July 01, 2022, 04:35:13 AM
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Author Topic: The murder of Serguey Kolevatov in Tavda and its collateral damages  (Read 161 times)

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June 27, 2022, 05:34:31 AM
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In that last hypothesis of mine, the case begins in 1944, when Serguey Kolevatov, the father of Aleksander Kolevatov was murdered in Tavda:

They live​d​ in ​a ​private house​ in the center of Sverdlovsk, his father had a very good position - financial director (главный бухгалтер) of some factories. The people like his father will have been killed first in 1937. ​His father ​was not, in 1938 he moved to Gulag as a financial director of one of the factories in Tavda. ​The whole family moved to this place too. (…) 1941 - war started. Th​e camp in​ the​ Gulag where Kolevatovs stay became on of the first camp​s​ for German​s and one of the most horrible ​ones. (...) At least they had food enough ​to​ survive. Suddenly everything crashed​. His father was found dead on the railway line killed by a train. No investigation of his death has been done.

In (1939?) he was assigned to hydrolysis plant in Tavda to work as a senior accountant. There are unconfirmed reports that he worked at plywood mill in Tavda during the war. He died in 1944, hit by train.

There was corruption in the gulag administration, senior officers diverted a part of the factories budgets to their personal profit, money that was supposed to be used to house, cloth, heat and feed mobilized workers (a different category of workers from zeks), and even maybe a part of these Uzbek and Tadjik workers' salaries. The planned expenses to maintain the mobilized workers were not realized, they spent less money for the mobilized workers they should have, they didn't spend more than for zeks. They asked the senior accountants to issue fake invoices and/or falsify the books of accounts in order to hide this difference. In January 1944, the director of the Verkhniaia Tavda woodworking plant was expelled from his position "for criminal, provocative attitude towards the workers", expelled from the CPSU and dragged before the courts. A number of local officials were dismissed at the same time as him. In Tavda, Kolevatov’s father was killed because as the senior accountant of one of the factories, he was involved in these embezzlement practices and because he testified or was about to testify against officials under investigation. There were tens of thousands of mobilized workers, the scale of the embezzlement was big with a lot of money at stake. So one evening, an unknown man we call N.N. who was also involved in this large criminal scheme came at the Kolevatovs’ and left with the father who would never to be seen alive again. That evening, Sacha Kolevatov was 10 years old, he saw the man at the door and his father leaving with him in the night.

Years later, Sacha Kolevatov became a young man, he was hiking with his friends in the Urals. And then, the group took the wrong turn, not at District 41, but at Serov railway station:

January 24
7.00 (am) We arrived in Serov (town). (...). They didn't allow us into the building. The policeman stares at us suspiciously. There is no crime or vandalism in the city, as it suppose to be in times of communism. And then Yuri Krivo started a song, the cops grabbed him and took him away. At the attention of citizen Krivonischenko, sergeant explained that the rules of §3 prohibited all activity that would disturb the peace of passengers. It is perhaps the only train station where the songs are forbidden, so we stayed without singing. (Yudin)

January 25
Once Yuri Kriv was taken to the police station. He wanted to raise money for candy. It was funny. Then on the train Serov-Ivdel reached Ivdel (Kolmogorova)

January 24 
We arrived in Serov very early. We were not allowed in the station with the backpacks. We settled nearby the station. (...) There was one small incident - Yurka K. was taken by the police charging him with deception. Our hero decided to walk around the station handing a cap for change after singing a song. Yuri had to be rescued. (Dubinina)

Krivonishenko was taken to the nearby police station, he was asked his ID by the sergeant and he said he was the son of the "Chief Construction Engineer of the Beloyarski Hydro-Electro Station". Thus, the sergeant called his boss who had a meeting in his office with a friend, both the chief of police and his friend came to see Krivonishenko. At this moment, Kolevatov arrived to "rescue" Krivonishenko, he was  asked his ID too. And then, when the name of "Alexander Sergueevich Kolevatov" was pronounced, the other man raised his head and asked: "The son of Serguey Kolevatov from Tavda?" And then Sacha Kolevatov understood that the man who killed his father in Tavda was in front of him. Kolevatov was 10 years old at that time and he had confused memories but in front of the man, he remembered everything, and from now he knew his name. At that moment when Sacha Kolevatov met with N.N. at the police station, the fate of the group was sealed.

And it happened here, at No. 4 on October Revolution Street, in one of the rooms of the old Serov police station:

Because N.N. left in 1944 a 10 years old orphan in Tavda, and he met in 1959 in Serov with a 26 years old man, member of Komsomol, college graduate, living an working in Moscow city center and befriending with Nomenklatura's offspring... he could not miss his chance to immediately dispose of Kolevatov. Because these low rank chiefs were notabilities in their shitholes, but they were nobodies in Moscow. In any country, you're somebody when you are lieutenant in a remote garrison, and nobody if you come as a lieutenant to MOD headquarters in the capital. Thus, N.N. had to dispose of Kolevatov before he could gain any more power, connections, influence, that is to say as soon as possible, immediately, when Kolevatov was still walking on his grounds. N.N. left a 10 years old orphan in Tavda, in the heart of darkness, when Gulag officers were absolute masters and when a life was worth nothing, and he met again with a young Moscovite engineer in de-Stalinization era... N.N. had to make his move now, or else he was lost.

Sacha Kolevatov in Serov on Jan. 24, dark, very dark mood, close to Serov Memorial (Lenin Street): maybe just after the sad encounter at the police station:

But whatever the interaction at Serov police station, it was just required that N.N. believed he had been recognized by Kolevatov and therefore thought he was under the threat of a denunciation.

So, Krivonishenko and his friends were released, they continued their journey to the mountains. Maybe Sacha Kolevatov wrote about the encounter in his diary. And in their back, N.N. and his accomplices were organizing the silencing of the witness of Serguey Kolevatov’s murder.

N.N., the friend of the chief of police, was not a student or a logger, he was a senior executive in some position and he had connections with people of equal rank. With Ivan Vlasov for exemple, who was hunting with Stepan Kurikov, the godfather of the Mansi  :

The second hunter from the left was Ivan Alekseevich Vlasov:

VLASOV Ivan Alekseevich was born in 1922 in Ivdel; 7th grade education, ch. CPSU, Russian. In 1959 - captain of military unit 6602; lived in the city of Ivdel, Mekhanoshina, 20. A participant in search operations as part of the group of capt. Chernyshev on February 26-27 in the area of ​​Gumpkopay; until 10.03 - in the area of ​​height 1079. In 1941 he was drafted into the army. He served in the 1st training rifle battalion of the 42nd reserve rifle regiment of the 15th reserve rifle division of the Southwestern Front.Since 1942 - in the 149th special brigade of the 8th Guards Rifle Corps, senior lieutenant. Demobilized in October 1945. In 1953 - senior lieutenant, head of the combat training department of the headquarters of the VSO (military rifle guard) of Ivdellag. On 06/17/1953, when Ivdellag was transferred to the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a recommendation was made "in order to improve camp work and restore order in the guards - to remove the head of the combat training department, senior lieutenant of the internal service Vlasov. Ivdellag does not have a reserve for replacement." He retired in 1970 with the rank of major. Sportsman; was fond of skiing, shooting, football.

The camp did not have the expected production because a part of the production was diverted and order in the guards was bad because they were bribered to ease the diversion. That his to say, when he decided to eliminate Kolevatov, N.N. could ask Ivan Vaslov some help and go directly to Stepan Kurikov to provide his team with reindeers and sleds without even having to give a motive:

KURIKOV Stepan Nikolaevich - in 1959 - a hunter; lived in the village of Suevat Paul. Member of the Kurikov-Nevolin search group 23.02-3.03. Participant of search works 25.04-6.05. Born in 1898 in Suevat Paul. Since 1942 he was elected foreman of the hunting brigade of Suevat-Paul. In 1947 elected a deputy of the Sverdlovsk Regional Council; in 1950 elected a deputy of the Ivdel City Council for the Burmantov constituency. In 1953, he was elected chairman of the primary organization of DOSAAF in the village of Suevat Paul. He was awarded the medal "For Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945", the badge "Excellence in hunting". Brother of G.N.Kurikov; was married to the sister of N.V. Anyamova. Children: Nina (1934gr), Nikolay (1937gr), Anatoly (1942gr)

There was a network of local senior officers and notabilities, corrupted, who were socializing and making illegal profit at the expense of the Soviet administration.

And in Ivdel region, people of the same criminal nebula often filled the senior positions:

Occupation: Chief of preparatory work in 8th forestry district.
Lived in Ivdel.
Criminal record: conviction under art. 162 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR in 1943 to 5 years in labor camp (note: grand larceny at his workplace)

RYAZHNEV Georgy Ivanovich
Head of the 1st forest area of ​​the energy forestry plant;
Lived in the 41st quarter.
According to unconfirmed information: he was convicted while serving in the Far East. He served his term in Ivdellag, where he remained to live and work after his release. In UD passes, as "not judged." Documents are known according to which in 1945 he was a candidate or a member of the CPSU (b), although according to the protocols of 1959 he is listed as non-partisan. It is possible that by 1959 he was expelled from the party.
(There is also a fragmentary account about Ryazhnev at the beginning of Yudin's diary: Accountant Shalashov. Ryazhnev receives money for Suslov Tatiana ?? Fyodorovna ?? Polikarpovna her assigned disability pension once, when there was a change of accountants = 315 rubles and so RUR 50 and then not at all now give the (???) iceberg for (???) have to fight a few facts-those.)

Ryazhnev, we can see him on this photo :

And also on this photo (left), younger, with an unknown blond man who seems to be the same man first on the right on the previous hunting souvenir photo with Stepan Kurikov and Ivan Vaslov:

and the same unknown blond man handling the rifle and the axe on this other photo with Cheglakov. That unknown blond man appears on photos with Vlasov (Head of the combat training department of the headquarters of the VSO of Ivdellag) and Kurikov (Chairman of the primary organization of DOSAAF), with Ryazhnev (Head of the 1st forest area of ​​the energy forestry plan), with Cheglakov (Chief of the ОВПК of Vizhay Forestry): he certainly was another local executive, maybe was he Krasnobaev himself. And maybe Ryazhnev was the first man on the left on hunting photo souvenir with Vlasov, Kurikov and unknown blond man. All these small chiefs knew each other and were sharing pleasures, connections, interests... The shitty "elite" of nowhere in the Urals slopes took down the rising young Russian elite of the time... it was a kind of return back to Stalinism, an echo of the darkest years of Stalinism.

Serguey Kolevatov was a senior "accountant" in a work camp and murdered, Krasnobaev was convicted for "grand larceny at workplace", Vlasov was removed to "improve camp work"... it was all about organized theft by low rank executives in the Gulag.

And given the number of former convicts everywhere in the hierarchy of District 41, Vizhay and Ivdel, it was easy for the murderers to collect precise intelligence about the hikers’ intended route. They went directly to Stepan Kurikov, got the reindeers and followed a route to Kholyat Syakhl. Maybe coming from the North on Lovza river and turning right in Auspiya valley:

On the basis of the questions asked, I clarified that in January-March, in 1959, I never saw hikers anywhere. And only saw tracks of hikers - on the road there were tracks of narrow skis. How many people could not be determined. I saw tracks on the Lozva river 1,5 - 2 km above Auspiya. The tracks were going towards Auspiya river, and then to the Urals Mountains. I can not tell the exact date when I saw the tracks, but it was at the end of January or early February 1959. Tracks were swept up on clear places, and in the forest powdered with snow. I went skiing, together with me were three more people. Anyamov Andrey (same name as mine) Alekseevich, my nephew, Anyamov Nikolay Pavlovich, another od my nephews, and Mansi Tseskin Konstantin. On the hunt, the four of us left the village of Suevat-Paul and hunted in the woods around the Auspiya. Russian hikers are nowhere to be seen. When we hunted it was good weather, and also there were bad days. Especially for two days there was a strong wind and snow. During a strong wind we were in the forest. The tracks of hikers we saw all four Mansi. Footprints went in the direction of the mountains, but we did not follow these tracks. When we hunted in the woods around the Auspiya, they saw tracks of moose, wolves and wolverines. We did not see or tracks from fire or hear any voices of people during the hunt. (Anyamov Andrey Aleekseevich)

The murderers didn’t come from District 41 but from the North. So they set up their ambush at the Pass and killed all hikers, all of them if Kolevatov ever spoke to his friends about his meeting with N.N. and to hide the particular death of Kolevatov in the quantity of mass murder.

And the Den and the fire at the Cedar were made by the attackers, not by the hikers. The Den and the Cedar were precisely on the intended route of the hikers and it was not by chance. The attackers were waiting for the hikers on their intended route.

I think the impatience of the hikers to end the unpleasant night without stove, in moist and cold, forced the attackers to act before dawn. The event took place in the very last minutes of the night, when they still had to use torches for light, just minutes before the sky cleared up at the horizon in the east. Maybe the attackers discovered at the last moment that the hikers' tent was on the slope on their right... maybe they were still expecting to harvest the hikers in the morning, at the end of their alpine ride from the pass, and were alerted at some time with the torches. The action began at the very end of the night and ended at dawn in early morning, maybe before sunrise.

So the attackers were waiting for dawn at the Den and expecting to see the tourists skiing down from the pass right into their ambush but in the very last hours of the night they saw torches upside on the slope and they understood that the tourist were already on their side of the ridge. In the tent they did not sleep well because of the stove not in use and the cold, two of the tourists were already outside the tent with torches and had a pee. Inside, Slobodin was awake and getting ready to exit, the others were not sleeping. That was the kind of night when you are impatient to begin the day, to eat, drink hot coffee, to move, go on... rather than to wait, awake and feeling miserable, in a cold and moist blanket. Two or three of the attackers climbed the slope and reached the tent, and at the Cedar, the remaining ones saw to lights of the torches moving in a frantic way, they understood the group was captured. Then the captured tourists and attackers came back at the Cedar. They stayed some time around the fire, and they began to take the first tourists, one by one, to the Ravine. And no time to pull a camera and take photos in the dark. Anyway the tourists never met with their attackers before, except if N.N. was part of the ambush: Krivonishenko and Kolevatov just saw N.N. for a few minutes at Serov police station and they couldn't take a photo of him. The cameras were not a threat for the attackers (but Kolevatov's diary was).

The attackers threatened the tourists and pushed them at gunpoint to the Cedar. They had them seated by the fire and took them one by one to the Ravine for the killing in the creek (Zolotaryov, Dubinina and Kolevatov) and blow of blunt butt of axe at the head (Thibeaux-Brignolle).

These ones were killed IN the creek, either with boulders or by foot kick. IN the creek because if you want to cause the most serious damage, fatal damage, you have to place your target on a hard background (not on a smooth layer of fresh snow), like between the hammer and the anvil:

the hikers were laid down on the hard rocks of the creek and their bones were crushed.

Then three of the hikers waiting at the Cedar tried to escape, the ones who had metacarpophalangeal joints injuries, two were at their limits and just agonized on the slope (Dyatlov and Kolmogorova) and Slobodin was finished off with the blow of the blunt butt of an axe at the head. All the strongest blows were made by the attackers aiming at the vital organs, as we can see according to fractures positions on the victims' bodies:

And Krivonishenko and Doroshenko were the last to die.

The attackers avoided to use their guns and had to push their captives to the forest because they knew the region was not at all a desert, it was full of Mansi people always passing, for hunting, for herding reindeers (and because the bullets origin could be incriminating). They specially wanted to avoid Mansi belonging to other clans than the Kurikovs: Anyamovs and Bahtyarovs. When Mansi gave their testimonies, some said : The hikers themselves we did not see or hear and we were hunting and we did not hear any human voices... They killed the hikers under the cover of the forest.

The hikers were killed and also brutalized because the attackers expected to find 10 hikers and Yudin was missing: they were hit until the attackers were convinced that Yudin actually left the group because of his leg and above all because they wanted to know if Kolevatov spoke about the encounter at Serov. Thus there are three kinds of wounds, the ones from the interrogatory (bruises, eyes missing, burns, etc.), the defensives ones (metacarpophalangeal joints injuries) and the fatal ones.

When the bodies were discovered, Stepan Kurikov panicked as he understood that his reindeers where used in the murderous action, at first he went to the police with the story of the "Five Ostyaks" or he sent his brother Grigoriy :

The witness testified: At the beginning of March 1959 I was in the police station and during this time there was a conversation that the hikers were killed. In the duty room sat one Mansi, I do not know his name, but they said that it was Kurikov, but what was his name - I do not know. Kurikov was asked how the hikers could have died. Kurikov said that near the holy mountain, where this mountain is located, he didn't say, there live five Ostyaks. They are like savages, they are not friends with Mansi or with Russian people. They never come to Ivdel. And these Ostyaks could kill the hikers because they wanted to ascend the holy mountain or because they thought that hikers could kill their deer and moose, which they feed on. Kurikov expressed only his own assumptions, but what really happened he, Kurikov, couldn't say. Kurikov saw these Ostyak savages some years ago. Kurikov didn't know where the holy mountain is. I emphasize that Kurikov expressed his own supposition. He said this since we had a conversation about the dead hikers and asked Mansi Kurikov how it could have happened. Militiaman Panov was present when this conversation took place. (Gorbushin Artemiy Vladimirovich)

But then he was coached by the men involved in the murder, they gave him order to stop the bullshitting and to keep quiet, and anyway he was not interrogated by the investigators. His brother later denied the story:

About the fact that near the sacred place there live five Mansi or any people, and that they are afraid of Mansi, I personally did not say any such thing, that includes the police. There are no Mansi people who do not go to Ivdel. There were no outsiders in the area, that Mansi did not know about. We would have known about strangers, that is, because Mansi hunt and would have met them (Kurikov Grigoriy Nikolaevich)

A few days after the killing, the attackers had their informers Venediktov and Velikyavichus removed from District 41:

Venediktov (...)  not at the 41 district anymore, the former resigned and left, (…) Nowadays Velikevichius doesn't live in 41st district anymore, he resigned and left. (Ryazhnev Georgiy Ivanovich)

Venediktov and Velikyavichus were propably asked to delay the departure of the hikers. Yudin who decided to leave the group on Jan. 27 was probably incited by Venediktov to explore the minerals at Northern 2 on Jan. 28: removing a horse from Velikevichius's sledge, offering a day off to the loggers to socialize with the hikers, adding a wounded hiker to the group and an extra activity at Northern 2... that is to say buying time for the murderers to set up their ambush. And maybe that's why:

Yudin didn't believe that the cause of the death of his friends was a natural disaster,

he understood that something was wrong and in his testimony, fearing for his life, he tried to hide the fact that he was incited to join the hikers to Northern 2:

- Yudin said in his April 15, 1959 testimony:

In the evening of January 27, 1959 we arrived in the village Second North, where we spent a night in an abandoned hut. My leg began hurting, I could not participate in the campaign, so on January 28, 1959 I left Second North and returned to Ivdel.

but Dubinina wrote at District 41:

Now we sit and wait for the horse to carry the backpacks, and we go on skis. (...) Yuri Yudin got sick, something with a nerve of his leg, in general he has radiculitis and he is going home. (...) At the moment we are sitting and singing songs. (Dubinina, Jan 27)

Dubinina's diary contradicts Yudin's testimony that his leg began to hurt once arrived at Northern 2.

-Yudin said in his 1959 testimony:

In the evening of January 27, 1959 we arrived in the village Second North, where spent a night in an abandoned hut. My leg began hurting, I could not participate in the campaign, so on January 28, 1959 I left Second North and returned to Ivdel.

but Dubinina wrote at District 41:

Now we sit and wait for the horse to carry the backpacks, and we go on skis. (...) Yuri Yudin got sick, something with a nerve of his leg, in general he has radiculitis and he is going home. (...) At the moment we are sitting and singing songs. (Dubinina, Jan 27)

and Kolmogorova wrote at District 41:

Yes, Yura Yudin is leaving us today. His sciatic nerves inflamed again and he is leaving. Such a pity. Such a pity. We distributed his load in our backpacks. (Kolmogorova, Jan 27)

and had to write a second time at Northern 2:

Uncle Slava is leaving today on his horse, and Yura Yudin is leaving too. (Kolmogorova, Jan 28)

Dubinina's and Kolmogorova's diaries contradict Yudin's testimony that the decision to leave was made after arrival at Northern 2.

Kolmogorova's two successive accounts of "Yudin is leaving us today" on Jan 27 and Jan 28 means that something made Yudin change his mind and go to Northern 2 in contradiction with his first decision.

Timeline of the delays at District 41 and Northern 2:

Jan 27 - District 41 Scheduled Departure 10:00

Jan 27 - District 41 Actual Departure 16:00

Jan 27 - Northern 2 Arrival 23:00 (7 hours long)

Jan 28 - Northern 2 Wake up 08:00

Jan 28 - Northern 2 Departure (Slava) 10:00

Jan 28 - Northern 2 (Yudin) Departure 11:45

Jan 28 - Northern 2 (Group) Departure 11:45

Jan 28 - District 41 Arrival (Slava) 15:00  (5 hours long)

Jan 28 - District 41 Arrival (Yudin) before 17:00 (5 hours long)

Kolmogorova wrote in her diary at Northern 2:

It's time to go out, but they are still digging and digging. I do not understand what's taking so long. The first 30 minutes are over. (Kolmogorova, Jan 28)

In that morning, Yudin's desire to collect geological samples was causing a more than 30 minutes delay before 10:00. The hikers were ready to go as Zina wrote and were waiting for Yudin, Doroshenko and Thibeaux to return. We know that they returned before 10:00 because Valyukyavichus left at this time with the core sample in his sledge. Then there is another 1:45 delay as the group finally departed at 11:45. The tourist lost 6 hours at District 41 because of Valyukyavichus' hay, 2 hours because of the one slow horse, and more than 2:15 hours at Northern 2 because of Yudin's pyrite. That is 10 hours 15 minutes in all.

And by the way, according to this Hierarchical gradient of information loss, we can understand that it was at the level of Ryazhnev that things took an abnormal path:

January 28, 1959 morning, worker Velikyavichus Stanislav was sent to 2-North mine with two horses pulling a sled on iron pipes. These draft horses transported hikers equipment.  On January 29, in the barracks of the 41st district I met worker Velikyavichus who led the sled. I asked him how did they get there. He replied that they arrived safely. (Dryahlyh Mihail Timofeevich)

On January 27 I was approached by a man and a woman and asked if I can provide a horse to carry their things and products to the 2nd North mine, which is located 22 km from 41st district. I gave them a horse and a carter Velyukyavichus Stanislav Aleksandrovich. On January 28, 1958 at about 10 am, they left with him to the 2nd North mine. (Ryazhnev Georgiy Ivanovich)

At the direction of the chief of the section, Comrade Razhnev, I accompanied these hikers to 2nd North village they went on skis and I transported their backpacks on a sled. We arrived at the village of the 2nd North at eleven o'clock in the evening, where at that time in the village there was no one of the citizens and in general no one lived there. (Valyukyavichus Stanislav Aleksandrovich)

The lads made a deal with the locals for a horse to drive us to Second North settlement. But it will be about 24 km from the 41st Settlement. We helped Uncle Slava unload hay from a carriage and waited for the horse (it went to get more hay and wood). We waited until 4:00 PM. (...) Horse is slow. (...) It's getting dark. The horse is causing the delay. (Doroshenko in Group's diary)

At the highest level of hierarchy, Dryahlyh thought the tourists were allowed "two horses pulling a sled on iron pipes", he checked with Valyukyavichus if they arrived safely. At a lower level of hierarchy, with Ryazhnev, we learn that in reality, they were only allowed one horse and that they left at 10:00. At the lowest level, the one of the man who led the horse, we completely forget about the number of horses and hour of departure. And in Group's diary we learn that in reality the tourists left at 16:00, not 10:00.

They were supposed to leave at 10:00 with 2 horses, with a sled on iron pipes, they actually left at 16:00 with only one and slow horse, and with a smaller sled on wooden skates. And the hikers lost more than 10 hours in all.

Venediktov and Velikyavichus were dismissed or they resigned and fled on their own when they understood that the request to delay the hikers' departure was related to their death.

And the attackers even joined the search party, they stole Kolevatov’s diary where was written the name of his father's murderer:

The second diary belonged to Kolevatov, but it was never recovered. It is presumed lost or stolen by an unknown person.

Ivan Vlasov would have been the perfect candidate for the job:

He is the third man from the left, at the back, just a few steps from Stepan Kurikov, and not far from Cheglakov who was further on the right. And according to radiograms:

Sheet 175
Snowstorm x with snow lasted all day tchk Wind beyond the pass to 25 meters visibility 5-8 points Search went on and on. The group of captain Vlasov carefully examined the valley of the stream in the sources of which - - - - - - - - there was an accident of the Dyatlov group. The group reached Lozvy tchk No traces of xxxxxx Dyatlov is found.

If any evidence was left behind, Ivan Vlasov was on site to do the cleansing, with Cheglakov himself. Because the murderers had to manage two unforeseen events:

1. The deviation from the intended route (the ambush was set up on the intended route, the tent was on a deviation route but the hikers actually died on the intended route).

2. The presence of diaries. N.N. was receiving reports from the investigation and when he learned about the diaries, it was a hazard to deal with in emergency. We can imagine the following dialogues: "- What is the outcome? - All down and Kolevatov didn't speak to the others. - Good!" and later: "- But they have found diaries. - What diaries? - These precious youngsters from the cities, they write about their thoughts and their feeling, all their ****, in diaries..." The murderers were older men, not of the same generation, and with lower education, they could not represent to themselves what was the life of the graduates from UPI, and the mission order was just: "Avoid the Bhatyarovs and Anyamovs, check if Kolevatov leaked any information, kill all of them, leave no bullets." Thus they had to recover Kolevatov's diary and they did it successfully.

Later, they finally killed Procopiy Anyamov who was about to talk to the police:

KURIKOV Nikolai Stepanovich (born 1937) - son from the first wife of S.N. Kurikov. He lived in the village of Suevat-Paul. In the early 60s, he accidentally killed P.V. Anyamov, brother of N.V. Anyamov, while hunting. Sentenced to one year probation.

Because Anyamov clan was not as rotten as Kurikov clan under the rule of ambitious godfather Stepan Kurikov.


So, there would be 11 victims in the case: Serguey Kolevatov (1944), Alexander Kolevatov and his 8 friends (1959), Procopiy Anyamov (1961).

These 11 murders were committed on the background of millions of murders committed during WWII and in the Gulag. They were a drop in an ocean of violent death. And the case of the 9 hikers was itself the cover up of the previous Serguey Kolevatov's murder. And the death of Procopiy Anyamov was the ultimate collateral damage.

The most fatal aspect for the young hikers was to disturb the activities of senior officers, not very high ranking KGB and Military, but local chiefs who had just enough power and all means of action at their disposal at a local level, who were all "head" of some small department and had criminal records for most of them, sort of local and mediocre mobsters or warlords, and thus the hikers had no way out, they were doomed.

And in the present hypothesis, there was a last character who could have played a role:

PRODANOV Ivan Stepanovich (Проданов Иван Степанович) (1906-1964) in 1959 - 1st secretary of the city party committee in Ivdel; head of the operational search team (Ivdel) from Mar 13. Born into a family of peasants in the village of St. Burassy, Bazarno-Karabulaksky district, Saratov region in 1906. Father - a collective farmer, died in 1953. Russian. Graduated from the Forestry Institute (Sverdlovsk) in 1936 with a degree in forestry land transport. 1920 to 1924 -a shepherd for hire; 1924-1928 - chairman of the village committee for peasant mutual assistance, secretary of the Komsomol cell; 1928-1930 - Red Army soldier with 24th separate horse-artillery division (Novgorod district). 1930-1936 - studies at the Ural Forestry Institute (Sverdlovsk). After graduating from the institute in 1936-38, the technical manager of the forestry unit in the Sverdlovsk region. From 1938 to 1942 technical manager, the head of the production division of the VostUralLag of the NKVD (Fabrichniy,Tavda). Since 1942 party work VCP(b). Candidate for membership in the VCP(b) from 1928; member of VCP(b) since 1929. Secretary for Industry, Secretary of the CC of VCP(b) in Turinsk (from 1942) and N. Lyalya (from 1945). From Sep 11, 1952 to Jan 8, 1963 - 1st Secretary of the City Committee of the CPSU of Ivdel (party card №02218359). In March 1959 he was elected deputy at Ivdel City Council. He died in 1964, was buried in Ivdel.

We know for sure that Ivan Prodanov met at least twice with the Kolevatovs: first time in 1938 in Tavda with Serguey Kolevatov, second time in 1959 in Kohlyat Syakhl with dead Alexander Kolevatov. We just need to consider a third encounter, at Serov police station with alive Alexander Kolevatov to solve the case.

It is the most elegant solution. It is simple, beautiful, clear, meaningful, Occamian, realistic, grounded, harmonic, synthetic, whatever... We don't even have to connect the dots, the lines are already traced, we just have to answer the question: where could Kolevatov's and Prodanov's trajectories have cross again ? Answer is: at Serov police station.

On this sketch, all the names of persons and places written in black are proven facts, the only hypothetical part is the name written in grey.

To be precise, the succession of events is the following: in 1938, S. Kolevatov and Prodanov are appointed as senior accountant and head of production in Tavda where they are involved in an embezzlement scheme. In 1942, Prodanov is appointed at the nearby Turinsk. In 1944, there is a purge in Tavda: the director of the Verkhniaia Tavda woodworking and a number of officials are trialed and sentenced. Being in Turinsk at that time, Prodanov saves his head but S. Kolevatov is liquidated. Prodanov and the remaining corrupted who survived the purge were involved in the liquidation of S. Kolevatov. Years later, in 1959 in Serov, Prodanov meets again with A. Kolevatov, the son of S. Kolevatov, and he feels threatened by the reappearance of a witness of the Tavda events. With his friends, local corrupted executives, Prodanov organizes the liquidation of A. Kolevatov and the group of hikers. After their murder, Prodanov easily follows the progress of the investigation as he was himself a part of it, he recovers A. Kolevatov's diary and he locks the case. And finally, he goes in person at the crime scene, thereby closing the loop.


So that will be my last hypothesis. Tourists were killed by locals, not by young outcasts, but by senior officers involved in criminal activities, who had access to any means of action. There was a wrong turn at Serov and bad luck for Kolevatov and his friends. And I bet that this story will be easily liked as the good guys remain the good guys and the bad guys remain the bad guys, not disturbing interrogations about the dark sides of human nature.

In summary, the solution is in finding the good layer: loggers and outcasts are too low, KGB and Military graduates from MGIMO are too high... small chiefs and mediocre notabilities of small towns are the right layer. There was a higher level of authority, the one which removed Vlasov from his command at Ivdelag, fired and trialed the director of the Verkhniaia Tavda woodworking plant, punished Krasnobaev for "grand larceny at his workplace" and fired Ryazhnev from CPSU. The murderers operated in the shadow of the higher authority, at a lower level but not at the lowest. It meant many things: Serov and Ivdel rather than loggers' barrack and Mansi yurts, easy access to any means of action, authority over Venediktov, joining search party for crime scene cleansing. And when crossing this horizontal layer with the historical thread of the deaths of Serguey Kolevatov-Alexander Kolevatov and his friends-Procopiy Anyamov: that crossing gives the coordinates of Dyatlov's Pass and the name of Ivan Prodanov. And we have all answers to the questions: who, why, how? And the best possible answers, simple, rational, efficient...

Therefore all the missing clues and evidences are to be searched and found in Tavda, such a small town by the way, in the archives of the Tavda wood kombinat.

Tavda is the origin of the case, the key opening all doors of missing answers and the principle putting in order all data, evidences and events..

Finally, the protagonists of the drama had to face 4 contingencies or chances : the rescue of Krivonishenko at Serov police station, Yudin's departure because of his leg, the deviation of the hikers from the intended route, the unknown and unexpected presence of Kolevatov's diary in his backpack. That is to say, this hypothesis does not pretend to follow a sort of unrelenting equation of events. Most of the events happened according to the determined will of the protagonists but there was a small part left to chance... like life itself. The hikers met with many people on their journey: school children, truck drivers, steward lady from the train boiling water for the tea, bus drivers, police sergeant, loggers, young drunk man, all harmless people, low profile, but when Krivonishenko passed the door of the police station, and later Kolevatov, they entered the wolf den. It was the only place where they could collide with some kind of dangerous reality. Even though Ivan Prodanov lived in Ivdel, it was not in Ivdel that Kolevatov met with him, the hikers spent just a few hours there at night, sleeping in a corner at the railway station and getting their bus to Vizhay early in the morning. The wrong turn was really at Serov, when Kolevatov entered the police station to rescue Krivonishenko. Here, they left for some time the level of sergeants, bus drivers and stewards ladies, here they had the occasion to meet with dangerous individuals. Strangely, Krivonishenko almost dragged Kolevatov to Prodanov, when being taken to the police station and then when giving his name and the position of his father to the sergeant... they were like heading directly to Prodanov. After Tavda and before Kholyat Syakhl, Serov was the center of gravity, the fatal node of the case.

One of the contingencies was Yudin who escaped death because of his leg. For the murderers, it could have been a threat but at the Ravine the hikers were interrogated and it was established that Kolevatov kept the encounter at Serov to himself, and furthermore Yudin made a very short testimony, not saying a word about Kolevatov, not a word about Serov (though he mentioned Sverdlovsk, Ivdel, Vizhay, District 41 and Northern 2), even rewriting the timeline of the events in District 41 and Northern 2 to make them appear the more normal as possible, forgetting about the delay, and keeping low profile.


About cover up. The murder of the 9 hikers might have cause a conflict between different Soviet administrations: Gulag, KGB, Ministry of Justice, CPSU. The Gulag administration could have obtained the immunity of Prodanov, because of esprit de corps, because he was one of theirs, because they were bound to support each other after all the crimes in which they had all been involved. But later, after a few years, once the hustle and interest has passed, they could have punished him and discretely liquidated him, closing the case internally, once and for all. If such a thing happened, there were 12 murders in the case, from 1944 to 1964.


Out of this mess, the very figure I would like to remember in the end, is the one of NIKOLAY OGNEV, he who drove the murdered cook of the party from Man-Nyais to Ivdel on a reindeer team and buried her there... he who assumed the expiatory burden of all this evil and thereby was the one who found the way to become a "Person" as wrote Yudin:

Nikolay Ognev finally escaped the evil with the long journey from Man-Nyais to Ivdel, alone in the sledge with the murdered woman, a woman he was in love with, he reached here a different dimension, larger, worth of the best tragic and epic literature. That was the true escape: these miserable times were not supposed to allow such grandeur, but Nikolay Ognev transgressed the limits of the times. He rose to the height of an Antigone, to the heights of Greek tragedy and mythology... and he brought this forgotten grandeur to reality in the snow of the Northern Urals, with a reindeer and a sledge... he was truly an exceptional man.



Note: all lines written in italics are from available data and are proven facts.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:33:45 AM by Charles »
The following users thanked this post: Manti

June 28, 2022, 06:27:40 AM
Reply #1



1938, Tavda - Ivan Prodanov is appointed head of the wood production division of the VostUralLag of the NKVD in Tavda.

1938, Tavda - Serguey Kolevatov moved to Gulag as a senior accountant of one of the wood factories in Tavda.

1944, Jan. Tavda - The director of the Verkhniaia Tavda wood factory is expelled from his position "for criminal, provocative attitude towards the workers", expelled from the CPSU and dragged before the courts. A number of local officials are dismissed at the same time.

1944, Tavda - Serguey Kolevatov is killed in Tavda work camp complex. Alexander Kolevatov, 10 years old at the time, witnessed the man who took his father away.

1952, Ivdel - Ivan Prodanov becomes 1st Secretary of the City Committee of the CPSU of Ivdel.

1959, Jan. 24 Serov - While waiting for the train to Ivdel, Yuri Krivonishenko is causing trouble at railway station and is taken to the police station.

1959, Jan. 24 Serov - Alexander Kolevatov goes to police station to rescue Krivonishenko and there he meets again the murderer of his father and he recognizes him.

1959, Jan. 27 District 41 - Venediktov and Velikyavichus receive the order from Georgy Ryazhnev to delay the departure of the hikers. Yudin is supposed to leave the group at District 41 because of his leg but he finally makes a different decision.

1959, Jan. 28 District 41 - Yudin leaves the group at Northern 2.

1959, Feb. 2 Kholyat Syakhl - Alexander Kolevatov and the 8 hikers are murdered.

1959, Feb.-Mar. District 41 - Venediktov and Velikyavichus flee from District 41.

1959, Feb.-Mar. Kholyat Syakhl - Cheglakov and Vlasov are on the crime scene to do cleansing if needed and they steal Alexander Kolevatov's diary.

1959, Mar. 13 Kholyat Syakhl - Ivan Prodanov himself comes at the crime scene.

1959, Mar. Ivdel - Ivan Prodanov is elected deputy at Ivdel City Council.

1959, Apr. 15 Sverdlovsk - Yudin gives a testimony where all issues related to delay are omitted.

1961, Kholyat Syakhl surroundings - The son of Stepan Kurikov kills Procopiy Anyamov by gun shot.

1964, Ivdel - Ivan Prodanov dies in Ivdel at the age of 58.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 09:32:44 AM by Charles »

Today at 01:15:57 AM
Reply #2


What to search for and where to search for and find the ultimate evidences ?

- In TAVDA, in the archive of the woodworks kombinat, period 1938-1942: interactions between Prodanov and the Kolevatovs. (Also in Kolevatov family photo archive and any photo archive where S. Kolevatov and Prodanov could be seen together.)

- In TURINSK, in the archive of the VCP(b), day when S. Kolevatov was killed in 1944: record of a professional travel of Prodanov scheduled at Tavda.

- In IVDEL, in the archive of the CPSU, 1959, Jan. 24: record of a professional travel of Prodanov scheduled at Serov.

- In SEROV, in the archive of the police station, 1959, Jan. 24: record of the arrest and release of Krivonishenko and record of a meeting scheduled with Prodanov at the police station.

If archives are still available, I bet you'll find either the last forgotten clues or missing files and torn pages in the registers at the corresponding dates, which will have almost the same probative force given the context.

And that will be it, I stop here and go to sleep again at night instead of thinking about this case: the mystery is solved.
« Last Edit: Today at 03:14:24 AM by Charles »