Victims and Case Files > Witness Testimonies

Interview with Nurse Pelageya Ivanovna

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I'm reading this interview ( for the first time.  It's rather confusing because I don't quite understand the roles of the persons involved.  Could someone please enlighten me?

Who is this Victor Konstantinovitch and why does he do so much talking if the interview is supposed to be with nurse Pelageya Ivanovna?  Does she need an interpreter?  Is he her caretaker?  When she is asked the first question, before she can answer, he interrupts, "You know, she can be mistaken, her memory is not the same ... But I remember them." Why does he prime the interviewers to discount what she says?  He seems to interrupt a lot and answer by reporting what he's read rather than what he saw.

There seem to be at least two people doing the questioning:  NAVIG and Tuapse.  Are they working together?  Do they represent two different groups that have just decided to share the interview time with Pelageya Ivanovna?  They sometimes seem to be working at odds with each other, pursuing different questions before she has a chance to answer the first.

If there is already a place where all this is discussed, could someone please just post the link?  Thanks!

Ha. Exactly a year later, by coincidence.

Anyway, in case anyone is confused like I was, I've learned that Victor Konstantinovitch was her husband.  I surmise that he did so much of the talking because he enjoyed the sound of his own voice, had developed a habit of taking care of Pelageya and sort of filtering her life for her as she aged (like a "helicopter mom"), and because he was enthusiastically eager to help solve the DPI mystery.

Pelageya Ivanovna seemed certain of a few things:
1)At the time of the Dyatlov tragedy, several young people were brought into the morgue in "batches" (3 at a time) and she was called to help Prudkov deal with them. 
2) She washed the bodies while Prudkov examined & described them ("describe" = make notes, I suppose).
3) No autopsies were done on these bodies.
4) The bodies were very dirty.  One girl had burned hair on one side of her head, and a burned sleeve, and a little burning on her foot.
5) After the bodies were clean and described, they were dressed in new clothes which had been bought for them, and then put into caskets.  From the morgue, they were immediately sent to Sverdlovsk for burial.

The body count is a little questionable: In the interview she says eleven, and her husband confirms that some years earlier she had told authorities that there were eleven.  In a 2006 letter to Yuri Yudin, she seems to indicate that there were 9 (three groups of three), but perhaps I have misunderstood her writing.  In the interview she says that there were six brought in first, and a girl was part of the group.  Then a second girl was brought in with others a few days later.  She is firm that it was only a few days, not a month or more.

Personally, I believe she is telling the truth and that she remembers enough to be accurate in these statements.  Her stubborn repetition reminds me of talking to my grandmother when she was in her 90s.  She told me her mother's maiden name and how to spell it.  I thought she couldn't possibly be right, because the spelling didn't match the pronunciation.  Later, I found the marriage license with the spelling exactly like she said, and talked with other old-timers who pronounced it the same.

So what are your thoughts?  Was her mind wandering completely?  Were the autopsies invented?  Were there other bodies found about the same time? 

I reread this today and reread all the links. I believe the nurse when she is describing the groupings and the time. I was very surprised at some of the things she said.
She kept saying how dirty the bodies were, yet it must have still been in the dead of the Siberian winter, if anything they should have been had windswept, ice clean bodies. The photos taken of the SAR groups finding and digging up the frozen corpses, they all looked clean. My question is why would she clean the bodies and dress them and then watch them put into the zinc coffins for a flight to Sverdlovsk?
Was there some communication by the local doctor with some other chain of command representative that forced the local doctor to go back and perform actual autopsies with appointed onlookers, on the Dyatlov Pass hikers?

She is sure about number of the grouping and the females.

Exactly: Why would she?

It seems to me that if we accept her statements as true, then either these bodies weren't the Dyatlov 9, or the autopsies are fabrications.

The autopsies describe the clothing that the bodies were wearing, piece by piece and layer by layer, then the external condition of the bodies, then the internal condition of the bodies. The problem is that Nurse Solter washed and dressed the bodies in clean clothes.  She specifically states that the bodies were in one piece, whole, so she didn't wash them after the autopsies.  And if the autopsies are plain and simple truth, she didn't wash them before, either.

The bodies were described in their frozen positions first.  If they were described from observing in person, then there would have to be a wait after that first series of observations while the bodies thawed and the clothing could be examined and carefully removed.  It MAY be that Prudkov wrote the descriptions of the clothing and external states of the bodies and then the internal examinations were done later, after they were washed.  That would mean that the autopsies were written in phases, and there was no indication of that in the case files that I can find, but perhaps it wasn't deemed important.

Even then, I see no reason to go out and purchase burial clothes & dress the corpses if they will just be going on to be autopsied.

But even if we overlook this problem, there are still several others:
-No where in the autopsies is there mention of a female with singed/burned hair or head, which Nurse Solter describes.
-She states that the second female was brought in a few days later; she rejects the idea that it was several weeks or months later.
-She washed the corpses and says that they were all whole.  If she did indeed wash the two Dyatlov females, there is no way on earth someone would wash the face of poor Lyuda and describe it as whole.  If one washes a body whose face is half missing, it's the missing face, not the dirt on the missing face that one remembers.

And yet we have the photos, so someone was missing a face.

ETA: Besides, when bodies are in the state of decomposition that the Rav 4 were in, you wouldn't be washing them at all or you'd "wash off" the skin and hair.

Nigel Evans:
Well the rav4 would have been very dirty..
Just to add to the confusion, Zinaida's autopsy states :-
"on the head is a red wool hat tied at the chin with a bow. Under the hat is a blue knitted hat attached to the hair with a clip.".
"On the head is dark blond hair tied in two braids connected with two red silk ribbons.".



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