Found another mystery in the death of tourists in the Northern Urals

Komsomolskaya Pravda journalists found a new archival document

March 25, 2023. All rights belong to Komsomolskaya Pravda. Authors Nikolay Varsegov and Natalya Varsegova

One of the last photos of Semyon Zolotaryov
One of the last photos of Semyon Zolotaryov from that very fatal trek

Recall that in the winter of 1959, nine hikers disappeared in the mountains of the Northern Urals: a fifth-year student of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI), the head of the group Igor Dyatlov, as well as Yuri Krivonischenko, Yuri Doroshenko, Rustem Slobodin, Zinaida Kolmogorova, Lyudmila Dubinina, Aleksander Kolevatov, Nikolay Thibeaux-Brignolle and Semyon Zolotaryov. For 16 days, the participants of the trek had to ski in the north of the Sverdlovsk region for at least 300 km and climb two peaks of the Northern Urals. The expedition belonged to the third (highest) category of difficulty.

A month later, rescuers found the empty tent of the hikers... And within a radius of one and a half kilometers from it - five frozen bodies. The bodies of the rest were found only in May. Almost all the hikers were shoddy and half-dressed. Some had fatal injuries. According to investigators, the hikers died on the night of February 1-2. But it has not yet been figured out why the group ran away from the tent into the bitter cold and to their death. Because of this understatement, dozens of different versions of the tragedy are discussed in our time: from an avalanche to a Bigfoot attack.

A great deal of the mystery in this story is related to the personality of the oldest participant in the trek, 38-year-old Semyon Zolotaryov. First, his biography is highly controversial. Secondly, there is no reliable information about the purpose of his arrival in the Urals from the Caucasian city of Lermontov. Thirdly, some researchers believe that he could be one of the culprits in the death of the entire group. The latest version, in our opinion, is doubtful. But there are really a lot of mysteries in his life.

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Grave contradictions

We have published all of it not once or twice, but here is the summary of it again:

  • Zolotaryov was born either on February 1 or March 1, 1921. In biographies he pointed to February, but according to his birth certificate the date is March. He graduated from 10 classes, became a member of the Komsomol. Called to the front in October 1941.
  • Officially, his name was Semyon, but he introduced himself to everyone as Aleksander.
  • His military autobiography is at odds with the documents. But he was definitely at the front and went through the whole war without a single wound.
  • After demobilization, he entered the Moscow Military School, from where he could have graduated as a military engineer. But for some reason he ended up in Minsk, where he became a student at the Institute of Physical Education.
  • In Minsk, he joined the party, suddenly mixing up his awards. He told the party commission that he was awarded the Order of the Red Star and also the medal "For Courage", which he did not have. But he had medals "For the defense of Stalingrad", "For the capture of Koenigsberg", "For the Victory over Germany" (which he didn't mention).
  • After graduating from the institute, he was assigned to the city of Grodno, to the local sports committee. Could make an excellent career as an official. But no. It is not known how he catapulted by the Ministry of Education of the RSFSR a direction to small Pyatigorsk to the Pedagogical Institute. He worked there for six months as a physical education teacher and was fired for systematic violations of labor discipline.
  • I got a job in a pharmaceutical university. He worked there until 1954. And they fired him again for disrupting classes, making a row.
  • In 1955, Semyon was pretty much scolded at a party meeting of the city committee. As follows from the denunciations of his party comrades: Zolotaryov beat his own aunt, did not give her money, although he lived and dined with her.
  • Together with a cohabitant, he tried to bribe a certain official for housing. And the most terrible, at that time, crime - he hid from everyone that his older brother, Nikolay, served with the Germans as a policeman in the village of Udobnoy. In 1943 he was executed (shot).
  • We talked to his students. Some told how Semyon, shortly before the fatal trek to the Northern Urals, predicted to them that the whole world would talk about this expedition. Others recalled - "when the 1957-1958 school years began, Zolotaryov was still working at school. And in the second half of the year he disappeared somewhere."
  • In the autopsy report of Zolotaryov, part of the criminal case, it is written: "on the back of the right hand, at the base of the thumb, there is a ГЕНА tattoo. On the back of the right forearm in the middle third is a tattoo with the image of a beet and the letters + C, on the back of the left forearm is a tattoo with the image of Г.С ДАЕРММУАЗУАЯ, five-pointed star and letters C, letters Г+С+П = Д and numbers 1921 year. But none of those of his relatives and acquaintances with whom we managed to communicate saw any images on Semyon's body. Semyon's students, with whom he did gymnastics naked to the waist, did not see them either.

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Compensation for the death of a son

Enough riddles, one would say. We would be happy to stop listing them. Too many for one person. But wait, there is more. A new one we just dug up from the archives.

Recently, in one of the archives, we found a curious document. This is protocol №10 of the meeting of the executive committee of the Ivdel city council of workers' deputies dated March 10, 1959. The first item on the agenda is the issue of providing financial material assistance to citizen Zolotaryova. We are publishing the resolution. And it was issued in advance on March 7, 1959.

We quote further: "In accordance with the instructions of Deputy Chairman of the Sverdlovsk Regional Executive Committee comrades Pavlov and tov. Bezuglov, given the difficult financial situation of citizen Zolotaryova and the tragic death of her son, City Council Executive Committee Rules:

  1. To provide citizen Zolotaryova one thousand rubles as monetary material assistance at the expense of the city committee of physical culture and sports.
  2. lay under obligation head of city finance department comrade Lagutkin to ensure the implementation of this decision."

Here is what is strange about this document. A group of nine hikers went trekking from the hiking section of the Ural Polytechnic Institute. Accordingly, Semyon Zolotaryov had to be temporarily included in the lists of the hiking section. In this regard, the question is, why does the Ivdel Committee of Physical Culture and Sports pay compensation for his death to his mother Vera Ivanovna Zolotaryova? What does Ivdel have to do with it? There have never been such rules for compensation to be paid at the place of death. Pays either the perpetrator of the death, or the organization that organized the trek. In this regard, we do not assert, but we can assume that compensation to Vera Ivanovna could be paid by a certain power structure with which Zolotaryov was connected. And if such a connection was tacit, then they decided to transfer the money not directly, but through one of the Ivdel accounting departments.

But that is not all. On March 7, there is no information what happened to Zolotaryov. By this time, only five bodies of the dead have been found - Doroshenko, Krivonischenko, Dyatlov, Slobodin, and Kolmogorova. The rest are so far considered missing, will be discovered only in May under a two-meter layer of snow in a ravine. Before that, ominous rumors even spread: supposedly the missing could have escaped to America through Chukotka!

But it turns out that the regional officials Pavlov and Bezuglov knew for sure that no one was alive anymore and compensation had to be paid so that the relatives would be less indignant. Let's add to to the plate the memories of a relative of Semyon Zolotaryov, his great-nephew Andrey Leshchenko.

- When they announced the death of Semyon, Vera Ivanovna and Maria (Semyon's older sister, - ed. note.) went to Sverdlovsk, - Andrey told Maya Piskareva, researcher of the tragedy. - They were taken to Ivdel and offered to show the place of death of the group from a helicopter. Maria was afraid to fly, and Vera Ivanovna got into a helicopter and flew down the slope. They showed her from above the place where the group died, took a photograph, where this place was indicated with a cross. Vera Zolotaryova was not shown the body, they said that Semyon's body was never found. (Read the whole letter →)

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The funeral was held in May

So, if the memories are correct, then it is likely that Vera Zolotaryova was told about the death of her son at the end of February, when the search for the group had just begun. In early March, she already flew over the pass in a helicopter. Then she received 1,000 rubles from the Ivdel authorities and returned home.

The funeral of Semyon took place in May at the Ivanovskoe cemetery in Sverdlovsk, the rest of the group was buried at Mihaylovskoe. Here is how Victor Bogomolov, an acquaintance of Zolotaryov, told kp.ru about them: "The chairman of the regional sports committee, Repyev, turned to me as the chairman of the regional hiking club. He said you knew Zolotaryov. Take charge of his funeral. By the way, then I learned with surprise that he was listed as Semyon in his passport, but for some reason we all knew him as Aleksander. 12-15 people came to the cemetery. Not more. His mother and the guys from our hiking asset arrived. Semyon's mother was very old. They put her on a chair. She sat and held on to the coffin. There were no chaperones with her. All alone."

How much were one thousands rubles?

Most likely, the thousand rubles received by Semyon's mother were not intended to pay for the funeral. These expenses were covered by the regional sports committee, and this is normal.

In order to understand how significant this amount was, let's return to Ivdel in 1959. In archival documents, there are decisions of the executive committee on the issuance of material assistance to local residents. For the construction of a house - 5,000-7,000 rubles. Financial assistance to the Pashko family, where there are 4 small children and Pashko himself is sick, 200 rubles. For the funeral of a single citizen - 150 rubles. Or here's another document - citizen Vidyakina receives a pension for the death of her son 160 rubles. The executive committee was not so generous.

For the Ivdel committee of physical culture and sports, 1,000 rubles was a considerable amount, given that their semi-annual budget is almost 20,000 rubles with salaries, business trips, organization of competitions and various events.

So what happened to the group of 9 hikers, that the mother of one of them was hastily given decent money, taken to the place of her son's death much earlier than his body was found.


Monetary compensation to Zolotaryova

Monetary compensation to the mother of Semyon Zolotaryov dated March 10, 1959. The body of her son will be found in two months, on May 5, 1959. Here is the translation →


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