INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
2 Tecknichesky Pereulok, Moscow
Moscow Bar Association
M. A. Firsova
L. G. Proshkina
G. L. Proshkin
Flat 5, 30 3rd Parkovaya St, Moscow 105264
Dear Maria Alexandrovna, Leonid Georgievich and Georgiy Leonodovich,
The Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation examined your complaints dated 20th July 2018 and 17th August 2018 regarding the unsatisfactory investigation (unnumbered case) into the tragic death of nine hikers headed by a student of the Ural Polytechnic Institute IA Dyatlov which happened in February 1959 in Ivdel District, Sverdlovsk Region.
Following your application we studied the case materials and the investigation materials, prepared by the Communist Party authorities from the Sverdlovsk Region which were forwarded to the Central Committee of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in 1959 as well as other documents.
The criminal case was initiated on 26th February 1959 by the Prosecutor for the town of Ivdel, Mr VI Tempalov upon the discovery of the corpses of student hikers in the mountains at an altitude of 1079m in the Ivdel District, Sverdlovsk Region. The case was terminated on 28th May 1959 by the prosecutor for the Sverdlovsk Region, LN Ivanov on the grounds of Article 4, Part 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) (version of the RSFSR Criminal Procedure Code as in force in 1923).
During the original investigation it was found that the group of students of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI) dedicated their expedition to the XXI Congress of the CPSU. The participants were to ski at least 300 km along the northern part of the Sverdlovsk Region and to reach two peaks in the Northern Urals: Otorten and Oyko-Chakur.
On 23rd January 1959 10 amateur skiers started their expedition along the route: Sverdlovsk - Ivdel - 2nd Severniy Village - Mount Otorten - Mount Oyko Chakur - Northern Toshemka River – Vizhay village - Ivdel - Sverdlovsk. The group included: Igor Dyatlov, a student of the Ural Polytechnic Institute and head of the group; L. A. Dubinina, Z. A. Kolmogorova, A. S. Kolevatov, Y. E. Yudin, Y. N. Doroshenko, they were the UPI students; A. A. Zolotarev - Instructor from the Kourovka tour base, R. V. Slobodin, Y. G. Krivonischenko, N. V. Thibeaux-Brignolle - engineers from Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk (Y. E. Yudin returned to Sverdlovsk due to illness at the initial stage of the expedition). The order for the termination of the case states: “Based on the diary entries, sketches of the route and developed films, it was found that on 28.01.1959 the group went up along the Lozva river; the group continued moving on 30.01.59, on 31.01.59 the group came to the Auspia river where they tried to get through to the Lozva river valley, however due to the low temperature and strong wind they were forced to go back down and stop for the night. On 01.02.59, the hikers built a storage facility at the upper reaches of the Auspiya river where they left some food supplies and all excess equipment. Later it was established that moving towards the fourth tributary of the Lozva River, the group took 500- 600 meters to the left and instead of the going through the pass formed by peaks 1079 and 880, they reached the eastern slope of peak 1079.
It follows from the case materials that on 1st February 1959 the group members pitched a tent on the slope of peak 1079 at around 5 pm in bad weather conditions that were unfavorable for staying the night. The court resolution noted that the members of the group were preparing for the night “in strong wind conditions, which was typical for that area and low temperatures of about -25-30 °C.... No recordings or photographs were found after that time”.
On 12th February 1959 the group leader Igor Dyatlov was to telegraph the UPI Sports Club and the Physical Education Committee about their arrival in the village of Vizhay. The search began on 20th February 1959, when the UPI sent a search team along Dyatlov’s route, followed by several more groups. Later soldiers and officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, airplanes and civil and military helicopters were involved in the search.
On 25th February 1959 Boris Slobtsov, his search partner Mikhail Sharavin and hunter Ivan Pashin discovered the tent, which was located on the northeast slope of Mount Holatchakhl (height of 1079 m) and positioned at an angle of 30° to the mountain slope. According to the case materials, “The location and the presence of items in the tent (almost all shoes, all outerwear, personal belongings and diaries) indicated that the tent was abandoned suddenly by everyone, it was established later in the forensic examination, that the leeward side of the tents where the hikers had their heads was cut from the inside in two places in such a way that made possible for a person to leave the tent freely”.
On 26th February the searchers from the Slobtsov’s group found the bodies of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko. At the same time, the Mansi hunters found the body of Igor Dyatlov. The same evening, the body of Zinaida Kolmogorova was found by a search dog. On 5th March, 180 meters from the place where Dyatlov's body was found, the corpse of Rustem Slobodin was discovered.
In March 1959, due to poor weather conditions, the search was suspended and resumed in May 1959. The bodies of Lyudmila Dubinina, Thibeaux-Brignolle, Kolevatov and Zolotarev were found under a layer of snow 2-2.5 m thick. At the time of the discovery report, all the corpses were in the water and were described as decomposed.
The decree for the case termination stated: “A forensic examination established that Dyatlov, Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Kolevatova and Kolmogorov died from low temperature (froze), none of them had injuries, aside from minor scratches and abrasions. Slobodin had a fracture to the skull 6 cm long, which increased to 0.1 m, but Slobodin died from freezing”. The crack in Slobodin’s skull could be caused due to brain enlargement during freezing. “Dubinina, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotarev’s deaths resulted from multiple injuries. Dubinina had a symmetrical fracture of the ribs: 2, 3, 4, and 5 on the right and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 on the left and an extensive hemorrhage in the heart. The presence of the injuries on the corpses is consistent with the idea of the people falling from height while trying to save themselves.
The investigation did not establish the presence of other people in the area that height on 1079 on 1st or 2nd February 1959, except for the Dyatlov’s group.
According to the ‘Report for the Results of the Death Investigation of the Sverdlovsk Hikers’ dated 23rd March 1959 which was forwarded to the Central Committee of the CPSU, “it is clear from the diaries that the weather was gradually getting worse during those days - the wind increased and the temperature dropped to -25°. According to the Ivdel weather station the weather in the mountains was -30-35°С and the wind reached 25-35m/s the night of 1st - 2nd February”.
The study of the case materials revealed that the most likely reason for the death of the hikers could be a confluence of adverse circumstances and the violation of safety rules in difficult conditions of mountainous terrain (temperatures ranging from -30 to -35°C, a snowstorm with a wind speed of 25-35 m/sec., darkness and the location of the tent on a steep slope). Panic among the people could have occurred due to an avalanche and snow falling on the tent. The death of all nine people occurred from frostbite and injuries caused by falling from height. There is no data supporting the presence of man-made factors associated with the death of the hikers in the case. The case materials indicate that the death of the people from an attack by unknown persons, animals or conflicts within the group were ruled out.
Given the above, there are no grounds for resuming the preliminary investigation.
The decision to terminate the criminal case dated 28th May 1959 on the grounds of Article 4 Part 5 of the RSFSR Criminal Procedure Code 1923 (ld 384 - 387) was made by the Prosecutor L.N. Ivanov in coordination with the Deputy Head of the Investigative Department of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, EF Okishev and approved by the Prosecutor for Sverdlovsk Region N.I. Klinov.
Considering that the decision to terminate the criminal case was made by the prosecuting authorities, and the criminal case was not transferred to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the above decision can only be overruled by the prosecutor or the court in accordance with Articles 37 and 214 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation.
Your complaints dated 21st November 2014 and 18th February 2015 were not officially registered or considered by the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation.
Deputy Head of the
Forensic Science Department A I Sazonov
Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation
2 Tecknichesky Pereulok, Moscow, Russia 105005
Mail of Russia
111767 27 01332 9
Leonid Georgievich Proshkin