Author Galina Sazonova
The cooperation with the prosecutor's office, which began in September last year, made us look somewhat differently at the materials of the criminal case on the death of a group of hikers led by Igor Dyatlov in the Urals in the winter of 1959. We decided to try not to focus our opinion on riddles, but to try to find a simple and logical explanation for them.
The writer Oleg Arhipov found and studied the archives of the investigator Korotaev, and one document attracted particularly close attention. We are talking about the note of the Prosecutor Tempalov.
Instructions in this memo are not only to attend the trial in the case of Adam Reeb (and it was this fact that helped us figure out the true date of writing the note), but also a request to interrogate the head of the lag department Hakimov.
"In addition, on the instructions of the regional prosecutor to interrogate the chief of the logging branch of Vizhay Hakimovwhether the leader of the hikers group (who died) said that they will return to Vizhay not on 12.II. 59 but 15.II.59."
An examination carried out by the prosecutor's office established that this particular issue was the most important for Tempalov at the time of writing the note, and he continued to think about February and the deceased group, reflexively putting down the same dates further. And if this issue was so important for the prosecutor, it means that it deserves our close attention. Moreover, now many researchers of the mystery pose a legitimate question: "If there was an order to interrogate Hakimov, then why is there no protocol of his interrogation in the materials of the Criminal case?"
Hakimov Zakiy Gasimovich, born in 1923, participant in the Second World War, member of the CPSU, was a career soldier and was the head of the 8th camp department located in the village of Vizhay. It was from Vizhay that the Dyatlov group went on their last trek and had to return there, notifying the Sports club with a telegram about the end of the expedition. It is quite natural that when the group did not return at the appointed time, the first thing they did was call Vizhay. What if you forgot to send a telegram or the mail was closed?
"Blinov, a member of the hiking section bureau, told me that the Dyatlov group would return to Vizhay on about February 14-15, 1959, allegedly Yudin, who was also part of Dyatlov's group, had said so, when he returned due to illness on the way. Therefore, the Sports club started looking into the reason for the non-return of the hikers from the Dyatlov group only after February 15, 1959...
Searchers were not sent on February 16 this year because we got through to Vizhay only on the night of February 17... On February 18 he called Vizhay again. I was told that a group of the local population was getting ready, and that they saw a group of hikers."
Lev Semyonovich Gordo, the chairman of the UPI sports club, seems to be justifying himself before the investigation why the search was not started on February 16. He makes it clear that Vizhay has taken the lead. Gordo does not name Hakimov, but can such issues be resolved without the participation of the head of the log department, who controls the settlement?
However, calls to Vizhay did not bring the expected result and Lev Semyonovich, together with Yuri Blinov, a friend of Igor Dyatlov, fly to location on the morning of February 20.
Oddly enough, but it was precisely on the phrase "on the morning of February 20 of this year that Blinov and I flew to Ivdel." where the interrogation of Lev Semyonovich was interrupted. Yuri Blinov was not interrogated at all.
The next to arrive in Vizhay on February 22 is a group of students led by Boris Slobtsov. In the memoirs of Boris Slobtsov there is a story about the capture of fugitive prisoners, which gave rise to a number of versions associated with gulag convicts, aka zeks.
But there really was an escape! In the State Archives, they managed to find a book of escape registration for 1959, from which it follows that on February 19, a group of three prisoners escaped immediately after Gordo called Vizhay. They will only be caught on February 21, when Gordo and Blinov were already there. Does thsi have something to do with why the investigation doesn't ask them what exactly happened on the spot at that period?
– 2 –
and entry №
|1. 19.II||21.II. №153||Madzhigatov Sultan Gamzabhanovich||1938||Art. 206-7,14 USSR
|2. 19.II||21.II||Ivanov Vasiliy Georgievich||1933||Art. 136, 182
|– " – reg.|
|3. 19.II||21.II||Nadvorny Yuri Yakovlevich||1931||Decree
|– " – reg.|
There should have been a large-scale search not for the Dyatlov group, but escaped convicts. After all, this is exactly what is included in the direct responsibilities of the colony leadership. And you can be sure that in accordance with the instructions, having notified Moscow about the group escape that took place, they deployed the search headquarters, informed the secretary of the Party Committee of the Party, police, transport police, interviewed the local population, geologists, flew around the territory, looked for and analyzed all tracks. And, for sure, they were happy when the search was successfully completed on February 21.
Prosecutor Tempalov's interrogation protocol:
"On February 21, 1959 I learned from the Secretary of the Ivdel CC CPSU comrade Prodanov that a group of nine hikers did not return to the Polytechnic Institute from a trip to Sverdlovsk."
On February 21, the final meeting of the headquarters of the search for the escaped convicts was supposed to take place and it was at this moment that the Prosecutor Tempalov first learned about the disappearance of the Dyatlov group.
On February 23, the Slobtsov group is flown to Otorten.
Who decides that a group of students should be dropped off there? After all, both Evgeniy Maslennikov and Colonel Ortyukov, who led the subsequent searches, are still in Sverdlovsk, and there is just a discussion about how to conduct the search operation. On February 21, Maslennikov still thinks "that one of the participants could have injured his leg, and the group had to help the hiker, which is slowing their movement. Or that one of the hikers fell ill with the flu and the whole group was sitting in a secluded place."
On February 23, a meeting at the UPI is just gathering and there is "a discussion about the details of the preparation of the group, about the route, about what, in my opinion, could have happened with the group and about my considerations for organizing the search."
Maslennikov compares the search area with the territory of Belgium and suggests sending several groups along the entire Dyatlov route, and the Slobtsov group is already just a few kilometers from the site of the tragedy.
But the Slobtsov group was the only group of students with whom two more local people went in search: the head of the fire department of the same log camp, an experienced hunter Aleksey Cheglakov and a forester of Vizhay Ivan Vasilyevich Pashin.
"on the orders of the Chief of the logging branch Hakimov, together with the forester Ivan Pashin I flew by helicopter to the site of the death of a group of hikers near Mount Otorten."
Much later, Mihail Sharavin, who happened to find a tent on the slope, analyzing the events of those days, came to the conclusion that the forester Pashin sent them to the tent, and he himself remained to wait aside. And this feeling is confirmed in the materials of the criminal case. All students are sure that the tent was found on the 4th day of the search, February 26, but Pashin and Cheglakov assure that they found the tent earlier, on the second day of the search.
"On the second day we found the tent of the hikers which was located in the upper reaches of rivers Auspiya and Lozva at the height of the mountain Verhuspiya. It was badly drifted by snow. We did not go inside."
"On the first day of the search, once descended into the Auspiya we found ski tracks from the hikers. Here we pitched a tent, spend the night, divided into three groups and went to look for the hikers, as a result of the search we found a tent with belongings that was not clearly seen since it was covered with snow, we did not go into the tent. The tent was found in the upper sources of Auspiya and Lozva at the height of the mountain Verhuspiya."
– 3 –
One can suspect that they were "lost" in the days of searching. But in order to dispel these doubts, both emphasize that if the tent was discovered on the second day (at Pashin's - after the first overnight stay), then the first bodies were discovered on the fifth day of the search.
"On the fifth day of our search we found 4 bodies covered with snow and on this day we were taken back home with helicopter to the village of Vizhay." (Pashin)
Cheglakov and Pashin assure that "they did go inside" the tent. But should they have tried to look into it? After all, the entrance withstood. This is not very convenient to do, especially when it is dark in the tent, but you can always try to shine a flashlight? And turn it off after that, because during the day it is not needed outside, and then accidentally forget it on the top. And then there will be snow under it, and above it there will be a little snow, which was swept in several days, until the students "found" the tent. The flashlight will work, since it has not been in the cold for a month, but only for a few days and the batteries would not have time to discharge.
Tempalov does not mention the flashlight in the protocol on the discovery of the campsite, although he was obliged. Maybe because Cheglakov and Pashin confessed to him that it was their flashlight? Maybe this explains the fact that Tempalov does not show much interest in inspecting the tent, knowing that since the tragedy many have already visited and examined it, which means the scene has been contaminated?
Ivdel is a small town, whose life is closely connected with the life of the gulag, and the escape of the prisoners was an important and unpleasant event. What if we assume that during the break, the convicts stumbled upon the scene of the tragedy and, fearing that the deaths of people could be associated with them, chose to surrender? Boris Slobtsov says that the escapees surrendered themselves. And then the local leadership, knowing the approximate area of the tragedy, directed their people to assess the situation and try to keep the situation under control.
But all this happens in February, and the need to interrogate Hakimov arises in April, two months later. The memo states the purpose of the interrogation:
"whether the leader of the hikers group (who died) said that they will return to Vizhay not on 12.II. 59 but 15.II.59."
This means that the investigation is concerned not so much with the organization of the searches but when it started.
On April 14, a few days before the memo was written, the parents of the deceased hikers sharply speak out against the institute and sports organizations.
Rustem Slobodin's father:
"Knowing that Dyatlov’s group had to return on February 13th, after this period I called the sports club at UPI... The search for the group began 18 days after the disaster, and the place of death was found only 26 days after the accident that caused the death. Obviously, with such a time frame and pace of carrying out measures to find the group, it was impossible to count on the provision of assistance and the rescue of any of its participants."
Aleksander Kolevatov's sister:
"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."
Lyuda Dubinina's father:
"These soulless and heartless leaders didn't express any concern for the fate of the group 8 days after the planned return date to Vizhay (12/II) and started looking for the group only after the intervention of the CPSU Regional Committee, namely 21/II."
In a telegram addressed to Khrushchev says the same:
"Search began late only after 10 days had passed"
The parents of the deceased are clearly trying to hold representatives of sports organizations accountable for such a late start of the search, and they are trying to justify themselves, referring to information received from Igor Dyatlov about the postponement of the return.
"it was allegedly said by Yudin who was a participant in Dyatlov group, but had to turn back due to illness."
On April 15 Yuri Yudin denied knowing about any changes in the return date of the trek:
"Question: When you parted with comrade Dyatlov, did he tell you that the return date will be moved from the February 2nd to February 15th of 1959?
Answer: No, there was no talk about the deadline being postponed to 15/II-59.
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?
You can discuss this topic on Dyatlov Pass Forum.