Editor-in-chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda Vladimir Sungorkin and TV presenter Andrei Malakhov at the Dyatlov Pass
– Sit still and listen, and I speak, - Vladimir Sungorkin cut me off when the three of us, he, I and the head of the Dyatlov group memory fund Yuri Kuntsevich were sitting in March 2014 in a tent on the Dyatlov pass.
I will not retell this tragic story that took place 60 years ago. Those who are aware of the details of the KP.RU investigation know that our Vladimir Nikolayevich was sincerely passionate about the topic and tried to get to the bottom of the matter - what killed the hikers. Now Kuntsevich is also dead. He passed away a year ago.
Back to the pass. It is minus 25 outside, the canvas of the tent, hardened in the cold, beats in the wind. A potbelly stove is burning in the corner, a flashlight hangs from above, giving a dim light. We, sitting in warm snowmobile suits, hats, gloves, think for three - what happened to the Dyatlov group. Sungorkin gives a master class.
– Yura, - he turns to Kuntsevich in his own way, - tell me this - how did they manage to put up a tent in the most inappropriate place (on a bare slope, - ed.)?
Kuntsevich indulges in reasoning, flavoring them with his mountaneering experience. Like, the hikers set up the tent in such a way that they would not lose height.
– This is nonsense! - exclaims Sungorkin. - A kilometer down you are in a calm area! You don't even need a tent. It is enough to kindle a fire and dig in a snowdrift to hide. You can live like this for three days. I know for myself!
Kuntsevich agreed. Yes, it happened to me too.
– So what happened? Some kind of mystery! - Vladimir Nikolaevich was perplexed.
I went to the pass with him twice. These were large-scale winter expeditions with the participation of experts and journalists. He was the best versed in this story, he could refute any version of development of the events. And with his experience he proved that hikers could not have died under any given circumstances. Well, except attack from Yeti or aliens. Don't be surprised, he considered those options too, because he wanted to get to the bottom of it.
He always taught us that a journalist should be curious. I remember that it was precisely out of curiosity that I ran down the snow-covered slope in my socks. Well, it was interesting to feel for myrself - what is it like, barefoot in the snow? Conclusion: 100 meters is my limit. And the hikers walked one and a half kilometers. But this is not about me.
In the forest, Sungorkin broke deadwood and showed how to light a fire in one minute, proving again and again that experienced hikers could not die because of the cold.
I reread what I wrote and understand that these are some small sketches. I can not find words for broad strokes. After all, the Dyatlov Pass was completely his theme. For the past two days, our editorial office has been filled with mournful bewilderment - what now? He was the engine of everything and everyone. And the investigation into the death of the Dyatlov group in the Northern Urals is no exception. Yesterday, many people involved in the topic sent me words of condolence, because they are grateful to him for the work that Komsomolskaya Pravda has done.
Once someone told him that the case hit a dead end, and that we would most probably never know the truth. He replied: "There are no dead ends, we are only taking a break."
And now I don't know, Vladimir Nikolaevich. Your departure is a dead end, and not just a break.
Note from the site owner: While I was on the expedition 2022 to the Dyatlov Pass Natalya Varsegova told me that her boss Sungorkin read our book "1079" and was interested in the footprint expertise by Lyudmil Georgiev. Then she wrote this article under Sungorkin's request. This makes it the last article Komsomolskaya Pravda published on the subject of the Dyatlov Pass, and our book "1079" is one of the last if not the last Sungorkin read.