My recollections of the events became quite popular because I was the first one on the scene of the accident, and then in the morgue I was present during the autopsies and teh subsequent preparation and transportation of the bodies for burial.
In 1959 I was an investigator in the Ivdel prosecutor's office, and when it became known that a group of hikers is missing, but at first no one attached any importance to the the fact.
There were all sorts of calls, they said that they would be found, there was nothing to worry about, they accused the administration of the Ural Polytechnic Institute of not organizing communication in a timely manner. Well, after some time, the tent was discovered.
We flew in by helicopter, I remember, it caught my eye, cuts and a Chinese lantern, which I had not yet seen, they only appeared. Well, what you have already said about the footprints, then that's all.
Well, in addition, if we thought something was interesting to you, and I think it is necessary to say here, what I think none of you know, it was all under the guise of secrecy.
We were sternly warned, or there were two generals gathered there, journalists from many newspapers. You remember, there was a hotel there on the river bank, a two-story log building, it was overcrowded. We, representatives of the prosecutor's office of the republic, clearly said, "to leave Ivdel", and they went away.
But there was one quick journalist, Yarovoy. There was a command not to take anyone on the first flight, but according to the law, you understand, that an event of such importance must be carried out in the presence of witnesses.
To get around the order this... Yarovoy, we literally pushed him into a helicopter so at least to have one witness. If they knew that he was a journalist, of course, there could be grave consequences, one might even say repression.
I remember I took a photo of Yarovoy there, I remember the corpses, and I didn’t like the fact that so few people present that day. They are truly patriots in their field. I remember very well, I took pictures myself, when two, in my opinion, Dyatlov... or Slobodin, or no, no, I don’t remember.
I have all the documents, they were lying in an embrace, they were almost naked, in shorts, that means. This, of course, led to terrible thoughts, but later it turned out that they were really patriots in the sense that, already feeling death, they took off all their clothes and put them on Kolmogorova (this is the girl) or the second, the professor's daughter, Dubinina.
It was a mystery to us. And even more so when the so-called scientists, doctors and candidates gave us their conclusion.
The tent was brought into my office. All in pieces and cuts outside. It looked like they were attacked form the outside. An order was given, only Mansi, someone, maybe, the Sambindalov family, the Anyamov family, the shaman Kurikov with his friends and relatives. Of course not everyone went through the pre-trial detention cell.
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Some hotheads even demanded the use of physical violence to resolve the issue. There was an incident in 1937 and they claimed no one else but the Mansi could have done it. I tried to explain to the high administrative bureaucrats "No, we don't know who left the tracks going down." And Ivanov, as you already know, continue investigating, and Ivanov came after me.
The footprints were preserved. One could see them going down. Moreover, they were without shoes, imagine. So of course, we did not use physical violence against the Mansi, fortunately, there were also those who didn't believe they did it.
The tent hung in my office and I was in a process of making a thorough inspection when a seamstress got into my office by chance, which, you understand, prevented, just like that, the use of violence against the Mansi population. The seamstress said as a remark, Vladimir Ivanovich, this is a tent, after all, cuts in the fabric. I've been sewing all my life! The cuts are not from the outside, but from the inside!... You don't say, from the inside?
Then of course we requested a forensic analysis from Leningrad, I think. The experts gave us the conclusion that the cuts were made from the inside.
Everything became clear: the question became different. What then made them run out of the tent? I remember that the "Otorten" newspaper was even hanging there, how they criticized each other in such a playful way. I believe there was even something about Yudin, who tried to do something about his aching legs and remained in Vizhay.
Later on he identified the bodies. There were many version what made them... we racked our brains for a long time and did not come to any conclusion.
And only then, when I found one Mansi witness, in my opinion, Sambindalov or Anyamov, and one Russian from the village of Polunochnoe. They gave testimonies about glowing orbs of fire flying in the sky.
Naturally, all this was recorded. You will find it in the case files. I got acquainted with this case with one journalist, literally before speaking on the All-Union Radio. I spoke about the hikers on the All-Union Radio, and then it became a mystery. Well, anyway, why did they jump out? And the first bodies did have serious injuries.
I was alerted by the fact that there were guards surrounding the morgue. No one was allowed into the morgue. This is news to you, that the KGB guarding the morgue. The experts were Vozrozhdenniy and Gantz.
I served as an investigator and mostly as a nurse. They didn't let anyone in, that is, I packed the brain, which means all the tissues for histological examination, and so on.
The first group, the first three or four corpses - there were no bodily injuries. The conclusion was that their death was not violent. All the government commissioners were boozing in the village of Lozva.
We were working in the morgue when, it means, at one ... I was packing something, expert Gantz screamed in a literally inhuman voice.
I got closer. Indeed, he peeled off the skin from one of the skulls and it was fractured. The second corpse was also flattened. Naturally, the question became, what caused it?
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I called Lozva where Ivanov himself was sitting at the round table, in front of him was a forensic prosecutor, which means there were the workers of the regional executive committee, Moscow comrades and so on. I said that they couldn't have from freezing. What are you saying? Come and see. I don't remember if anyone came to the morgue or not.
Well, Ivanov came in, but everyone was afraid. This was also alarming. There were two barrels of alcohol, after each session, so to speak. We were dipping naked into barrels of alcohol.
It made me think, what is this? Nobody says anything. Well, there was suspicion. We didn't know about radiation back then. And what I told you was strange. I talked to the Mansi. They were illiterate, and they have their own sign language, which means that they draw very well.
They drew something like a rocket. And you understand, in 1959, they had no idea what a rocket was. They didn't have television, no one was saying anything. But they drew. Drawing from Kolmogorova's diary:
So I don't forget, I will say it in advance: these protocols have been destroyed in the case file. This is a big violation of the law. I personally issued a decision on the appointment of a forensic medical examination for each dead body. These documents are not in the case file.
So, even after, when I don’t remember, Stepan joined, Kurikov, this shaman with this newly formed search group, who was one of the first suspects at the beginning that he took part in the organization of this murder.
To add fuel to the fire, the first secretary of the regional party committee, Ivan Stepanovich Prodanov called in front of me Kirilenko's office.
Andrey Petrovich Kirilenko was all power, god and tsar. Subsequently Secretary of the Central Committee. So why did you add oil? At one time, in the year 1939, here in the region of Mount Otorten, in one of ... on the lake, a woman's body was found. This was Mansi praying grounds, they didn’t allow strangers... It was considered a sacred place. And even more women were forbidden. And when the woman came there, Mansi tied her legs with rods, and drowned her.
And here he also linked the version. So, he literally imposed on us. Well, there are a lot of details. Maybe she has questions, ask, then. Then the pressure set in. They began to remove me, to persuade me that the investigation should be closed. Moscow demands, therefore, that a decision be made that they died as a result of the elements, as a result of hypothermia.
I was also in the regional committee of the party, I was present at the conversation between Kirilenko and Prodanov. It seems that Kirilenko said directly that there was an investigator there, we know everything here. So, it must be stopped. Well, this, of course, infuriated me: I was on the spot, I interrogated witnesses, in the morgue of each, as they say, I examined all the clothes, and so many examinations were appointed.
But the order was strict, to the point of being removed from office and expelled from the party. Fortunately, I was not expelled and was a young specialist, so I was not kicked out with the prosecutor's office, so to speak.
The order was soon issued. Literally even a few days were not allowed to investigate, but after these testimonies were given. Epanishnikov, yes, the Russian Epanishnikov, I think he gave evidence in the case, but at the initial stage, or... I don’t remember.
After I was called to the regional committee, the case was handed over to the forensic specialist. Hand it over, it's an order. We are, as they say, people in uniform.