- CASE FILES
Born on Jan. 29, 1938, Russian Federation
A student of radio engineering at UPI. He had an impulsive personality and was famous at the school’s hiking club for having run at a giant bear with a geologist’s hammer while on a camping trip. He was once involved in a relationship with Zina Kolmogorova and even met her parents in Kamensk-Urals. Although they broke up he kept a good relationship with her and Igor Dyatlov.
He was 21 years old when he died. Doroshenko is buried on March 9, 1959, in Mihaylovskoe cemetery, Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.
Yuri Doroshenko, a fellow student, the tallest in the group and sometimes pictured with glasses, came from a very poor family. He usually wore a jacket inadequate to protect him from the freezing temperatures of Sverdlovsk. Very reserved, the twenty-one-year old hardly talked to the beautiful Zina when they had been on a previous expedition to Eastern Sayany.
One day she was watching him putting up their tent on the edge of a forest when she noticed a large brown bear approaching. Zina let out a shout of alarm. In the next moment, she saw Yuri fearlessly advancing on the beast with only a geology hammer in his hand. He didn’t pursue the animal for long, but when he strode back to the camp it was the moment Zina fell in love with him. That night, they talked while making a campfire together. Doroshenko told her of his mother, who lived in Aktubinsk city in Kazakhstan, and who for several years had been saving money in order to buy him a warm coat. Zina told him of her home town, Kamensk-Uralsky and of her sister Tamara who was going to come over for New Year’s Eve. They laughed as Zina recalled how their friends had gathered together for the last New Year's Eve celebration, and how, although they only had two bottles of champagne for about 50 people, they still had fun all night. Following that conversation, the two often found themselves side by side, but neither Yuri nor Zina had any idea what an ‘expedition pick-up’ was. The girls routinely shared tents with the boys, and they would lay close to each other, talking. There was so much of life ahead, unexplored. When they got back to Sverdlovsk they started to date. Yuri once visited Zina’s home in Kamensk-Uralsky, where she introduced him to her family. He also had Zina’s pictures at his home. After a while, something went wrong in the relationship. It was over by the time the Dyatlov expedition started. It was apparently Yuri who initiated the break.
On the evening of January 26, Zina wrote:
"I put Yurka’s mittens on today, though I was reluctant to do so. But the guys told me I was wrong, and so I did put them on. Talking to each other. Just a bit."
When Doroschenko considerately offered Zina his mittens to warm her hands, she initially refused them, since he was no longer her boyfriend and she didn’t want any such care from him – a normal reaction from a Russian girl, who wants all or nothing from the man she still has in her heart. Her friends, however, made her aware that this kind of behavior was not appropriate on an expedition where personal matters shouldn’t affect one’s decisions. So she accepted the mittens and even tried to talk to him, though it was not easy for her.
Zina’s friend Valentina Tokareva shared a letter Zina wrote to her on the day of the expedition.
"My dearest Valya, here we are on our way to the expedition. Do you want a surprise? Yuri Doroshenko is coming with us. I really don’t know how I’ll feel. I relate to him like anyone else, but it’s really hard, because we are together and yet we’re not together."