Mihail Sharavin answers questions from members of the Dyatlov Pass group of VKontakte

© Maria Piskareva 2013

M.P.: Mihail Petrovich, I was prompted to turn to you again by the desire to dot the i's once and for all, namely, even though it is annoying that people continue to suspect the searchers of eating loin in a tent and so on. You have already answered me, but briefly, I posted your answer on the forum, and apparently it was not noticed. Therefore, I want to formulate your answers in an interview, so everyone will notice it and no longer talk nonsense. And even if they do, there will always be people who will point them to your answers published in this interview.

I have also included questions to you from the members of our group "Dyatlov Pass" in the social network contact:

They came to the topic after numerous programs on television, and still do not know much, but the questions are sincere, although they seem naive to you, and you have answered them, perhaps, a hundred times already.

M.Sharavin: Oh sure. Health still allows me to answer your questions. To be more precise, your questions for me are an incentive to have health in the hope of waiting for the results of your investigation.

M.Piskareva: Mihail Petrovich, you so gracefully expressed your agreement, I am flattered. But, alas, we learn the truth either from the state, or when we find ourselves in another world, where there are no diseases, sorrows and sighing ... In the meantime, it remains to intellectually entertain ourselves with a game of investigation.

If it depends on me to improve your well-being, then I am always glad to do it!

Questions at hand:

1. About the loin. Mihail Petrovich, more and more often there are statements on the web that it was you, the first searchers who came out to the Dyatlov group's tent and then dismantled things there, Slobtsov, Sharavin, Brusnitsyn, Koptelov, cut that loin and ate it piece by piece, and maybe even washed it down with alcohol. Tell me, is this true?

M.Sharavin: We weren't so vulgar as to chop and eat the loin in the tent we found. The knife is not ours, we did not cut the loin. Slobtsov and I found the loin cut into slices and the piece remaining after cutting, as well as the skins from the already eaten pieces when we penetrated into the tent through the "top" on February 26, immediately after its discovery. Of course, there could be no talk of eating and drinking alcohol in the tent. A flask with alcohol, which we found in a bucket, we took with us to the base camp and drank at a common table, remembering the guys.

Question: Why didn't you look into the tent through the entrance?

M.Sharavin: Why didn't we enter the tent through the "entrance"? Imagine a pole standing up, and immediately after the ridge part descending almost vertically down. Only the front pole stood vertically. The entire length of the tent was covered with 200 mm thick firn snow. Until the snow is removed from the roof, it will still not be possible to get into the tent. There was nothing to be seen through the entrance. In addition, I wanted to find out if there are bodies in the tent. Strange, but we were not warned about how we should behave in such a situation. But when the canvas of the tent was cleared, it became evident that there was no one inside.

Question: Didn't you personally think that there was too much food in the tent, that there were all the heavy things before the ascent to Otorten?

M.Sharavin: About products. We didn’t think there were a lot of food in the tent, rather we didn’t have time to register this.

Question: In one of your interviews, you said that not far from the tent of the Dyatlov group a small area of blown snow in the form of a circle was clearly visible. Do you think it could have been a trail from a helicopter landing there? Then you many times saw helicopters landing and departing, can you compare, did they leave the same tracks?

Or the snow was melted and icy, i.e. as if melted. But again, in the form of a circle?

M.Sharavin: As for the area of blown snow, this was reported in a radiogram from the search.

The circle of blown snow was larger than that of a helicopter propeller. Later, the book with a record of all radiograms from the search was removed by the "competent" authorities, the room was closed and the watch was stopped. This is evidenced by one of the then on duty Galya... who made a repentance, i.e. with a statement 50 years later.

– 2 –

Question: Here is a photo of the tent, everyone knows it and can already be called classic.

The tent on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl. Photo taken on Feb 28.

Tell us, is this how you found the tent? Or has something in the picture changed already? If so, what exactly is different form how you found it?

It was you and Boris Slobtsov who dug up the tent. Or was it someone else that dug up the tent after you?

Particularly interested in where, in what place was the ice ax. If possible, mark its position on the photo. Or describe in detail so that we can understand from the photo where he was. Where did you yanked it out from?

M.Sharavin: This photo is taken on February 27 by a someone from Karelin's group, who were led to the tent by Yuri Koptelov. He is in the photo. The snow was dug up by us the day before. The skis were set after us, initially they were in front of the tent, to the left of Koptelov. And a little to the right of Koptelov, we initially found an ice ax, in front of the entrance to the tent, which we used when chopping up the snow that was on top the tent. I don't find any other differences.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, when you approached the tent, did you personally see any items scattered around the tent? Slobtsov talked about some kind of slippers, ski caps...

M.Sharavin: I did not notice any slippers when I approached the tent. Slobtsov maybe recollecting belongings that he saw the very next day. After all, he wrote the testimony one month later.

Question: regarding the blankets in the tent. Were they in a pile, or spread out? Can you maybe remember the color of some blanket?

M.Sharavin: The blankets in the tent were mostly spread out. Most of them were brown.

Question: When you saw the blankets spread out in the tent, did you look under them?

M.Sharavin: Yes, we looked under the blankets in one place to make sure that there were empty backpacks on the bottom of the tent.

Question: Did you return everything that you took from the tent on February 26, taking into account that you drunk the flask before the arrival of the investigator?

M.Sharavin: The empty flask was returned to the tent on the 27th, and the rest - a diary and money, possibly returned to the investigator.

Question: How dense was the snow on the tent that you had to chop it up with an ice ax? Do you agree that the two skis were not set up as the center ridgepoles of the tent?

M.Sharavin: The snow on top of the tent was really so hard that it had to be chopped off with an ice axe. And the skis were in front of the tent and were not used as ridgepoles.

Question: About the rope at the entrance - did it tie the skate of the entrance with skis or an ice axe, or tied it to another pole?

M.Sharavin: I can't say anything about a rope. I don't remember such.

Question: Did you see hot water bladders among Dyatlov group belongings?

M.Sharavin: There really were hot water bladders among the Dyatlov group belongings. We found them while inspecting the tent, I remember that.

Question: The belts should be on the skis same as the ropes sustaining the ridge of the tent. But according to the protocols of the discovery of the tent there were no straps on the skis. According to Slobtsov they were found at the entrance of the tent. There were not even torn off belts o the skis, similar to the ropes at the back of the tent the back of the tent. Do you remember any straps on the skis?

M.Sharavin: Indeed, the front and back stretches for the ridge rope were torn off. You most likely see the end of this rope in the photo, although we did not have time to study the area on this side of the tent. As I said, skis were not used to stretch the tent.

Question: Was there a camera on the slope of the tent?

M.Sharavin: We found the camera inside the tent and took it to the searchers base camp. On top of the the tent, in a layer of snow, we found a Chinese flashlight turned off.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, did you see the pole which the searcher Lebedev said was cut into pieces and lay on top of the blankets? If so, please tell us about it, what kind of pole was that? Ski? Bamboo or wooden?

M.Sharavin: I myself have not seen this pole, but I heard about it from Yudin. The pole seems to be bamboo, broken. Both ends were inside the tent. Probably the pole was used as the back stand of the tent, and must have been destroyed by some external force; we found almost the entire tent under the snow, including the back side.

– 3 –

Question: Boris Slobtsov said in an interview that you took off your skis and walked in boots down the slope, almost following the very tracks on the slope. Do you think that the trace from the heel, which was later discovered by witnesses, could have been left by you, i.e. unintentionally left by your boots?

M.Sharavin: When we approached the tent, we really walked without skis, but our boots did not leave marks on the firn snow. In addition, footprints in boots were observed in the general track of all footprints left by the Dyatlov group ... they protruded above the surface of firn snow.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, do you remember the "Moscow masters (of sports - ed.)" on the slope? Have you met them? Or were they keeping aloof from the students? Do you remember when they arrived at the slope?

M.Sharavin: I don't remember the Moscow masters, as there were a lot of people at that time. They arrived on the March 3.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, please remember how did you know that Yuri Doroshenko lay under the cedar? After all, his face was covered with snow and in addition by either a checked shirt or a blanket. You told me earlier that you identified him by his underpants and bare legs. As I understand it, this is a joke, you could not know Doroshenko's bare legs and could not know his underpants.

M.Sharavin: regarding Doroshenko. In the photo by the cedar included in the criminal case, Krivonischenko lies face down, and Doroshenko is face up. Doroshenko's face was only covered with snow. I knew Doroshenko better than anyone else from the hiking club. When the identity of those found at the cedar was confirmed, this question was not an issue for me.

Question: Have you noticed anything strange and out of place under the circumstances? What did you personally find suspicious while searching?

M.Sharavin: I would consider the discovery of the 10th pair of skis by the tent strange, since 9 pairs of skis were found under the tent, and a spare pair of skis was found in the storage. Yudin brought this up many times in front of me. The second strange thing is that the Chinese flashlight, which Slobtsov and I found during the excavation of the tent, was not on the tent canvas, but in the middle of a layer of snow 200mm thick. In addition, consider carefully the position of the corpses of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko near the cedar, especially the position of Doroshenko's leg bent at the knee. They did not die here, but were carelessly dumped here. Note the radiograms from the search, such as the one about the puttee* they found. (radiograms from May 1959)

* A long strip of cloth wound spirally around the leg from ankle to knee for protection and support, usually used in the army.

Question: What is your version of what took place there? What do you think really happened to the Dyatlov group?

M.Sharavin: I don't have an explanation for everything that led to the tragic death of the group, but I assume that the hikers stumbled upon a testing area, was exposed to light, poisoning and mechanical effects and left the tent in a hurry: all injuries were sustained alive. Some of the injuries, incompatible with life, were sustained already where they were found. Both the secrecy of the tests and the reasons for the injuries cannot allow the state secrets to be revealed even 50 years later.

Question: Why do you personally think you were not questioned later? For what reason were you not questioned as a witness in the criminal case?

M.Sharavin: I was not personally interrogated as part of the criminal case for two reasons: we found the tent together with Slobtsov, who was the leader of the search group. The second reason could have been the fact that I got a concussion during the second run of the search and was in the hospital until May 12.

Question: Did the special services contact you and ask you not to talk about anything?

M.Sharavin: The special services never approached me.

Question: M.P. Sharavin's relationship with the searchers is very interesting, with Bartolomey in particular. How Bartolomey's career affected his relations with his classmates. Why does Slobtsov keep to himself? In general, the relationship of the searchers after the search operation is extremely interesting.

M.Sharavin: My relations with all the searchers, including Bartolomey, are very normal. Slobtsov supported Buyanov's avalanche version, which none of the searchers support.

Question: From what we now know about the discovery of the tent, it follows that the hunter did not dare to go up the mountain and remained "below", right? Judging by where this group was coming from, he must have stayed in the most interesting place from the point of view of the investigation. How can you describe exactly where this man stayed and how he stayed there? Did he sit in the snow, maybe he sat under a cedar tree? Maybe he started to snow something under a birch tree in a sparse forest? Maybe he began to gaze intently into the woods? What was it like? I know it's very hard to remember that moment, but still...

M.Sharavin: As I understand, the question is about the guide Pashin. The three of us were at the ridge on February 26 after climbing the pass. Pashin stood with his back to the outlier, facing in the direction of the northern spur of height 1076 (1079 - ed.) and began to tell us about the lake below Otorten and the steep precipice in the direction of this lake, i.e. interested us in this direction. So we went in this direction and subsequently stumbled upon the tent, while Pashin referred to his ill health and stayed at the outlier.

Question: I don't understand Brusnitsyn's and Slobtsov's memories, for example. They find a track on the Auspiya, downstream one group found a campsite, then they follow this track in the direction of Main Ural Ridge, and according to some memories the track comes out on the slope. Then they conclude that the (Dyatlov - ed.) group got tired and returned down into the valley of Auspiya river. But they don't find a camp site. So the tired (Dyatlov - ed.) group did not return along the old track, but decided to make a new one? And deviate considerably form the old trail? Further - more. Two groups go in circles in this area for another day or two in search of (Dyatlov's - ed.) campsite, and they don't find anything. Why didn't they find the last (Dyatlov's - ed.) campsite right away? They were looking for it intently. And then they found the cache all of a sudden. And the fact that this is the place of the last (Dyatlov's - ed.) campsite is stated in the report. Makes sense from the standpoint that the cache was set up in the campsite. But completely illogical in relation to the previously found track.

– 4 –

M.Sharavin: I do not want to explain events, which I did not witness. If we are talking about Brusnitsyn's testimony and the search for the cache, then understand that they did not find the cache, but found it after the bodies had been found and in another place. Separately, I could read through Brusnitsyn's testimony and explain to you the unclear points. This day of February 26th Slobtsov and Brusnitsyn were in different places: Slobtsov and I went in the direction of the pass along the track of the Dyatlov group, and Brusnitsyn - in the opposite direction - in search of the previous camp of the Dyatlov group previous stop. And they found it. They also tried to look for the cache, but they could not find it, because it was in another place - upstream of the Auspiya and much closer to the pass. The cache was found by someone, I do not remember, maybe Slobtsov only on March 1. Probably you are trying to combine the testimony of Slobtsov and Brusnitsyn about different time intervals.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, do you remember the episode captured in the photo:

Ivanov in the base camp on Auspiya river

What is this stick nailed to tree trunks? What is there so interesting captured the attention of the investigator, what is Ivanov photographing?

M.Sharavin: The episode with this stick on the cedar, which Ivanov is photographing, was not with me, so I don't know anything about this.

Question: Did you find any Mansi items during your searches? After all, their path passed there, and the Mansi always leave trash on their trails. Did you see anything?

M.Sharavin: We did not find anything left behind by Mansi on their trail. Probably because in winter everything is snowed in.

Question: Did you notice during the search that the pilots exchanged alcohol with Mansi for furs and golden sand? Was there any talk about this among the searchers?

M.Sharavin: I can't say anything about the exchange of alcohol for furs, since I myself was not a witness to this.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, how far did you go the first time with Slobtsov? Was the cedar visible? Why did you turn from the tracks leading to the cedar and went back to the base camp? Did you carry your skis with you?

Is this the same cedar?

Searches in the area of the 4th tributary of Lozva river. Photos presumably taken on March 4.

– 5 –

M.Sharavin: From the tent, we did not walk down the trail toward the cedar. From the tent, the cedar was visible, standing out in size from the rest of the trees around. Now the cedar is hard to distinguish. And we hurried back to the base camp with the news that we have found the tent. The whole search plan for the next day depended on this news. But from this point I can't recognize the cedar tree.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, please tell us about the cardboard in the cache. Were you surprised that the Dyatlov group had it with them? Did Slobtsov say anything about it, what did it look like in general? What kind of cardboard was it, and how could Dyatlov group carry it? For some reason no one asked Slobtsov about this cardboard. I asked Evgeniy Buyanov to ask Slobtsov questions about it. Evgeniy Vadimovich called and found out that Slobtsov did not remember anything about this cardboard in the cache. But he said that if he remembered anything, he would get back to me. He said that it was such an insignificant detail during the search, that he might have forgotten all about it... But this cardboard is of the same importance as the puttee.

M.Sharavin: I do not know anything about cardboard, since I was never seen the cache site.

Question: When Zina and Igor's bodies were discovered, where were you at that moment? Did you go anywhere near the bodies? Who identified the bodies of the four people found on February 27? Were these bodies shown to you, the students, for identification? Judging by the radio logs, the identification process took place within an hour or two. And they were identified by those who knew the dead.

M.Sharavin: Igor and Zina were found in the second half of February 27. I was probably so shaken by the events of that day that the second half of February 27 fell out of my memory. In fact, in the morning of that day, Koptelov and I found Doroshenko and Krivonishchenko near a cedar tree, and then I met helicopters with search parties. I was not at the place where Igor and Zina were found and did not take part in the identification.

Question: Do you remember what the weather was like in the first days of the search?

M.Sharavin: When we found a tent and during the next day the weather was not bad. On the 26th on the pass there was a wind, but moderate. And on the 27th there was even sunny weather. The temperature was not more than 15°C (59°F).

Question: From the radiogram we know such a detail like the time of the discovery of the four bodies at 17.45 (5:45 PM) a bag with documents was found in the snow. Can you please remember what kind of bag it was? After all, according to the reports, Dyatlov's field bag was found in the tent in the far corner. And the tent, as Maslennikov said, was still covered with snow and not examined on January 27. They started to take it apart for the record on February 28. And what was that bag in the snow?

M.Sharavin: Until now I thought Slobtsov and I discovered Dyatlov's documents with the route books on the 26th. But there was no telegram about this form the 26th. Maslennikov may have reported it on the 27th when he became aware of it, because he arrived at the place of search only on the 27th.

Question: How often did you go on hikes as a member of the group when you had already the experience of leading your own treks? If you participated in such hikes, were there any conflicts between the group leader and other participants who had leadership experience themselves?

M.Sharavin: Yes, I have participated of two treks, when I was not the leader. They were treks in the summer of 1959 - through Tien-Shan and in the winter of 1961 - along the route of Ivdel-Priobye railroad which was under construction. The last was a ski trip of the Sverdlovsk area team, consisting of 3 groups: the first was led by Slava Karelin, the second by Pyotr Bartolomey (I was a member of his group), the third was the team from Pervouralsk. During the week the temperature was -40°C (-40°F). Nevertheless, in the swamp there were windows of unconsolidated water, floating in the freezing cold. We also remember the time Rudolf Sedov fell into the stream up to his waist. We set up a tent, stripped him and wiped with alcohol and made him run on skis. He got away without as little as a runny nose.

But in this hike I do not recall any conflicts between the participants and the leader of the trek.

But I recall one summer camping trip by UPI hikers in 1960. The leader was someone named Belyakov. The group quarreled and split up. The result was sad - half of the group members went on rafting on the mountain river and died.

Photo from May 1958 trek rafting down the Chusovaya River

M.Sharavin: Photo from May 1958 trek rafting down the Chusovaya River on 3 rafts. I am the leading raft. Building rafts was not easy.

– 6 –

Question: Dyatlov group died scattered, in clusters. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this matter. Why were they separated and didn't die all together, a sa friendly group, in one place?

M.Sharavin: I am not surprised that the corpses were found in different places. Doroshenko and Krivonischenko, as the strongest physically, performed the most responsible work of maintaining the fire. Perhaps Doroshenko climbed the cedar tree and used his legs and the weight of his body to break dry branches, until he broke off, falling down and leaving pieces of his own skin. Remains on the bark of the tree and wounds on the body are recorded at the scene and by experts. In this regard I recommend Oleg Arhipov's book "Death marked Confidential". In his opinion Kolevatov was the last to leave - he went between the ravine and the cedar. Perhaps Dyatlov left Kolevatov with the injured when he tried to make his way to the tent.

When the guys reached the cedar, they couldn't get back to the tent because there was an insurmountable obstacle to getting back to the tent.

Question: Mihail Petrovich, as someone that had been to the cedar, did you personally see pieces of skin and blood on the cedar? Did any of the searchers see this firsthand, did they talk about blood on the cedar back in the base camp?

M.Sharavin: I did not see the remnants of the skin on the bark, but this was stated by the investigator Ivanov in his "dying" confession.

M.P.: Mihail Petrovich, recently a representative of the foundation, said that a new photograph is found of the two bodies discovered under the cedar, taken on February 27, at the time of drawing up the protocol by the prosecutor Tempalov. And in this photo you can see that there is no blanket on the bodies. Have you seen this photo?

M.Sharavin: The photo was taken at the time of drawing up the protocol by the investigator; the snow was cleared form the surface of the bodies. On Doroshenko, who is lying face up, a dark checked shirt is visible on half of his body, which, when I first examined the corpses covered with snow, I took for a brown blanket.

Question from Dmitriy Levanov, participant of the winter hike to the pass in January-February 2014. The question is very simple. Here is a photo of their tent which stood on the same spot for 10 days. Of course the weather on the pass in 1959 and 2014 could have been different. We can say that in 2014 the weather was clear with little wind and no precipitation, it's a fact, presumably in 1959 there was a precipitation, and storm winds. Dyatlov's tent, we assume, stood on the slope for 25 days, i.e. 2.5 times more. We can assume that the amount of snow would be twice as much.

Question: How different was the level of snow on top of the tent and in front of the entrance? Was the snow on top and in front of the tent similar in structure? One more thing: exactly where was the ice axe they found, and how deep was it in the snow? "...the ice axe, in front of the entrance to the tent..." It would be wonderful, if to specify, to recollect where exactly was the ice axe: lying, was it stuck in the snow drift or in a recess just before the entrance; approximately how much was it stuck in: in half, 2/3, or completely. Of course, it must be very hard to remember all this now, a lot of things have piled up in the memory in the meantime. But maybe... And when exactly was the ice axe found, was it on the 26th (when the tent was only discovered and excavated) or the 27th (when the photos were taken and the skis had already been moved).

M.Sharavin: Dmitriy, the questions are clear. First, it would be more customary for me to look at a photo of a tent if I turn the camera lens to the left. Besides, I don't see enough free space in front of the tent. In front of the tent, I see a decrease in the level of snow, which was swept away by the wind, meeting an obstacle in the way in the form of a tent. But this drop in snow was also in front of the tent, where I lacked the space for the picture in front of the tent. This is where the ice ax was stuck one third of the handle into the firn snow. 1.5m (5 feet) away a pair of skis were stuck in the snow, standing together. In addition, I can see in the picture drifts of loose snow, in 1959 we saw firn snow all around, and here in front of the tent on the left wall it is slightly more than it was then. And there was no drop in the level of snow directly in front of the wall. We found the ice ax on the 26th and used it to free the tent from the snow. We did not move the skis on the 26th. But in a photo taken the next day and attributed to Brusnitsyn, these skis are next to the front and back stands of the tent. We did not move the skis there and it is not clear to us who did it. Moreover, Brusnitsyn on the 27th could not have taken take this picture, since he was at the base camp on the other side of the pass.

M.P.: And finally, I will tell you the wishes of one of the group members: "I find Mihail Petrovich Sharavin to be a very sincere and straightforward person. I like him, there is something touching in him. Wish him good health and many years ahead!"

M.Sharavin: Thank you for your time!

* * *

The end.

And who listened - well done.

© M.P.
Published 14/11/2013, Updated 01/03/2015


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