- CASE FILES
On 14 April 1959 the prosecutor criminologist of Sverdlovsk region Jr Counselor of Justice Romanov interrogated in District Prosecution Office as a witness, with the observance of art. 162-168 Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR
Warned on the responsibility for the first part of Art. 92 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR for refusing to testify and under Art. 95 Criminal Code of the RSFSR for giving knowingly false testimony. Kolevatova (signature)
Witness testified: When climbing Mount Otorten on February 1-2 of this year, a group of hikers from the Ural Polytechnic Institute died (my brother Aleksander Sergeevich Kolevatov, a 4th year student of the Faculty of Physics and Technology was in this group). I know the composition of the group well, I met with some participants of the campaign, I know how the group got ready (my brother had to provide the group with everything necessary for the trip). We talked a lot with him about the upcoming journey. Finally, I had to be a direct witness and even a little participant in the search for the missing group when it begun.
I consider it absolutely necessary to note, among other things, the following shortcomings in the organization of the campaign:
The funds allocated for the organization of such hiking expeditions are very scarce. This was a 22-day ski trip to remote areas in winter conditions. Naturally, it is supposed to have a supply of nutritional products, in particular, each hiker needed to have an inviolable supply of chocolate (just as they had a box of matches each in the breast inside pocket of the suit). The institute allocated to each student only 100 (one hundred) rubles as an aid, which, of course, was not enough. The remaining funds were collected by the group members themselves, amounting to 350 rubles.
I’m not mistaken if I say that a most of the equipment for the group has to be fought for in the UPI sports club. When my brother was “cut off”, as he himself put it, storm suits were given to each participant in the expedition, he was told after a while that only mountaineers were supposed to have storms suits, and they demanded to return them (they even came to our house to gather them). On the last day, the day of the departure, Aleksander pulled out woolen sweaters and “smuggled” them home, wearing on himself 3 pieces. The group had no sleeping bags.
The search of the missing group started with a big delay. The group was supposed to return in Sverdlovsk on February 14-15, on February 12 they were to send a telegram from Vizhay, their final point along the route. Parents were worried about their children and, of course, they called both the UPI sports club and the city sports club (according to Dubinina and Slobodin's families). I myself called the institute only on February 17, 3 days after the expected return date. I couldn't get hold of UPI sports club chairman Gordo, all my attempts to get through to him were futile. I then called the city sports club comrade Ufimtsev. He assured me that there is nothing to worry about, that the group is delayed for a week and they are on their way back. A certain fact is indignant and criminal: Gordo informed UPI party committee that a telegram had been received from Vizhay on February 18 reporting a delay of the group. Secretary of the UPI party committee comrade Zaostrovskiy F. P. did not check on Gordo's report and did not inform the Director of UPI comrade Siunov N. S. about the incident. The Director learned about the missing group only after he was phoned by comrade Fedchenko E. P. from the city party committee (I myself had to go to the city committee with a request to take measures to initiate search of the missing group). There was a telegram though, but from a different group that was in the same area (Blinov's group), so the institute's directorate was not informed about the negligence. The search began only at the insistence of the parents of the hikers.
When the Polytechnic Institute began organizing the search, it turned out that the sports club did not have a route map which the hikers were supposed to follow in their trek, that is a topo drawn over a map. The deputy
chairman of the UPI sports club, comrade Milman, learned from third party that I had a map with the route before the group went on their hike, and called my sister Nina Sergeevna Anisimova with a request to provide the map to be used in the search. But my brother Aleksander took this map with him on the trek. This map was given to my brother by Ignaty Fokich Ryagin, deputy head of the trust Gipromedrud (if I'm not mistaken in the name), friend of ours. He knew the area and discussed with my brother the upcoming trek. After the call from the UPI sports club at our request I. F. Ryagin restored from memory the route and drew it on a map, which I personally passed on February 19 to Colonel Ortyukov (who was the first one to fly to look for the group).
The above fact testifies to the utter indifference and lack of control on behalf of those responsible for organizing the expedition and launching the search operation.
The indignation is caused by the organization of funerals. Each of the parents was called individually or in the Regional Party Committee (comrade Serkov Z. T.) or at the Polytechnic Institute and offered to bury the victims in Ivdel. What did the guys have to do with Ivdel? We lived in Sverdlovsk, studied in Sverdlovsk, and we were offered burying in Ivdel. T. Serkov tried to convince each of the parents (from their words) that everyone, even the people of Sverdlovsk, agreed to bury them in Ivdel (personally we, Kolevatov, Slobidin, Dubinin immediately flatly protested against such a proposal) that they would be buried in a mass grave, that in Ivdel they will have an obelisk. The question arises: "Why could not the same thing be done in Sverdlovsk?" When Zina Kolmogorova's parents were also offered to bury their daughter in Ivdel, they refused to do so and suggested
all parents to be gathered in UPI and make a decision together. To this the secretary of the party committee UPI (I do not remember his name exactly) answered that the parents live in different places and it is impossible to gather them. What kind of conspiracy is this? Why did I have to endure so many trials, even go to the Party Regional Secretary, comrade Kuroedov, to get a funeral in my native Sverdlovsk! A soulless attitude toward people who have suffered such a great, inconsolable grief. So many mothers, fathers, relatives, lost good, honest people were forced to suffer.
I had to bury each of the deceased hikers. Why do they have such brown and dark shades of hands and faces? How to explain the fact that four of those who were at the fire and remained alive on all assumptions made no attempt to return to the tent? If they are much warmer dressed (judging by the things missing from the tent) and this is a natural disaster, certainly after making the fire the guys would attempt to crawl to the tent. The whole group could not die from a snowstorm. Why did they abandon the tent in such a panic?
A group of hikers from the Pedagogical Institute of the Geographical Faculty (from their words), who was in Chistop mountain (southeast), saw in these days, in the first days of February, in the vicinity of Otorten some kind of fireball. The same fireballs were witnessed later as well. What is their origin? Could they be the cause of the death of the whole group? After all, the group consisted of hardy and experienced hikers. Dyatlov has been three times in the area. Lyuda Dubinina herself led the group to Chistop in the winter of 1958, many of the guys (Kolevatov, Dubinina, Doroshenko) took part in expeditions in the Sayans. They could not perish
only from the raging storm.
Why wasn't the group equipped with a radio transmitters? Seeing the hopelessness of their situation, the hikers would undoubtedly give a distress signal. When these same participants of the expedition met for New Year 1959 in the forest, leaving for 2 days at the station Boytsy (on the Perm railway), they had radio stations, they listened to Moscow. The radio was brought then by Igor Dyatlov (as my brother told me). This again indicates the sad lack of control of our sports organizations.
I demand on behalf of all my relatives, on behalf of the mother (and she does not suffer such a big and heavy loss) in bringing to justice those people who irresponsibly organized the campaign: comrade Kurochkin, chairman of the city sports section, comrade Ufimtsev, his deputy, comrade Gordo - the chairman of the sports club of the Ural Polytechnic Institute.
I ask you to objectively investigate the reasons for the deaths of the group members, to give the opportunity to parents and relatives to understand the circumstances.
April 16, 1959 Kolevatova (signature)
Prosecutor of the Investigation Department (signature)