incident, although the situations seem to be different. More than 10 years later, by 1959, the attitude of those in charge had practically not changed.
Dyatlov Pass has become a clickbait
While in Russia journalists are digging into state archives, the researchers going to the Dyatlov Pass every winter and summer, making measurements and proving theories, the former head of the Sverdlovsk prosecutor's office opening an initial investigation and announcing its conclusion losing his job in the process, the west world solves the case with a trip to Hollywood. If the authors do not claim to have solved the case but only reinforced a very old theory that is very strongly disproved, why all the western headlines on the date of the incident all sang the same song that the case is solved?
What was a Human Intelligence Collector doing on the pass?
Lieutenant Colonel Shestopalov led the sappers in 1959. Why was he running around the pass with probes himself? He had a high rank, we found out that Shestopalov was a Human Intelligence Collector. Is this another smoking gun? Firstly, the very fact that Shestopalov is investigating something at the pass, and secondly... The order to send him to the pass was issued on the basis of a telephone message dated February 14, 1959. February again. Most likely, this is another mistake. But if you remember Tempalov's strange note dated February 16, the date on the cover of the criminal case - February 6, then aren't there too many misprints in this tragedy?
Semyon's explanatory note
This document shows Zolotaryov, no longer as a reckless adventurer, but as a calculating, intelligent careerist. He was a pragmatic person who wouldn’t take the stupid risk that the tragedy at the pass has been associated.
Kuryakov was fired from the prosecutor's office
The main reason for the dismissal of Andrey Kuryakov was the use of official powers and his intention to promote his wife, who was a deputy prosecutor, to the post of prosecutor of Yekaterinburg. She is now also fired. It is believed that it was thanks to him that the Prosecutor General's Office initiated the check into Dyatlov's death. As it turned out later, he did not make statements on behalf of the Prosecutor General's Office, but to prepare a dissertation for the degree of candidate of legal sciences.
Could Zolotaryov be a saboteur?
Semyon Zolotaryov was a versatile senior sergeant with some holes and discrepancies in his military dossier. If this could be attributed to wartime staff shortcomings, then it is hard to explain why he lied about the number of his siblings in official documents. He also claimed orders he didn't receive. There are some alphabetical lists where his name appears added at the document's bottom at a subsequent time as if someone was inserting him into events he didn't belong to. Was this the contrived life of a saboteur?
The criminal case on the death of the Dyatlov group was cut short
Discussion of the results of the documentary audit. The prosecutors compared the materials of the Dyatlov group criminal case against other case files of that period for the presence or absence of similar violations.
Tried for bribery and traitor brother
The role of the combatant Semyon Alekseevich in the fateful expedition could have become fatal. His character was a difficult one, hot-tempered and unruly. We do not exclude that a confrontation between the leader of the trek and its most senior participant could have led to the tragic events.
Aleksandr Surkov's scenario explores the idea of two opposites clashing, Igor and Semyon. Semyon does not suspect that Igor leads the toughest and most strenuous hikes in the UPI tour section. Semyon's age and physical fitness are not able to withstand the demands of Igor, as he hikes not to get sports awards, but to test himself under the most difficult conditions. If we take into account Igor's authoritarianism and Semyon's unruly nature, the conflict would only be a matter of time.
On April 15 Yuri Yudin denied knowing about any changes in the return date of the trek. Who else could have Dyatlov discussed this with? The head of the logging camp department Hakimov is one of the last people to see Dyatlov alive. Immediately after Yuri Yudin's testimony Tempalov flies out to question Hakimov on the same issue. What was Hakimov doing at the time when he had to start looking for the Dyatlov group? How come the interrogation protocol is not in the case files?
The White Crematoriums
Victims of the red revolution: The haunting faces of prisoners worked to death in Stalin's slave camps. Trudging through mud in sub-zero temperatures, digging the earth with their bare hands and heaving huge rocks with the most primitive of tools, these horrifying photos have revealed life inside Joseph Stalin's gulag prisons, where people were worked to death in Soviet labour camps through the mid-1900s. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin rose to power and became the state's authoritarian leader.
The Gulag Camps
The Ivdellag (Ivdel Gulag) is often used in the context of the Dyatlov Pass incident. Similar to the Mansi, this is a multifaceted subject that could be relevant or not, but is part of the picture nevertheless. Learning more about it will help us understand the surroundings of the events. There should be no stone left unturned. This is the first of a series of publications that will end with a direct link from a document related to the case to the Ivdellag.
Dyatlov Pass - the latest version. A trap for the prosecutor.
In this version Dubinina and Zolotaryov are run over by a snowmobile. Thibeaux-Brignolle head injury, the wound on Kolevatov's head, and the abrasion on Kolmogorova's side and lower back could also have been caused by a snowmobile. The author, Igor Povetkin, assures us that on February 1, 1959, nothing fell from the sky to height 1079, no flying saucers, no rocket engines, no comets with meteors. All the evil was done here below, on earth.
"There was no snowstorm": New investigation conclusions on the weather the night of the Dyatlov Pass incident
The first question that comes to mind when you look at the photos and read the diaries is if it was the weather that killed the Dyatlov group. After all, this is the most common reason for incidents in the mountain, especially multiple deaths with no survivors. In this part of the Urals there are no direct weather measurements, the nearest meteorological station Burmantovo being 47 miles away. What can modern methods do about the precise temperature, wind speed, wind chill index and snow cover present on that dreadful night 61 years ago? The Prosecutor's office investigation in 2019 made it its goal to find out as much as possible. Independent experts and participants in the search operation in 1959 disagree with their conclusions.
Trek categories and sports ranks
The fateful expedition of Dyatlov group was of the highest category of difficulty. What does it mean? Were the hikers qualified and experienced for this trek? Have you noticed the badges on Krivonischenko's photo?
The investigator of the death of Dyatlov's group was warned of incomplete official compliance
A decree of the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation dated August 10, 2020, and signed by Igor Krasnov says that on July 11 this year, Mr. Kuryakov, acting for personal purposes, took part in a press conference announcing the completion of the investigation into the death of Igor Dyatlov's group in 1959. He used official resources for an investigation made part of his PhD paper. The management has also complaints against Andrey Kuryakov, that using his official position, he tried to influence the replacement of the prosecutor of Yekaterinburg. Since 2015, the city department has been headed by Svetlana Kuznetsova. The position of her deputy is occupied by Venera Kuryakova, who is the wife of Andrey Kuryakov.
Bienko - the 11th member of the Dyatlov group
Bienko's name keeps popping up in documents and diaries. He is a person of interest to the case in the following aspects. Zolotaryov took his place on the fateful trek. Bienko developed Krivonischneko's film in his own bathroom. Bienko was Lev Ivanov's confidant, and recollects investigator's dramatic change after his visit to the pass in May.
Materials from the new investigation
We can review some of the results from the Prosecutor's preliminary investigation. The documents were immediately bombarded with criticism by the case researchers and experts on the Dyatlov Pass incident. We start with the location of the tent, with which Kuryakov spoke very proudly at the press conference held in the Komsomolskaya Pravda editorial on July 11, 2020.
Results of the Investigation
Dyatlov Pass: hikers were killed by an avalanche. The cause of the death of hikers on the Dyatlov Pass in the Northern Urals in 1959 was an avalanche. This is the conclusion of the prosecutor’s investigation.
New petition to The Prosecutor General Dyatlov case to be moved to Moscow
Relatives and activists of the Dyatlov group's memory fund continue to insist that the group was victimized by a man-made disaster during tests of military weapons (missiles). Three most likely versions are called: negligence on behalf of the rocket engineers who made a mistake in the design of the hull or engine of the aircraft, unsuccessful launch and sabotage. Since Sverdlovsk Prosecutors are not considering following up on these leads they petition the case to be moved to Moscow.
Is Dyatlov Pass in Siberia?
Which way is Siberia? The answer is harder than you think.
The Washington Post's Moscow bureau chief, David Filipov, goes looking for Siberia.
Ural Stalkers Flight from the Mountain of the Dead
Vadim Chernobrov is called the chief ufologist of Russia. He died at the age of 52 from cancer. He was chasing UFO's all his adult life. Did radiation from the sightings caught up with him at the end? On the 40th anniversary of Dyatlov Pass tragedy he went on an expedition to the Mountain of the Dead, as he calls it, and published in his book shortly after. He left a very interesting legacy to the Dyatlov group case, one that we built on to this day.
Interview with Stanislav Bogomolov
Stanislav Bogomolov met with Lev Ivanov in 1990 and published the first "Mystery of fireballs" article. This interview was taken in 2019. Bogomolov remains supporter of Lev Ivanov's fireballs theory:
I have read many publications on the subject. There are always more questions than answers. In fact the questions that matter are only two: what caused the horrendous injuries and where did the radiation come from. I doubt that the prosecutors will be able to answer them, but I am looking forward to their findings.
Reach into Space
In the race into space, the Russians can claim bigger satellites and more powerful rockets. If the U.S. can retort that it has a big lead in scientific achievement, the man most responsible is James Van Allen, whose instruments, designed and largely constructed in his basement laboratory, brought back from space discoveries the Russians never made...
Today he can tip back his head and look at the sky. Beyond its outermost blue are the world-encompassing belts of fierce radiation that bear his name. No human name has ever been given to a more majestic feature of the planet Earth.
Great Balls of Fire
The U.S. Southwest, land of rockets, atom bombs and flying saucers, had another sensation last week: green fireballs streaking across the sky, behaving like nothing ever seen by earthlings before. In 13 days, eight brilliant objects dazzled Southwesterners. According to Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, head of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, a fall of nine bright meteorites in a year over a comparable area would be considered exceptional. "I just don't know what to make of it," said Dr. LaPaz. "I am almost inclined to ask those [atom bomb] fellows out in Nevada what they are doing."
Mystery of the fireballs by Lev Ivanov
On the scene of the incident we found that some young trees on the forest tree line have traces of burning, but they are not in concentric shape or any other system. There was no epicenter. This once again confirmed a source of heat ray or completely unknown to us energy acting selectively - the snow was not melted, the trees were not damaged. It seemed like when the hikers walked on their feet more than five hundred meters down from the mountain, someone dealt with some of them as direct targets.
Mystery of the fireballs by Stanislav Bogomolov
It wasn't in the usual sense an explosion of a shell or a bomb. It was different, as if a balloon had burst. The fact, that at the edge of the forest, where the hikers so hastily ran away from the tent, the tree branches were as if singed. Not burnt, not broken, but singed. I suppose it all happened like this: the guys had dinner and went to bed. One of them came out of natural need (there were traces) and saw something that made everyone leave the tent and run down. I think it was a light ball. It caught up with them, or it happened by chance, at the edge of the forest. Explosion!
Dyatlov Pass incident vs. Chivruay tragedy
Why compare incidents that have nothing in common? The Dyatlov Pass incident opens the door for a lot of speculation. If I could discover so much while not believing they are related in any way, then imagine what a blast the media would have. Nor is Chivruay Pass the only one, Hamar-Daban follows on its heels. The renaissance of interest garnered by the Dyatlov Pass incident is now expanding to cover multiple deaths in the mountains under mysterious - or not so mysterious - circumstances. The mystery for many begins by wondering why would anyone venture there in first place. Personally, I enjoyed this research immensely. The Chivruay Pass incident is interesting on its own, and doesn't need the overshadowing mystery of the Dyatlov case.
Chivruay 1973. How it really happened.
These are the recollections of Dr. Vladimir Borzenkov, a member of the search party in 1973. He is also an avid Dyatlov group case researcher, so his insight about the similarities between the two incidents is indispensable.