So, according to me, the murders belonged to a wide category of violences generated by envy. What Hamza Syunikayev said in his testimony: Then he pulled out a gorgeous sable skin from his bosom. I was jealous - I wish I had one!
, the loggers experienced it when the two girls appeared. And we can also categorize the murders as outsiders killed by locals. These are two were universal grounds for murder and violence. It is not unknown territory, it is old story, very ancient story, very archaic path that generations have gone through. From Abel and Cain to contemporary school shootings.I. Context: tourists as preys
I think the hikers were easily spotted as tourists and outsiders when they left the city center of Sverdlovsk and went into small towns and deep country :I, as always, was approached by some countryman.
(Kolmogorova)In the train cart a young drunk accused us of stealing his booze from his pocket. For the second time this day the cops were involved.
(Yudin)Then out of the blue a young alcoholic came to the boys and accused them of stealing a bottle of vodka. He demanded her return and promised to punch them in the teeth. In the end, he did not prove or get anything and got lost.
They attracted attention of the locals, they were easy to spot as outsiders.II. Temptation and revenge1. Children teased and denied
There is a first incident which is a figure of the next tragedy. When the tourists tempted the children and denied them, with the "expected" outcome according to Yudin, that there was an outburst of tears, screams, cries, when the kids were suddenly frustrated by the adults who lit desire in their innocents hearts. You get tears when you tease and deny children, you get a brutal blow back when you tease and deny loggers of the Urals.
That "tease and denial" is called skandalon
in the Gospel and double-bind
after Gregory Bateson's research with the School of Palo Alto. When being cornered in a double-bind, you only have two possibilities: either you collapse (tears, depression, schizophrenia, possession) either you get violent (and violent to the extreme).2. Loggers teased and denied
I think there was a double dimension in the loggers frustration, I think it was both social and sexual.
The tourists brought with the truck images of dozens of women thighs and two live women. They watched Symphony in gold
with Venediktov and the loggers in the evening of Jan. 26, a display of many thighs, miniskirts, panties, feathers, shaking butts, cleavages, naked flesh… The tourists had dinner with the loggers : Lunch was served, we ate and now we are resting. Some of the group is watching a movie in the adjacent room
. (Krivonischenko), they watched the movie and then they all went to sleep, the loggers in their chaotic dormitory and the two girls (the two pairs of real thighs) in Valyukyavichus's room. The next morning, the loggers declared a day off and Venediktov had to comply. Yudin mentioned it as a "strike" but the two girls just wrote "they don't work". And they didn't work because of the girls. The loggers spent the day "challenging" the tourist men, singing for the girls, "dancing" with them, telling them about the taiga and Mansi language... They danced according to Ryazhnev's testimony :While the hikers were in 41 district they had good time, sang and danced with the loggers
But none of the camera owners had the idea to take a photo. Why not take a photo of their
women dancing with these
men. I think the tourists had poor interest for their girls (except for Dyatlov). Among the tourist boys, three or four of them could have made a career in Hollywood as actors: Yudin, Slobodin, Doroshenko and Dyatlov. And the other boys were not bad. But the two girls, Lyuda and Zina, it was very different: the boys were much more attractive as boys than the girls were attractive as girls. But the girls were largely good enough for the loggers who lived in a remote place where there were "no women at all". And as the tourists were challenged by the loggers, they could begin to rise their level of interest for the girls. They neglected the girls, but suddenly, when they saw the loggers trying to seduce the girls, dancing with them, they reacted as they understood they could be wronged. And thus, the status of the girls:we are together and yet we’re not together
became a real problem. The general ambiguity of the relationships inside the tourists group was the best ground for conflict with the loggers. The tourists came at District 41 with Zina and Lyuda, and none of the boys was dating any of them, but they came with the girls as their
girls, and the more the loggers seduced the girls, the more the girls smiled at the loggers and found them cute, the more Lyuda said she liked Valya as a joke, the more they danced together, then the more the tourists thought about Zina and Lyuda as their
girls. And then, even though the tourists were not that much in love with the girls, they were about to react and claim the girls as theirs. We can read that cruel note about "illegal prison songs" written by Zina's ex-boyfriend in the group's diary, we can read about the late and pathetical attempt of Dyatlov to claim Zina as hers in the next morning... And maybe words were spoken, mean and humiliating... it was easy for young engineers to take verbally the advantage on poor workers...
For exeample, Zolotaryov brought an issue of the magazine Krokodil, which one we don't know, but some could read in the most recent issue before the beginning of the trek:Krokodil 1959, N°2, Jan. 20
Does not this caricature talk about these workers who stayed "for free" according to Yudin's diary : The workers are very different. Recruits after the army, after serving time (to earn some money and stayed, or for free).
? Does not the lad look so much like the man N°4 on farewell photo
? And could not we add this caption to the drawing: "Social parasites are sent to District 41"?
How easy to be mean with them ? To harm with a few chosen words ? Insisting on the poverty, the lack of education, the misery of the dormitory, the total absence of hope of the loggers ? The tourists could be perfect douchebags as the incident at the station proved it. Krivonishenko was the main protagonist:Also Georgiy was good friends with the majority of Dyatlov group, who often visited the spacious apartment of his parents in the city centre of Sverdlovsk. Krivonishenko’s parents were well-educated and influential people, and they often welcomed students to their place. His father was the chief construction engineer of the Beloyarski Hydro-Electro Station.
He was arrested by the police:We were not allowed in the station with the backpacks. We settled nearby the station. The boys cross the treasurer, that's me, with accusations of stinginess and greed. Alas, the canteen at this point is a great luxury for us. 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.
So the young privileged had fun playing to be poor.
It was not "funny" as wrote Zina, it was stupid and arrogant. And the incident was not heroic at all. It was betraying the trust of the policeman who hesitated and finally let them enter the station, they had already benefited of a grace but they abused of the benefactor… they behaved like spoiled kids. And the policeman had certainly previously expelled some real beggar from the station... It was class contempt: rich having fun playing to be poor… We can be sure Krivonishenko would not have pretended to beg for money in a hat, for the fun, at the central station of Sverdlovsk or in Moscow Red Square or in Paris… They didn’t pay attention to the locals: this was the ultimate sign of contempt… allowing themselves to behave without shame because they had low consideration for the people who could look at the scene, as if their look meant nothing, as if these people were nothing. This arrogance, they bring it wherever they go, and it was spotted by the locals…. Cameras around the neck, boasting of being tourists, rich having fun playing to be poor, hypocritically complaining they were restrained to sing their songs but denunciating for real in their diary the counter-revolutionary crime of singing illegal prison songs (double standard morals) by the very loggers who welcomed them… and heading with two maidens straight into the outcasts camp site, straight into the logger's barrack.
The Soviets made a very big effort to purge cities from lumpenproletariat. Security in the cities was a priority for Soviet authorities, and they cared much less about the countrysides, and even much less about the Urals. What was lumpenproletariat ?Most of them belonged to lumpenproletariat which, in all big cities, is a distinct group from industrial proletariat, hatchery of thieves and of criminals of all kinds, living from the rubbish of society, individuals without avowable professional activity, prowlers, people who are not trustworthy and without hotbed
. Karl Marx, in The Struggle of classes in France (1848-1850)Lumpenproletariat, this scum of deviant individuals of all classes, who establish their headquarters in big cities, is the worst of any possible allies. This scum is absolutely venal and importunate.
Friedrich Engels, preface to The war of peasants in Germany (1850)
The sort of people who ended at the foot of the Urals, at District 41 which was a mix of all the waste of Soviet society. And it might have been not easy to find a greater opposition between these two groups: the tourists and the loggers, Soviet elite meeting lumpenproletariat... and two girls in the middle as the challenge. I think the tourists made some big mistake at District 41, that infuriated the locals and the locals made the tourist pay the toll. I can't tell what, but it was very probably about the girls and using social status as a mean to harm. And with a kind of unrealism of the tourists that they would not have to pay for the consequences.