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Lyudmila Dubinina's Journal

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Hi everyone! This is my first contribution to this forum, it's a translation of Dubinina's diary that I took from the transcript in Anna Matveyeva's book on the incident. I am in no ways a professional translator; I am a language student, but I am still prone to making mistakes. On top of that, please take this translation with a grain of salt as my edition of the book is in French, making this a French to English translation that itself is based on a Russian to French translation; some nuances maybe obscured or lost in translation. Any of my own notes on the translation or clarifications will be in [square brackets like these], except for the […] symbols which Matveyeva already had in her transcript (if you wanna blame anyone for censorship, blame her, not me! :P). Footnotes are at the end of the post. Please do contact me if you see any errors / need any clarification so as to avoid spreading misinformation :)


[There are a bunch of resources other than the log of her travels to Otorten Mountain, this includes a few songs (most likely from the trip that she wrote down to keep as a souvenir), along with a few more touching notes including a list of books, German words to learn, and a to-do list. Quite heartbreaking to read.]

January 23rd. It's the last day of preparations, a crazy day! Starting at eleven, I went shopping to buy some knick-knacks. I got this crazy idea to buy a 5 meters of batiste1, which cost me 200 rubles [roughly $50]. I made my own bag at full speed and of course, I forgot my sweater at home. Everyone was taking care of their own things and we had a million things to sort out. Just before our departure, those willing to accompany us to the train arrived. We were very tight on time, but we arrived on time to the train station. It was a time for goodbyes; before the train left, we struck up a few songs.

Blinov's group has joined us in the train wagon and we all sang together.

The bass in Krotov's voice covered all of the other voices. This time, we sang a bunch of new songs with the help of Zolotaryov, the tour guide who was accompanying us on this hike. In the beginning, no one wanted him here because he was someone new, and then we decided that it was alright, anyways it was impossible to refuse. So that's how we ended up leaving with a group of ten people, as it was originally planned, since the administration department of the faculty didn't let Slavka2 leave with us.

January 24th. We arrived in Serov very much in ahead of time, and we weren't allowed to enter the train station with our backpacks. In the beginning, we settled ourselves outside the train station. The others began complaining about the head of budget — that means me— accusing me of pettiness and avarice. Unfortunately, this time we won't have the means to eat at the train station's café. We had a bit of an adventure: Yurka K. [Krivonischenko] got arrested, accused of fraud. He had this idea to go around the train station, chapka3 in hand, singing a song. We had to get him out of there.

Sometime later, accompanied by Blinov's group, we managed to sneak into the town's primary school. We had lunch there and got down to preparing our equipment. Then we accepted to talk to the younger children about athletic tourism. The stories about our past achievements and our equipment left them amazed, they didn't want to leave us. We didn't see the time pass until six o'clock and many of our new young friends accompany us to the train station. They were so attached to us, especially Zina [Kolmogorova], that they're in tears.

Once in the train, we sang at the top of our lungs for a while, sometimes accompanied by the mandolin. Then a young alcoholic lashed out at the boys, he accused them of having stolen a bottle of vodka. He demanded that they give it back by threatening to break their teeth. Eventually, realizing that he could neither prove nor gain anything, he let it go. Yurka [unclear which Yuri this is] came to see us, he sang with us for a while and then left again. We carried on singing and all of a sudden, without even realizing it, we found ourselves talking about love, more specifically about kisses. We were talking nonsense, of course, but everyone participated in the discussion with much passion; it was up to whoever could raise their voice the loudest to contradict the others. Sashka Kolevatov managed to have the last say, but he was probably repeating arguments that he had heard elsewhere.

We arrived in Ivdel in the middle of the night and we slept at the train station. We settled down in a corner, our group laid down on the tent unfolded on the ground. As for me, I kept watch. I took advantage of this time to sew the boots and copy down songs. [...] I managed to cope until three o'clock. All the others had already gone to sleep, except for Boria [person unclear, probably from Blinov's group] who stayed up late sewing but ended up going to sleep as well.

Jenka [person unclear, probably from Blinov's group] teases me from time to time, sometimes he even says hurtful things to me. Does he think I'm stupid? It's true that I like to add fuel to the fire myself, I had better hold my tongue.

January 25th. They woke me up without giving me time to recover. I told Rustik [Slobodin] that I wouldn't wash up, that the conditions were not ideal. He was fine with it. At that moment the bus arrived and we hurried to load everything onto it. Kolka Tibo [Thibeaux-Brignolles] was completely stuck between us and the ceiling. [...] We sang again, of course. My voice is completely hoarse from all the singing. Jenka continues to have a dig at me. What a snake! I'm starting to understand his little game, it's nothing new of course, but now I feel like I can see more clearly. And yet, Yurka [Matveyeva suggests this was a transcription error from Dubinina] is a benevolent person, at least if you judge him by his behavior. I'm going to stay true to myself.

Jenka and Zina sang "Ah! If your eyes weren't so blue…".

Once we arrived at the junction, the bus continued straight ahead and was had to pick us up an hour later. During that time, we moved forward on foot. It was pleasant to walk on this road by this nice weather. We fooled around by rolling around in the snow.

Whilst we were walking, there was a little incident: a car transporting some wood arriving in the direction opposite to us got stuck in the snow. The boys hurried to go help out, they managed to get it out of there, not without trouble. At that moment, the bus arrived and we packed ourselves in once again. The discuss this time revolved around happiness. Generally, our group was the most active in the debate. We tried to give a definition to happiness, but at the end of the day, everyone had their own.

We arrived in Vizhay around two o'clock. Blinov's group intends to continue further with the bus 41, but we will probably spend the night here. We had parted ways crying, we are all sad. Zina and I sang "Ah! If your eyes…" as a goodbye to Jenia. Anyways, I feel really down [or depressed, depending on how you interpret it].

We are very lucky. They're playing "Symphonie in Gold"4. We hurried to leave our luggage at the hotel and went to the cinema. The image was blurry but that didn't spoil any of our delight. Yura Krivo [Krivonischenko] is sitting next to me, he let out a small squeal of excitement and was making weird noises with his mouth. This was one of those little joys that is hard to express in words. What stunning music!

This movie cheered us all up. Igor Dyatlov was simply unrecognizable. He was trying to dance whilst humming "Oh! Jacky Joe".

Yura [again, unclear which Yuri she is describing] and I are responsible for the chores today. We want to cook some pasta on the stove but the fire is hard to get started, the wood is wet and the whole ordeal takes us a lot of time. We can finally start eating. At supper, a new discussion arises about the rights of boys and girls, about freedom, etc. In my opinion, this type of conversation leads to nothing. It's just an excuse to express our resentment openly. We went to bed late. We slept with two people per bed, except Yura Krivo and Sashka [Kolevatov? Zolotaryov?] who slept on the floor between the beds.

January 26th. Early this morning Sashka [Kolevatov? Zolotaryov?] was numbed by the cold and declared that he had spent the night freezing. Zina and I slept very well. We went to the hotel cafeteria and then we returned to get ready. A car drove us to our next stop. We tried to sing, to talk about abstract topics, but we were all too cold. In the beginning, the places we drove past weren't very interesting; they were burnt forests.

Actually, we needed to arrive to the North-2 Settlement but night had already fallen and we decided to stop at point 41 at four-thirty. We were very well warmly welcomed and accommodated in a shack were some young people live. They are all contract workers, and there are only two women. As Igor noticed, they are all young, and some are even rather cute and interesting. I especially noticed a certain Ognev with a ginger beard, as a matter-of-fact they nickname him 'The Beard'. It's rare to meet people like him in such a hellhole. He's a real romantic, he's a geologist and is very open-minded. Almost all of them play the guitar. We watched three movies in a row with them, "V lyudyakh", "Zhivot Takoy Paren'" and "Zolotaya Simfoniya"5[Symphonie in Gold] once again. Again with this music!

In the beginning, we had separated into two groups: one group watched the movies and the other wrote in their journals; Rustik and Kolya [Thibeaux-Brignolles] talked about everything and nothing, of work, etc. I find them great, those guys.

There is a big difference between Rustik, Kolya, and Yura [Krivonischenko] who have finished their studies and us undergraduates. Their judgement is more mature, and much more intelligent than ours. My God, I won't even speak about my own!

After the movies we were all tired and wanted to go to sleep. Zina and I settle in on the bed with the metal bedspring. How dreamy! The boys all slept on the floor. I'm in a terrible mood and I know it'll last me another two days. I am not to be messed with.

January 27th. The temperature outside is -5 degrees [Celsius], it doesn't feel cold, the skis don't slide well. We have been preparing ourselves since this morning, and we start our route this today. Right now, we are waiting for on a horse that is supposed to carry our backpacks whilst we travel on skis. We're getting lucky.

Yura Yudin is sick. A nerve in his leg, actually a sciatica, and he's going home. Alright, now we're only nine. For the moment we are waiting and singing. Our hosts are strumming their guitar, and Rustik his mandolin. Heartbreaking. We are at the very limits of civilization. […] Actually, I really like the guitar, and I adore musicians. They guys are all great. We talked to Ognev. He knows lots of things; he's interesting to talk to and at the moment, he's talking to us about our route and a bunch of other things.

In my opinion, he's the most interesting of the lot. His ginger beard is very long, he's only twenty-seven, but you would think he's older. There's also Valia [short for Valentin] who plays the guitar really well (almost all of them play) to whom I said "I like you" as a joke6. Now they're almost all here and they sing accompanied by the guitar. The new songs that we've heard so far are great, we hope that Rustik will be able to sing them during the hike. We ask them a few words in Mansi.

Ia - stream
Vajenka - Female reindeer
Sokhta - a guide
Nian - bread
Ioun - house
Pisal - gun
Atim - there is no
Oli - there is
Son - truth
Vorkhouch - bear

[According to the author there are almost three pages of Mansi words after this.]

[The following entry is described by Matveyeva as being 'odd'; the writing looks different to that of Dubinina's in the past entries. It appears smaller, harder to decipher, and there is much less pressure on the pencil in the writing.]

28th of January. This morning at eight o'clock, we were woken by voices. It was Yura Kri and Sashka Kole that were mumbling. It isn't colder than yesterday (minus five).

After breakfast, one part of the group, Yura Yudin, Kolya, and Yura Doroschenko went to the core sample storage to pick up some rocks for their collection. They didn't find anything in the rocks save for some pyrite and a few veins of quartz.

They prepared for a long time, adjusting the binds of their skis and waxing them.


   1. Bastiste is a type of fine cloth made from a mixture of materials. I'm not a seamstress, but one quick search on Google will tell you everything you need to know about it.
   2. Slavka is Bienko's nickname. He was meant to be the tenth hiker (not counting Zolotaryov who was not part of the plan) but had to stay behind having not completed his exams (if I remember correctly).
   3. Stereotypically Russian hat with ear flaps, you've probably seen them around.
   4. 'Symphonie in Gold' is the name of an Austrian musical comedy that was popular in the USSR around the time of the incident.
   5. "V Lyudyakh" a popular movie, the name literally translated to "At the People's Place". "Zhivot Takoy Paren' translates to 'There is Such a Lad'. I may be wrong though, because according to Wikipedia, that movie came out a few years after the event. For all you Soviet-film buffs out there.
   6. I wasn't sure how to translate this. The original translation of the transcript basically conveys that Dubinina told the boy (Valya) that she fancied him, but that she had said that as a joke. That being said, the wording is ambiguous and much like in English, the phrase "I like you" can have both platonic and romantic connotations. My guess is she meant it in a more romantic way; who says 'I like you' in a friendly way and then takes it back as a joke? It feels extremely wrong to be looking so closely as Dubinina's relationships with people, but I feel like I remember reading somewhere that at the scene they found an unfinished letter from Dubinina addressed to a certain 'Valia', so perhaps these are the same people.]

For the extremely curious amongst you, the song that Igor Dyatlov was dancing to can easily be found on Youtube, in case anyone's interested in 1950's Austrian musicals.

She was irritable it seems from some of her journal entries.
I believe she was on her cycle.

Another sticky.   okey1


--- Quote from: TDGS7147 on November 20, 2017, 07:16:07 PM ---She was irritable it seems from some of her journal entries.
I believe she was on her cycle.

--- End quote ---

It would be a very unfortunate time to be so... It's also possible she was just a sensitive person in general, some people (including myself) take every piece of criticism really badly and it's just part of who they are. What's really interesting is that Dubinina barely ever describes the setting, the places and things they see (like Kolmogorova) but instead focuses almost entirely on the people around her. She spends a lot of time describing how they act, whether or not she likes them, how she feels, but there is barely any description of location or of actual hiking, she was clearly a "people-person". It seems she was very sensitive/bummed out throughout the trip, for example when Kolmogorova writes in her diary that everyone was outside celebrating and having fun, Dubinina was inside the tent sulking. What a lady, I would've loved to meet her.

EDIT: "I'm in a terrible mood and I know it'll last me another two days", I see where you're coming from now, people usually don't know how long they'll be in a bad mood for, so it's very possible the poor girl had an unfortunate cycle. I'm not too sure why else she would predict that her bad mood would last another four days (unless maybe she already feared something was going to happen?).

I took the liberty of adding the pics to your OP... hope you dont mind.   thumb1


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