September 23, 2021, 01:52:36 PM
Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: DPI noob  (Read 4445 times)

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February 17, 2021, 06:08:25 AM
Reply #30
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MDGross


That's my hope as well, sarapuk. I wonder what three or four exhumed bodies, should family members consent, might reveal. We could know if radiation was present in all the bodies. If Lyuda's body was exhumed, advanced forensic tests might give us an idea of how her injuries were sustained. I'm speaking with no knowledge on the subject, but other tests could surely bring other important facts to light.
 

February 17, 2021, 07:05:07 AM
Reply #31
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ash73


I think the radiation is a red herring. Two of the group worked with radioactive substances so could easily have contaminated clothing given the standards of the day, and it was a relatively low level only 2-3 times background; Occam's razor suggests why look any further?
 

February 17, 2021, 09:59:58 AM
Reply #32
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KFinn


I agree on the radiation most probably being a red herring.  However, exhuming and testing would allow us to then put the radiation to bed (if it isn't involved in their deaths,) and focus on other things, perhaps.  Kind of similar to why Ivanov got testimony to rule out the Mansi, so that they could then focus on other possibilities.  Not that we still don't question it, anyway, lol!

I know exhumation can be an emotional thing for families.  But, we seem to have learned quite a bit from Zolotaryev's exhumation.  I hate disturbing the dead but in this case it could be vital for the families/friends to get closure. 
-Ren
 

February 17, 2021, 12:16:12 PM
Reply #33
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Missi


ash, the fact, that the radiation could easily be washed out of the clothes plus the fact that the bodies had been lying in running water for quite some time before being found and the clothes tested for radiation implies, that in the beginning, that is the time when the tragedy occured, the radiation was much higher than measured.

As for exhumations, KFinn, there's for sure some aspects that might be learned from them, still. Yet I'd expect all the tissue to be gone by now, so there are things, we can't analyze anymore...
 

February 18, 2021, 05:59:16 PM
Reply #34
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ash73


I don't suspect the Mansi...

I've just finished reading Svetlana Oss - Dont Go There and I'm seriously reconsidering this assumption!

I thought "murderous Mansi" was too obvious, but it could be that simple:

- The two women weren't raped (unlikely to be the case with other perpetrators)
- Valuables in the tent weren't stolen (would not steal from sacred site)
- Vodka in the tent wasn't stolen (and Mansi searchers refused to drink it)
- Mansi Choom located just 800m from the tent (record of a kill or sacrifice)
- Other people who trespassed sacred sites had been killed in the past
- They lied about not hunting in the area
- They lied about the mountains not being a sacred site
- They wanted to discourage other hikers from using sacred sites
- They forbad women attending sacred sites
- They could have interpreted lights in the sky (meteor/rocket) as a portent
- They knew the exact place to dig for rav-4 (probably conceded the tourists would never leave otherwise)
- Mansi belt found at cedar is evidence they had been there
- They, unlike hikers, had the means to cut branches and make a den (& could have been observing the tent)
- Forceably driving hikers off the mountain would explain why they fled the tent unequipped
- Encounter with Mansi mentioned in the hikers diary (maybe they were warned but did not understand)
- As mentioned by others above, they had more opportunity than locals (equipment, skills, local knowledge)

I'm also suspicious about the testimony of the search team, some knew more than they let on and misled the authorities (particularly Ivan Pashin).

I think there were other things going on in the group, Zolotaryov was probably there to monitor Krivonischenko and possibly others, and there might even have been something going on with radioactive materials, but the authorities were satisfied once all the bodies were found that nobody had defected so just closed it down. Perhaps they did a deal with the Mansi they wouldn't be prosecuted if they told them where the bodies were. They probably wanted to avoid further trouble between Russians and the Mansi, so just banned hikers from the mountain.

Next book on my list is Keith **** - Mountain of the Dead.
 

February 18, 2021, 07:02:15 PM
Reply #35
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ash73


p.s. when I say Mansi I should distinguish Mansi and Khanty, but I don't know enough to do that yet... so I should probably just say "indigenous people".
 

February 18, 2021, 08:22:45 PM
Reply #36
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KFinn


There are some things that have been a bit...exaggerated through the years.  The Mansi didn't have any sacred areas near the ridge the Dyatlov group were on.  In fact, if you read the witness testimonies, the Mansi didn't use sacred places by 1959, according them and the the local historian who worked with them for fifty years (Uvarov, Ivan Evlampievich.) They also had no problems with women being in their spaces.  Russians in general were revered by them, and always invited into their huts for food and drink.  One of the other hiking groups out at the same time as Dyatlov stayed overnight with one of the Bahtiyarov family before continuing on their hike.  Uvarov even said that if a Mansi had killed the group, none of them would have participated in the search.

I do think they could have been involved with helping to stage a cover up if there had been an accident, but I am very doubtful they would have been violent against any Russian.  It is counter to their nature.  Now, I know much less about the Khanty, personally.  The only real mention I've seen of them in the Dyatlov case was in Oss's book. 
-Ren
 

February 19, 2021, 02:46:34 AM
Reply #37
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ash73


That's what I thought originally, but you're assuming their testimony is honest but the fact is people lie. There are several examples in the book where their behaviour, and words, are aggressive. I expect many Red Indian tribes were peaceful hunters but they reacted violently when they had to compete over land and resources; and Russian tourists were encroaching on Mansi territory.

You have to be careful not to judge them only as a group; every group has good and bad people. And I can imagine others who did not support what they did nevertheless would shield them. Participating in the search is the best way to influence it; whether it was locals, Mansi or military responsible they were all there. It could also be a form of atonement.
 

February 19, 2021, 05:04:51 AM
Reply #38
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Missi


As far as I have read (mostly on this site) there are no evidences for quite some time of Mansi attacking Russians at all. Not over territory, women "trespassing" or sacred grounds. When those things happened it was the Khanti involved. Yet (also as far as I read and remember) there are no Khanti and Khanti territories near enough the site of the tragedy that it could be attributed to them.

On the other hand (as KFinn says) there are evidences (not only their words) that Mansi acted peacefully towards Russians at that time.

That is for sure not a prove against anyone being involved. Of course, there might have been one special Mansi or maybe two or three, who were crazy or angry or whatever and because of that killed the group. That is about as probable as you stepping out of your house and being shot because you crossed someone. It can't be a general suspicion against a whole people.

I'd be interested in your sources when you state that the Mansi lied about the hunting and the mountains, though. Can you point me to them?
 

February 19, 2021, 08:36:08 AM
Reply #39
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KFinn


That's what I thought originally, but you're assuming their testimony is honest but the fact is people lie. There are several examples in the book where their behaviour, and words, are aggressive. I expect many Red Indian tribes were peaceful hunters but they reacted violently when they had to compete over land and resources; and Russian tourists were encroaching on Mansi territory.

You have to be careful not to judge them only as a group; every group has good and bad people. And I can imagine others who did not support what they did nevertheless would shield them. Participating in the search is the best way to influence it; whether it was locals, Mansi or military responsible they were all there. It could also be a form of atonement.

If I were just basing this on Mansi testimony, it might be different.  But I also gave you non Mansi who knew them well and testified that no, the Mansi were very peaceful (and still are to this day.)
-Ren
 

February 19, 2021, 09:21:00 AM
Reply #40
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KFinn


I will readily admit, Oss's book was one of the first I read on the DPI, when I ran out of stuff online.  I liked it but, every author has an agenda, that being their theory.  For Oss, she pushed heavily on the Mansi, for Wilkinson it was the stove, for Rakitin it was KGB and spies, for the Discovery channel it was Russian yeti.  Many of these were written without the benefit of all of the case files and interviews you can find on this site.  Every one of them should be read/watched with a critical eye and compared against the evidence we now have, and against other books and media.  Taken as a whole, we see two things emerge: 1. that many of the books we read give only a very biased piece of the puzzle and 2. that the more we read, the less answers we actually have, lol!

As to the Mansi, it is easy to blame what we think of as "others."  It's human nature, in fact.  But the Mansi, while living separately, were still integrated into the local culture.  Grigoriy Nikolaevich
Kurikov was the deputy of the Ivdel city counsel.  His brother, Stepan, was Deputy of the city legislative assembly of Ivdel.  Both were Mansi.  Both participated in the search and rescue.  There are many witness testimonies in the files from locals who outright said the Mansi were just not violent and had no ill will toward anyone. 

Coincidentally, there was at least one Khanty in the area, Hatanzeev, who worked at the 2nd Northern, or at least stayed in the guesthouse.  I find no other mentions of Khanty but now I'm just curious.
-Ren
 

February 19, 2021, 10:13:24 AM
Reply #41
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Missi


I somehow doubt that one single man could have managed to force 9 people from their tent. But it's worth looking into.

And: Well said!
Quote
that many of the books we read give only a very biased piece of the puzzle
 

February 19, 2021, 11:02:10 AM
Reply #42
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ash73


As to the Mansi, it is easy to blame what we think of as "others."  It's human nature, in fact.

I'm not blaming them because they're "others", I'm suggesting aspects of Mansi culture provide a motive. We're looking for individuals not a group identity. Imagine claiming, for example, a white person can't have done this because they are peaceful and integrated. It's meaningless (and probably offensive).

Also, there may be circumstances which narrows the list of suspects. For example we know the two women were not raped. It's sad to say, but I suspect that's unlikely to be the case if it had been escaped prisoners, guards, or locals... but it may be the case if it was Mansi, or a military operation.

BTW the case files on here don't seem to have any detail on the Mansi interviews, only what others said about them.
 

February 19, 2021, 11:17:20 AM
Reply #43
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ash73


...When those things happened it was the Khanti involved. Yet (also as far as I read and remember) there are no Khanti and Khanti territories near enough the site of the tragedy that it could be attributed to them...

I tried overlaying a territory map on a modern map - DP appears to be the nearest point of the Urals to Khanty territory, about 80km. I gather they were allowed to travel in each other's territory.

 

February 19, 2021, 11:21:36 AM
Reply #44
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KFinn


As to the Mansi, it is easy to blame what we think of as "others."  It's human nature, in fact.

I'm not blaming them because they're "others", I'm suggesting aspects of Mansi culture provide a motive. We're looking for individuals not a group identity. Imagine claiming, for example, a white person can't have done this because they are peaceful and integrated. It's meaningless (and probably offensive).

Also, there may be circumstances which narrows the list of suspects. For example we know the two women were not raped. It's sad to say, but I suspect that's unlikely to be the case if it had been escaped prisoners, guards, or locals... but it may be the case if it was Mansi, or a military operation.

BTW the case files on here don't seem to have any detail on the Mansi interviews, only what others said about them.

If you look in the first volume of the case files, there are testimonies by both Mansi and locals about them.  I believe there are some in the second volume, as well, but I will have to go back and look.  They interviewed the Bahtiyarovs, the Anyamovs, the Kurikovs, etc.  Some needed interpreters but others did not.
-Ren
 

February 19, 2021, 11:23:25 AM
Reply #45
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Missi


It seems as if they did travel to each other's territory. Yet if it was Mansi territory it's unlikely that there was any sacred Khanti ground there. It's not impossible that some Khanty killed the hikers but I'd like to have more than just the mere possibility they could have been there before buying that theory.

By the way: Aren't you just assuming that Mansi were unlikely to rape the girls whereas Russians (may it be locals, guards or prisoners) were indeed very likely to do so?
I don't know much about gulags, but as for free locals or guards I'd say they are no more likely to rape the girls than is your neighbor.
 

February 19, 2021, 01:09:10 PM
Reply #46
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ash73


I wouldn't say it's an assumption, they have different motives. In the scenario we're discussing the Mansi are seeking to punish the hikers for abusing their religion; rape is hardly a suitable punishment. Whereas the vile sort of people who would attack them for sport, or hatred, would have less scruples.

One interesting point is we know the hikers were petty thieves (Lyuda hid from the train ticket inspector, someone accused them of stealing vodka, and they forgot to pack vodka, yet it was found in the tent... maybe they did steal it, they even had a rule to only enter the tent in pairs to prevent theft) could they have taken something from the Mansi?
 

February 20, 2021, 02:32:21 AM
Reply #47
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ash73


Next book on my list is Keith **** - Mountain of the Dead.

Finished this yesterday, thought it was ok-ish probably the weakest of the books I've read so far. The introduction is good, and it describes lots of theories, some of them could do with a bit more detail but it's quite a good summary. There's a lot of detail on rocket tests and military scenarios for people interested in that sort of thing. I thought the Tu-95 parachute mines theory was interesting, and the book briefly looks at the idea of the tent being moved. For some reason in the second half it deep-dives into a daft theory about supernatural lights firing energy beams, and goes downhill from there.
 

February 20, 2021, 08:28:27 AM
Reply #48
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KFinn


Next book on my list is Keith **** - Mountain of the Dead.

Finished this yesterday, thought it was ok-ish probably the weakest of the books I've read so far. The introduction is good, and it describes lots of theories, some of them could do with a bit more detail but it's quite a good summary. There's a lot of detail on rocket tests and military scenarios for people interested in that sort of thing. I thought the Tu-95 parachute mines theory was interesting, and the book briefly looks at the idea of the tent being moved. For some reason in the second half it deep-dives into a daft theory about supernatural lights firing energy beams, and goes downhill from there.

If you are able, he has a second book about his trip to the pass that is interesting.  It gives some good perspectives on traveling the route and such.
-Ren
 

February 20, 2021, 10:30:11 AM
Reply #49
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Missi


One interesting point is we know the hikers were petty thieves (Lyuda hid from the train ticket inspector, someone accused them of stealing vodka, and they forgot to pack vodka, yet it was found in the tent... maybe they did steal it, they even had a rule to only enter the tent in pairs to prevent theft) could they have taken something from the Mansi?

I never read that before. I know that some traveled without a ticket. I thought maybe that was because they were lacking money or maybe it was some kind of hobby, just for the thrill. Some people are like that. I have never understood that kind of behavior, but it does exist.
I knew of the accusation. But I thought it was not more than that.
Where did you read that they forgot the vodka? And where did you get that rule of only two people together being allowed to enter the tent?
 

February 21, 2021, 03:28:30 AM
Reply #50
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ash73


Where did you read that they forgot the vodka? And where did you get that rule of only two people together being allowed to enter the tent?

Can't remember sorry, I've read so much recently it all merges together in my head! Lyuda went into the tent on her own to sulk one evening, so take it with a pinch of salt... like everything else.

Now started on Rakitin's book, this one is much more detailed, and a book within a book about cold war espionage from a Russian PoV; looking forward to reading that!

...so now I'm up to my eyeballs in nuclear jumper dead drops and American spies! Great stuff.
 

February 21, 2021, 06:48:13 PM
Reply #51
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Manti


Regarding the Mansi, I can imagine a sort of non-violent scenario, where they see the group setting up the tent on the slope and approach them still in daylight or thereabouts, and try to ask them not to camp on the hill. In this scenario probably the Dyatlov group didn't understand what is going on due to language difficulties etc., but it's clear they're being asked to leave, so they go down to the forest and start a fire and the Mansi leave and the rest could just be due to the cold at night and them trying to wait the situation out in the forest not knowing if the Mansi are still around or not..

The Mansi testimonies certainly seem somewhat suspicious, but this might just be due to how they were recorded at the time... They seem to answer questions they weren't asked, for example multiple of them state they didn't see the group or anyone else in the forest.... but have they ever been asked this? At the same time there are rumours that one Mansi indeed saw the group. And having seen them in and of itself would not be incriminating at all.. And then there are the telegrams from the searchers stating that the "keeping the Mansi involved is not necessary", I believe this was a toned down, polite version at the time of them being either seen as disruptive, demoralising or just plain unhelpful. Why? We might never know
 

February 21, 2021, 07:35:30 PM
Reply #52
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KFinn


Regarding the Mansi, I can imagine a sort of non-violent scenario, where they see the group setting up the tent on the slope and approach them still in daylight or thereabouts, and try to ask them not to camp on the hill. In this scenario probably the Dyatlov group didn't understand what is going on due to language difficulties etc., but it's clear they're being asked to leave, so they go down to the forest and start a fire and the Mansi leave and the rest could just be due to the cold at night and them trying to wait the situation out in the forest not knowing if the Mansi are still around or not..

The Mansi testimonies certainly seem somewhat suspicious, but this might just be due to how they were recorded at the time... They seem to answer questions they weren't asked, for example multiple of them state they didn't see the group or anyone else in the forest.... but have they ever been asked this? At the same time there are rumours that one Mansi indeed saw the group. And having seen them in and of itself would not be incriminating at all.. And then there are the telegrams from the searchers stating that the "keeping the Mansi involved is not necessary", I believe this was a toned down, polite version at the time of them being either seen as disruptive, demoralising or just plain unhelpful. Why? We might never know

I think the "we don't need the Mansi anymore" was a financial decision.  They were being paid a decent amount of money for each day of the search they participated.  As to their statements, many of them were using translators and that could add confusion to statements.  Plus, they live differently in some ways.  Like they didn't follow calendars to be able to give definitive dates; they keep track of time by weather and season and herding/hunting schedules and such.  That can add some confusion, as well.  Many of us take for granted that we would remember seeing people on a date or day of the week.   For them it was, middle of February when the storm was big, or things like that.  It comes across suspect but its a cultural difference.  As for seeing the hikers or not, there were a LOT of hiking groups going through the area then.  Atmanaki's group stayed with a Mansi overnight, which lead to searchers trying to figure out which group it was, whether it was the Dyatlov group so they could figure out where they were. 
But, any real conflict with the Mansi hinges on the Dyatlov group either being at a sacred place, which was not where they were, or supposedly stealing some relic, which the Mansi did not have to begin with.  By this time in the Soviet Union, religion was not accepted and the Mansi were not participating in any ceremonies anymore.
-Ren
 

February 21, 2021, 08:41:45 PM
Reply #53
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Manti


I think the "we don't need the Mansi anymore" was a financial decision.  They were being paid a decent amount of money for each day of the search they participated. 
Oh this is very interesting, I didn't know this.

By this time in the Soviet Union, religion was not accepted and the Mansi were not participating in any ceremonies anymore.
Yeah generally I agree with this, I don't think they participated in ceremonies. But I have to say it's not true in general that religion was not accepted, it was only "counterrevolutionary movements" that were not accepted, but "soviet-friendly" religions, or "the enemy of our enemy is our friend" ones were accepted and even encouraged, I don't know if mentioning specific examples is too politically charged for this forum?
And in any case I don't know where indigenous religions lie on this spectrum, although probably on the "counterrevolutionary" side based on what I've read about a former shaman being convicted.


 

February 22, 2021, 04:36:21 PM
Reply #54
Online

RMK


I don't believe for a second that the Mansi were involved in the deaths of the nine Dyatlov hikers, and for several reasons

First, no documented bloodshed between Mansi and Russian had occurred for a very long time--not within living memory, it would seem.

Second, as Ren remarked,
But, any real conflict with the Mansi hinges on the Dyatlov group either being at a sacred place, which was not where they were, or supposedly stealing some relic, which the Mansi did not have to begin with.
.  Her remark is consistent with written testimony found in the case files, for example,
Quote
There are no sacred mountains where we hunt, and according to the Mansi tales I know that it is in the upper sources of Vizhay river.  There are no sacred places in the upper sources of Lozva river. It is known that now Mansi do not go to pray in the prayer mountain, young people do not pray at all, and old Mansi pray at home.
; another example,
Quote
Mansi don't have a Prayer Mountain nowadays, I don't pray and I do not know of a Prayer Mountain. I don't believe it exists. Since the Mansi do not go to pray now, the elders pray at home, and the young ones do not pray at all.
.  If you search the main site for "prayer", you can find more written testimony in the case files, from both Mansi and Russians, explaining that any places that might be sacred to Mansi people are infrequently visited, and far away from where the DPI occurred anyhow.

Third, the hikers weren't doing anything that would really provoke any Mansi people.  By that, I mean the hikers weren't threatening anyone's livelihood.  They weren't bothering reindeer or sled dogs, they weren't shooting big game, and they weren't setting fur traps.

Fourth, the Mansi would have made very convenient scapegoats if the accusations of foul play had stuck.  Remember, the Mansi were and had been an ethnic minority, and more importantly, a religious minority.  In Tsarist Russia, their shamanistic tribal religion would have been condemned as "heathen idolatry!" by the Russian Orthodox Church (as well as by minority Christian churches, and by Muslim minority groups).  In Soviet Russia, their shamanistic tribal religion would have been condemned by the Communist Party as "ignorant, savage superstition!".  Which really brings me to my point: if the deaths of the 9 hikers could have been blamed on the Mansi, it would have been extremely valuable to the Party for propaganda purposes.  The Party could point to the Incident and say, "look at what horrible things primitive superstition inspires people to do!".  Certainly, that message would have endorsed heartily by loyal Communists.  But, as a bonus, it would also have resonated with the considerable number of Soviet citizens who still adhered (at least privately) to Christianity, or Islam.  Ethnic/religious prejudices did not evaporate from Russia in October, 1917.

Edit: remove redundant quote / link to case file.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 04:36:34 AM by RMK »
 

February 22, 2021, 04:49:23 PM
Reply #55
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KFinn


I don't believe for a second that the Mansi were involved in the deaths of the nine Dyatlov hikers, and for several reasons

First, no documented bloodshed between Mansi and Russian had occurred for a very long time--not within living memory, it would seem.

Second, as Ren remarked,
But, any real conflict with the Mansi hinges on the Dyatlov group either being at a sacred place, which was not where they were, or supposedly stealing some relic, which the Mansi did not have to begin with.
.  Her remark is consistent with written testimony found in the case files, for example,
Quote
There are no sacred mountains where we hunt, and according to the Mansi tales I know that it is in the upper sources of Vizhay river.  There are no sacred places in the upper sources of Lozva river. It is known that now Mansi do not go to pray in the prayer mountain, young people do not pray at all, and old Mansi pray at home.
; another example,
Quote
Mansi don't have a Prayer Mountain nowadays, I don't pray and I do not know of a Prayer Mountain. I don't believe it exists. Since the Mansi do not go to pray now, the elders pray at home, and the young ones do not pray at all.
; and another,
Quote
Mansi don't have a Prayer Mountain nowadays, I don't pray and I do not know of a Prayer Mountain. I don't believe it exists. Since the Mansi do not go to pray now, the elders pray at home, and the young ones do not pray at all.
.  If you search the main site for "prayer", you can find more written testimony in the case files, from both Mansi and Russians, explaining that any places that might be sacred to Mansi people are infrequently visited, and far away from where the DPI occurred anyhow.

Third, the hikers weren't doing anything that would really provoke any Mansi people.  By that, I mean the hikers weren't threatening anyone's livelihood.  They weren't bothering reindeer or sled dogs, they weren't shooting big game, and they weren't setting fur traps.

Fourth, the Mansi would have made very convenient scapegoats if the accusations of foul play had stuck.  Remember, the Mansi were and had been an ethnic minority, and more importantly, a religious minority.  In Tsarist Russia, their shamanistic tribal religion would have been condemned as "heathen idolatry!" by the Russian Orthodox Church (as well as by minority Christian churches, and by Muslim minority groups).  In Soviet Russia, their shamanistic tribal religion would have been condemned by the Communist Party as "ignorant, savage superstition!".  Which really brings me to my point: if the deaths of the 9 hikers could have been blamed on the Mansi, it would have been extremely valuable to the Party for propaganda purposes.  The Party could point to the Incident and say, "look at what horrible things primitive superstition inspires people to do!".  Certainly, that message would have endorsed heartily by loyal Communists.  But, as a bonus, it would also have resonated with the considerable number of Soviet citizens who still adhered (at least privately) to Christianity, or Islam.  Ethnic/religious prejudices did not evaporate from Russia in October, 1917.

You bring up a very interesting point that gave me a thought. (I absolutely admit i could be off base with this conclusion.). The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is very rich in oil, natural gas, gold, coal, copper and zinc.  60% of Russian oil is produced there; not a small amount.  If the Mansi were to blame, the Soviet Union could have used that killing to control those resources completely.  Lesser wars have been started over oil... 
-Ren
 

February 22, 2021, 06:25:47 PM
Reply #56
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ash73


Obviously if the mountain was sacred they would say it wasn't. I agree with the other points, though.

One interesting quote from the testimony of Anyamov Andrey Aleekseevich: "I personally never saw in the area another group of five people who are allegedly afraid of Mansi and who did not stay in Ivdel, I haven't heard such from other Mansi either."

Kurikov Grigoriy Nikolaevich denies seeing the unknown group, too.

I wonder what prompted the question.
 

February 22, 2021, 11:26:19 PM
Reply #57
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ash73


I've been making good progress on Rakitin's book, he has a forceful writing style but it's full of interesting details. His theory aligns with my murder hypothesis so there might be an element of confirmation bias. The cold war stuff is fascinating, I've enjoyed reading up on it and I'm convinced some of the hikers had complex agendas, but I have a couple of reservations about it being American spies:

- Rakitin is a knowledgeable military buff, and Russian, and there's a detectable anti-American sentiment (to be expected)... so it's no great surprise he reaches the conclusion it was American spies!

- At the core is the transfer of radioactive samples to agents, but it seems odd multiple items of clothing were radioactive. Each one increases the risk of being caught.

- American spies could mean anything, anyone could be trained as a spy. It could also be Russian agents killing them, if they were actually planning to hand it over.

- He prepares the ground by telling us lots of American spies are in Russia, including the story of Evgeny Golubev and several others, but my Google fu is failing to verify any of them.

- The story of first encounter isn't very convincing, although I can easily imagine other variations that might be... it doesn't matter as it's speculative.

- BUT, it seems odd the spies immediately go on a killing spree, and make no further effort to retrieve the clothing, given that's why they are there.

- And once you exclude the retrieval of the sample, it reduces to a group of people murdering the students, so it could be anyone. The only sure thing is they were skilled and ruthless killers.

Overall it's a good book, and might explain why they were killed. If it WAS spies, we might find out eventually as classified periods expire and political landscapes change...
 

February 23, 2021, 01:39:20 PM
Reply #58
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Manti


RMK, what you say, let me paraphrase is "the Mansi would have been blamed if it was possible to", because of all the benefits you mention.

The problem is, as it stands, based on all the available info, there is nothing incriminating the Mansi but also nothing disproving their involvement. I am not saying it was the Mansi (I don't think so myself), but the fact is, they could have been easily scapegoated and weren't. So that invalidates that argument.

In fact I think the hikers attitude to the Mansi is a good representation of the general one at the time... curiosity and fascination, with their signs, language, way of life. The Mansi were and are a minority but not a hated one.
- At the core is the transfer of radioactive samples to agents, but it seems odd multiple items of clothing were radioactive. E
I personally think this one is far fetched. A transfer takes 10 seconds and could have taken place anywhere, in a city in the comfort of a vehicle perhaps. There were no CCTVs back then and really there is absolutely no need to go to a remote and harsh area to meet, in fact it makes everything way more complicated also for the spies.

Not to mention that there wouldn't be much information to gain from a radioactive sample, the Americans' nuclear programme was more advanced. Maybe transferring stolen documents, that I can imagine, but then there's no explanation for the radioactivity.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 01:47:09 PM by Manti »
 

February 24, 2021, 05:03:41 AM
Reply #59
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ash73


I personally think this one is far fetched. A transfer takes 10 seconds and could have taken place anywhere, in a city in the comfort of a vehicle perhaps. There were no CCTVs back then and really there is absolutely no need to go to a remote and harsh area to meet, in fact it makes everything way more complicated also for the spies.

Not to mention that there wouldn't be much information to gain from a radioactive sample, the Americans' nuclear programme was more advanced. Maybe transferring stolen documents, that I can imagine, but then there's no explanation for the radioactivity.

I think it's possible. America was desperate for information on Russia's atomic capability, there was a lot of paranoia (it's interesting to read up on the "bomber gap"). We were certainly sending a lot of surveillance planes over, but they'd need samples to study reactor efficiency or yield. BUT I haven't seen any stories before about spies on the ground retrieving them.

There was such a thing as a skyhook, which could be used if they dropped spies into the area and then retrieved them (and the samples) after the exchange, that would work in a remote scenario far better than a populated area, and it would answer the question I've been pondering how would they get them out of the country...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery_system

It's a bit far fetched, and let down by the poor imagining of first contact, I think there are other ways that could have played out... but it would explain the injuries, and the cover-up, and the motive. BUT why didn't they pick up the sample? It's a shame the DPI movie wasn't based on this scenario.

One thing it's made me consider... there's an increasing number of Westerners travelling to DP for sightseeing trips, even staying in tents on the same mountain; if Rakitin is right and WE were responsible, I could understand the locals not being best pleased.

p.s. Particularly interesting reading up on the B-47 Stratojet, superb performance for its day but 10% operational losses on an aircraft which carried nuclear bombs makes you stop and think. They even lost a couple of nukes in the ocean, and nukes nearly went up at Lakenheath and Greenham Common in the UK after B-47 crashes.