I’m new to the forum and I had a question about the unknown diary. It’s the only diary that mentions them celebrating Kolevatov’s on 1/30. Except that wasn’t his birthday. The only explanations I’ve seen for this is that they were trying to interject some normalcy into the scene, or maybe it’s a belated birthday party, as they might not have been in a position to mark it in any way in November. However, Zina mentions that 1/29 is Yuri Doroshenko’s birthday. And it seems odd to me that they would celebrate Kolevatov’s birthday two months late and not include Yuri, whose birthday was just the day before. Could the explanation be that the person got Kolevatov mixed up with Yuri? If that is the case, then the only author of the unknown diary that makes sense is Semyon, as the rest knew each other far too well to misidentify anyone. If that is the case, it’s probably likely that the K Tibo is not Nicholai. While I know that some people refer to Nick as Kolya (or close to that), the author of the unknown diary calls him Nick T. Normally if we’re introduced to someone by a certain name we stick to that name. A person named Daniel might go by the name Dan or by his middle name Richard. But if we were introduced to him as Dan, that’s what we’ll call him, and if other people are saying the name Richard, we might not realize they’re talking about the same person.
Welcome to the forum.
According to would-be 10th hiker, Slavik (Vladislav) Bienko, who Semyon replaced, Semyon and Tibo were 'inseparable' when he saw everyone off at the railway station. So you'd anticipate Semyon would be on casual name terms with Tibo/Kolya six days on. That said he was older, an ex-soldier, and may have adopted a formal address when writing.
It is still odd for anyone to call him Nick T though (or the unnecessary duplication of K Tibo), it's not as if there was more than one Nick, and people tend to distinguish between those with the same name in that way.
The diaries were typed up for the case files, and it could be they mixed up a reference to an 'Aleksander', which besides Kolevatov was also the origin of Semyon's second name and how he had first introduced himself to the group. Sasha is a diminutive of that name, so besides 3 Yuris this group also had 2 Aleksander/Sashas.
This is the thing about Russian names, they all have 2, and then there's usually a third or more, a nickname drawn from one of the other names. Nikolay could be Nick, Tibo (from Thibeaux-Brignolle) or Kolya (which is said by some sources to originate as a reworking of the letters from Nikolay). Yuri D could be Yura or Yurka. Yuri K could be Georgiy or Krivo, Igor Gosya and so on. Many of them had been on past hikes together or knew each other at university so different nicknames may have been adopted in different company to avoid verbal confusion between 2 with the same name.
The coincidences continue with birthdays too. 3 of them, Rustem, Zina and Igor, had their birthdays a fortnight earlier across consecutive days, 11th, 12th & 13th January. You could probably win the lottery with those odds across a group of only 9 people. Inevitably that would enter their conversation when it was Yuri D's birthday, which I'm sure they'd celebrate, it was his 21st, and his ex, Zina, mentions it and how they chatted about his playboy past - up until then things had been a bit awkward and frosty between the two.
Some forum members have suggested 'Aleksander's' birthday was celebrated on 30th because it was the eve of St Aleksander's Day in Russian Orthodoxy. It may be it was Semyon's
birthday being brought forward, because his was on 2nd February (his 38th, on which he is taken to have died). That way the group could celebrate another round of consecutive birthdays.
There are many errors in the diaries though, and this could simply be another example of their apparent lack of spatial awareness and time. Zina doesn't seem to know what date or even year it was, and Igor thought they'd be hundreds of kms away from human settlements in his last diary entry, him being the only one to write anything on 31st (they were 50kms from Vizhay).
As regards the satirical leaflet/newspaper, it may have been incorrectly dated or purposefully advance dated, to be left on Mount Otorten around the time of their anticipated arrival, as a gift for future hikers to read.