December 05, 2021, 08:57:37 AM
Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: DPI noob  (Read 6700 times)

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February 24, 2021, 08:19:26 AM
Reply #60
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KFinn


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.

My understanding, as an American.  The Atomic Peace Treaty, first proposed in 55, was an agreement that the Soviets and Americans would focus on nuclear energy rather than weapons.
 We both were okay with energy production because we both needed it.  Any spying aspect was about verifying how well each side was sticking to the agreement but neither side expected the other to stop working on weapons.  We wanted trace samples so that we could pinpoint where they were doing this, not necessarily glean information about yield or efficiency at that point.  Trace radioactive elements can have "fingerprints." The Americans wanted to know where all the nuclear plants were located so that they could "surprise" the Soviets by asking about those plants.  (The whole thing with Nixon asking to see a specific plant during his visit, which the Soviets didn't think he knew about, for instance.)

The "moratorium" was one of those things that no one really expected the other to follow with the caveat that it might put pressure on an aggressor by other countries if the threat of aggression became imminent.  Our government was not at all shocked when the Soviets were sending military aid to Cuba in what became The Bay of Pigs standoff.  We were surprised to find out in hindsight that the ships and such were *not* all loaded with nuclear weapons.  There is some history going way back that I think played a little bit here.  When the Allies were finally starting to turn the tide of war during WWII in 1943-44, Stalin had the deciding vote on which general would lead the European offensive (Supreme Commander of the Allied Expedition Forces...sounds more exciting than it was, lol!)  He chose Eisenhower over Churchill's choice of Montgomery.  When Eisenhower later became president In 1953, although one of his platforms was to "defeat" communism, I think he still felt he could work with Stalin but he was obviously apprehensive.  Within less than two months of Eisenhower's presidency, Stalin was dead, though.  While Eisenhower knew less about Kruschev, I think he assumed that both nations were just too tired from war at this point and that they could reach an agreement to just focus on other things (We were trying to wrap up the Korean War at this point and everyone was just getting tired.)  Nuclear fuel, the space race, infrastructure (he especially thought this would be a focus for the Soviets who had the war *in* their country for a while, as well as famine, the decimation of whole cities and regions due to German invasion...)  After the Soviets successfully tested an Atomic bomb in 1955, Eisenhower proposed the Atomic Peace Treaty, which allowed both countries to focus on nuclear energy, rather than a weapons race.  But, the US had already bulked their nuclear weapon supply substantially before 1955 so saying, "lets agree not to make more," still put the Soviets behind us which I can imagine would be frightening.  Here's a country that has said they want to "defeat" your government, they have a stockpile of weapons and now are saying we should agree not to make more to deter them from attacking us?  Anyhoo, the Soviets refused the 1955 treaty because they did not want to have outsiders coming in to do inspections (part of the proposal also called for open skies, which would let both countries fly over the other for visual inspections, also not agreeable by Kruschev.)  I don't blame Kruschev, to be honest. 

The fifties and early sixties were a time if great fear for Americans, Soviets and the countries watching us warily.  The two most aggressive kids on the block were getting more and more amped up and everyone would lose.  America, always trying to show the world that she was the "bigger person," kept trying to initiate these treaties that could not really be enforced by anyone and everyone knew we'd all just ignore them anyway.  So, we really turned to just trying to one up each other in terms of pointing out where each other's production facilities were located in the hopes that it would take time away from making weapons to move everything out of that facility and set up somewhere else.  It was like diplomatic whack-a-mole but with nuclear war at stake. 

The radiation at Dyatlov...I go back and forth like so many things here, lol.  I honestly believe at my heart that, while it may not have been what led to the group's demise, there is still something with it in that it should not be there.  Several of the searchers got sick and blamed the pass.  For two, the implication was cancer.  For another, it was stated as "ill health."  It really does make you wonder...
-Ren
 

February 24, 2021, 09:19:18 AM
Reply #61
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ash73


Cheers, very interesting post.

Just imagine what it must have been like flying surveillance missions over Russia in a B-47 or British Canberra. The SAMs (and MIGs) couldn't reach you last time, but maybe now they've got something new... they launch and you just have to wait and see how close it gets!

The skyhook though, that would have to come in at tree top level over the North pole hugging the Urals, that's crazy James Bond stuff. This scenario would make such a great movie, if only they hadn't butchered everyone!

I'm reading Firefox Down in parallel to the DPI stuff, it's quite good at firing up the imagination while thinking about these scenarios. I hope it wasn't just a boring accident.
 

February 24, 2021, 09:35:37 AM
Reply #62
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KFinn


Cheers, very interesting post.

Just imagine what it must have been like flying surveillance missions over Russia in a B-47 or British Canberra. The SAMs (and MIGs) couldn't reach you last time, but maybe now they've got something new... they launch and you just have to wait and see how close it gets!

The skyhook though, that would have to come in at tree top level over the North pole hugging the Urals, that's crazy James Bond stuff. This scenario would make such a great movie, if only they hadn't butchered everyone!

I'm reading Firefox Down in parallel to the DPI stuff, it's quite good at firing up the imagination while thinking about these scenarios. I hope it wasn't just a boring accident.

I will check into reading that! 

When I read about things people have done historically, like flying spy planes over sketchy areas, I don't know if I could ever have that much courage, lol!!  Or with the fledgling space programs, going into space not really knowing if you would make it back but knowing no one could ever rescue you...crazy!!!  I do a lot of reading and following of high altitude climbing.  When in the death zone of Everest, if you start failing, no one can really do anything to help you.  Your body can not be retrieved.  There are bodies of climbers that are used as way points.  People who climb Mt Everest know that they have a strong chance of dying, even if they do everything right; high altitude sickness can strike without notice, cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, and bam, you go down.  As much as being at the very top of the world sounds intriguing, that's crazy, lol!!  I've done some really sketchy stuff in my misspent youth but that's a whole lot of nope, lol!!

I do love learning about spy craft and spying attempts.  I think the fifties and sixties were probably the most exciting time for it, and probably the nuttiest, lol!  But you try just about anything to ensure your people are safe, I suppose.  I recently watched a movie that took place in 1962, Soviet and American intelligence during a chess match between two grand masters in Poland which happened at the very same time as the Bay of Pigs Crisis.  I don't know how accurate or real it was but it was an intense and fun watch.  It had Bill Pullman and Lotte Verbeek but I don't remember the name off hand.  It was a good watch, though!!!
-Ren
 

February 24, 2021, 09:55:12 AM
Reply #63
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ash73


The book is pretty good. I like the original Firefox movie, the first half is a great spy film and the second half is a great action movie. The special effects look dated now but it's still fun.

I'm watching Bridge of Spies tonight, which is about the U2 incident.
 

February 24, 2021, 10:26:59 AM
Reply #64
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MDGross


As KFINN writes, the Cold War was reaching its height in 1959. Some sort of espionage scenario is certainly plausible. Zolotaryov's brother was executed during WWII for aiding the Germans. That family stain surely followed Zolotaryov around after the war. Perhaps American operatives had agreed to get him out of the country. In return, he would give the CIA stolen documents hidden in his backpack. After his death, these documents were found and removed by the military.  I don't know what when wrong and why the Dyatlov group was killed. Some people on Russian-language forums blame the CIA. Others blame the KGB. Quite far-fetched I grant you. But, when considering the Dyatlov tragedy, it's difficult and maybe a mistake to ignore the political atmosphere of the time.
 

February 24, 2021, 10:37:51 AM
Reply #65
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sarapuk

Case-Files Achievement Recipient
Just as matter of interest shouldnt this post re ; DPI noob be somewhere else  !  ? I
DB
 

February 24, 2021, 10:46:06 AM
Reply #66
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KFinn


Just as matter of interest shouldnt this post re ; DPI noob be somewhere else  !  ? I

Quite possibly but I'm not sure where.  We've been covering a lot of ideas and such as one theory morphs into another.  I think too its interesting to see added information as Ash73 reports on each book as its read. 
-Ren
 

February 24, 2021, 11:10:45 AM
Reply #67
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ash73


I'm just using this thread to record my journey if that's ok, as I read various books and my ideas evolve. I'm dipping into various theories as the interest takes me.

I'll contribute on the detailed theory threads where I can, but I doubt I'll add much original thought everyone's done such a great job already exploring the options.
 

February 24, 2021, 06:54:40 PM
Reply #68
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KFinn


I'm just using this thread to record my journey if that's ok, as I read various books and my ideas evolve. I'm dipping into various theories as the interest takes me.

I'll contribute on the detailed theory threads where I can, but I doubt I'll add much original thought everyone's done such a great job already exploring the options.

I personally have not yet been able to read Rakitin (translation issues,) and I have appreciated both you and Missi discussing your impressions and such! 

One thing that strikes me in our spy craft discussions (and please forgive; my humor is often very macabre and I am so sorry!!!) What happened to the days of creative espionage like the fifties and sixties??  Litvinenko's assassins, although eventually successful, wandered around England with a leaking canister of polonium.  What happened to taking pride in your craft, guys, lol??!!  At least with Dyatlov, if any of them *were* spies, the fact that we still can't prove it shows that they must have been competent! 
-Ren
 

February 25, 2021, 04:56:19 PM
Reply #69
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RMK


I personally have not yet been able to read Rakitin (translation issues,)
What sort of translation issues?  If you want to read Rakitin's commercially published book, unfortunately, its only translation from Russian is the German edition (AFAIK).  But Rakitin's essay (i.e., what he [they?] posted online about 10 years ago) dwells here.  As it's electronic text, it can easily be automatically translated by your translation machine of choice.

Russian-to-English machine translation still has some common defects.  Those include getting the gender of personal pronouns wrong, using impersonal pronouns for persons, and getting the subject and direct object of a sentence completely backwards.

Modern translation machines typically exhibit some other pathological behaviors from time to time, irrespective of the original or target language.  One is that, if they don't recognize a word in the original language, they might assume it is a misspelling of a similarly spelled word, and translate that.  Another is that they might get "stuck in a loop" and repeat themselves over and over in their output.
 

February 25, 2021, 05:08:47 PM
Reply #70
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ash73


I just ran all of it through Google translate, collated it into a single Word document and I've been manually tidying it up as I read it. I've ended up with a pretty good pdf of the whole thing.

It's well worth reading for the cold war book-within-a-book, it's sent me down numerous rabbit-holes on Google!
 

February 25, 2021, 05:46:10 PM
Reply #71
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ash73


I've got through a bit more of Rakitin's book today.

I'm suspicious about the backtrack the day before they died, and why they set off so late after making the labaz, it shouldn't take 4-5 hours to dig a small hole for a few supplies. Rakitin suggests Kolevatov was stalling because they were ahead of schedule, but I think something else was going on.

Zina kept her diary religiously so it's very odd she stopped on Jan 30 and doesn't mention any of this.
 

February 25, 2021, 06:16:49 PM
Reply #72
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KFinn


I personally have not yet been able to read Rakitin (translation issues,)
What sort of translation issues?  If you want to read Rakitin's commercially published book, unfortunately, its only translation from Russian is the German edition (AFAIK).  But Rakitin's essay (i.e., what he [they?] posted online about 10 years ago) dwells here.  As it's electronic text, it can easily be automatically translated by your translation machine of choice.

Russian-to-English machine translation still has some common defects.  Those include getting the gender of personal pronouns wrong, using impersonal pronouns for persons, and getting the subject and direct object of a sentence completely backwards.

Modern translation machines typically exhibit some other pathological behaviors from time to time, irrespective of the original or target language.  One is that, if they don't recognize a word in the original language, they might assume it is a misspelling of a similarly spelled word, and translate that.  Another is that they might get "stuck in a loop" and repeat themselves over and over in their output.

I access most things from my tablet and in order to translate anything, I have to go to Google translate and enter it in a paragraph at a time.  The browser for this tablet doesn't have a translate function.  I'm certain there is probably an app or something I could use but I am so woefully illiterate with technology anymore.  I worked my way through college in an IT department but now, I'm so lost with technology that it isn't funny, lol!!  If I could find a program to auto translate, I'm pretty good at deciphering when the translate is funky.  I have to do that with translations on Scandinavian grave finds.  Sometimes the translation is hysterical, some times it just takes a little creative... synonym-ing ;)  At one time I had basic German but that is long gone, sadly (the narcoleptic brain ditches anything it doesn't use regularly.) So, I kind of have to learn vicariously through those who can access or read Rakitin until I can figure out an app or work around that won't be so time intensive :(
-Ren
 

February 25, 2021, 06:22:09 PM
Reply #73
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KFinn


I've got through a bit more of Rakitin's book today.

I'm suspicious about the backtrack the day before they died, and why they set off so late after making the labaz, it shouldn't take 4-5 hours to dig a small hole for a few supplies. Rakitin suggests Kolevatov was stalling because they were ahead of schedule, but I think something else was going on.

Zina kept her diary religiously so it's very odd she stopped on Jan 30 and doesn't mention any of this.

I've always wondered about that, as well.  It seems so anathema to how this group operated.  They seemed to be quite efficient as far as how they budgeted their energy/movement.  The turn around and late start just never fit in my mind.  I know they talked about getting late starts when they didn't want to get out of the warm tent but even those were leaving camp at like 10 am.  Why bother with a three hour late afternoon hike?  Why wouldn't they have taken the remainder of the day for their rest day and set out fresh the next morning? 
-Ren
 

February 26, 2021, 01:53:04 AM
Reply #74
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ash73


I've got through a bit more of Rakitin's book today.

I'm suspicious about the backtrack the day before they died, and why they set off so late after making the labaz, it shouldn't take 4-5 hours to dig a small hole for a few supplies. Rakitin suggests Kolevatov was stalling because they were ahead of schedule, but I think something else was going on.

Zina kept her diary religiously so it's very odd she stopped on Jan 30 and doesn't mention any of this.

I've always wondered about that, as well.  It seems so anathema to how this group operated.  They seemed to be quite efficient as far as how they budgeted their energy/movement.  The turn around and late start just never fit in my mind.  I know they talked about getting late starts when they didn't want to get out of the warm tent but even those were leaving camp at like 10 am.  Why bother with a three hour late afternoon hike?  Why wouldn't they have taken the remainder of the day for their rest day and set out fresh the next morning?

I can imagine if Dyatlov wanted to push them he might say let's go up the slope and get used to camping above the treeline while we're still within reach of the forest, but it can't have taken more than an hour or so to dig the labaz, let's say they started at 8:30am they'd be finished by 10am, but they didn't set off until about 2pm, what were they doing the rest of the time? All that time to update their diaries... and nothing.

And why take the stove, and no firewood? Some searchers said it was packed with wood, others it only contained the chimney, either way they'd need extra, but they can't have walked a mile down the mountain barefoot with no tools to get it. Nothing makes sense.

Someone hurry up and build a time machine, so we can find out.

Speaking of which... I see there's a Dr Who story about Dyatlov Pass!
 

February 26, 2021, 07:24:14 AM
Reply #75
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KFinn


I've got through a bit more of Rakitin's book today.

I'm suspicious about the backtrack the day before they died, and why they set off so late after making the labaz, it shouldn't take 4-5 hours to dig a small hole for a few supplies. Rakitin suggests Kolevatov was stalling because they were ahead of schedule, but I think something else was going on.

Zina kept her diary religiously so it's very odd she stopped on Jan 30 and doesn't mention any of this.

I've always wondered about that, as well.  It seems so anathema to how this group operated.  They seemed to be quite efficient as far as how they budgeted their energy/movement.  The turn around and late start just never fit in my mind.  I know they talked about getting late starts when they didn't want to get out of the warm tent but even those were leaving camp at like 10 am.  Why bother with a three hour late afternoon hike?  Why wouldn't they have taken the remainder of the day for their rest day and set out fresh the next morning?

I can imagine if Dyatlov wanted to push them he might say let's go up the slope and get used to camping above the treeline while we're still within reach of the forest, but it can't have taken more than an hour or so to dig the labaz, let's say they started at 8:30am they'd be finished by 10am, but they didn't set off until about 2pm, what were they doing the rest of the time? All that time to update their diaries... and nothing.

And why take the stove, and no firewood? Some searchers said it was packed with wood, others it only contained the chimney, either way they'd need extra, but they can't have walked a mile down the mountain barefoot with no tools to get it. Nothing makes sense.

Someone hurry up and build a time machine, so we can find out.

Speaking of which... I see there's a Dr Who story about Dyatlov Pass!


OMG!  How did I never see that before???!!!!!   
-Ren
 

February 26, 2021, 08:21:12 AM
Reply #76
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ash73


It would an interesting paradox if you went back in the Tardis to save them, and they saw it materialise next to the tent and ran down the slope in a panic. Oops... my bad.
 

February 26, 2021, 09:34:45 AM
Reply #77
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KFinn


It would an interesting paradox if you went back in the Tardis to save them, and they saw it materialise next to the tent and ran down the slope in a panic. Oops... my bad.

Oh, no kidding!!  Kind of like how the Tardis initiated Mt. Vesuvius!  This show, while so fun and cheeky and such, really can be heartbreaking!  And very, very deep.  I've made it through the truck ride to Vizhay but listening has been slow going, today.  I really love how much attention the writer has paid to the personalities of the Dyatlov group!   On one hand, I am really enjoying it!  On the other, I know what ultimately happens to the group.  I'd be the worst companion; I'd screw everything up, never stop trying to change things and I'd wind up a bawling, heaping mass of heart break.  I also have a fascination with angel statues and I'd probably be gone in minutes, lol! 
-Ren
 

February 26, 2021, 12:48:01 PM
Reply #78
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RMK


I access most things from my tablet and in order to translate anything, I have to go to Google translate and enter it in a paragraph at a time.  The browser for this tablet doesn't have a translate function.
Ah, I understand.  This site might be of use to you then.  It's a machine translation of Rakitin's work, although it's not attributed to him/them, and I don't know how similar it is to the book or to the essay on murders.ru.  In particular, its chapter names and numbers don't correspond that well to those of the murders.ru essay or the German edition of the book (I couldn't find the book's Russian table of contents online).  The translation looks pretty rough, too ("woodpeckers" ahoy!).

Reading Rakitin got me to take homicide theories of the DPI seriously (though I have some problems with them as well).  But, I don't buy his elaborate cloak-and-dagger plot about transferring radioactive clothes to foreign spies in the middle of the wilderness.
 

February 26, 2021, 02:26:56 PM
Reply #79
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KFinn


Thank you both for helping me out with Rakitin!! 

Ash73, I have a question for you.  I'm not far into Rakitin yet, obviously.  I know it is generally accepted that Dyatlov and Zina were supposedly dating.  Rakitin mentions it at the beginning, several times, and calls it mutual courtship.  The origin of this is that Igor had Zina's picture in his diary.  The only other evidence that is widely given is Zina's comment in her diary that Igor was being rude and she "hardly recognized him." My personal take on this is somewhat different.  A few sentences before in Zina's diary, she said all of the guys were being rude so she was ignoring them.  I take her comments about Igor to be in that vein; he was being a smart alec and so she wasn't recognizing him (ignoring him.)  I understand not everyone perceives it the same.  I also read her letters to her friends and while she gushed on at length about Yuri, her only mention of Igor is that he is always stuck with his nose in a book and no girls are interested in him (that was a letter to a friend sent right before the hike started...its on the main website here but I don't remember off hand which friend.  I will have to look it back up.). In her hiking diary, she's almost always talking about Rustem; he's teaching her to play the mandolin, they are doing watches together, they sat together to wait for others to catch up... 

What do you think?  It is obvious Yuri broke her heart.  You can feel her sorrow when talking about him.  But I just don't get anything from her on Igor and other than the picture, I don't get anything *from* Igor, either.  Just curious what your thoughts are?  I think the only time it would really matter would be in the case of internal fighting in the group, either as a catalyst event or a stressful response to whatever happened.  Part of me feels like we read way too much into it and part of me just wants Zina to have been happy in love before she died. 
-Ren
 

February 26, 2021, 07:50:03 PM
Reply #80
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ash73


I think Igor was definitely interested in Zina, he wouldn't carry her photo otherwise. Guys don't talk about stuff like that in diaries anyhow.

Zina might have dated him briefly after she split from Yuri, she will have managed her relationship with him carefully because he was the leader, but I think she was still interested in Yuri.

She seemed to spend a lot of time with Rustem, too. And it was Igor, Rustem and Zina who looked to have been in a fight with someone.  I find it very strange to see a woman with fight injuries.

I also think George was interested in Lyuda, there's a photo of him with his arm around her and two of the guys are making fun of it next to them.

There's enough there to create complexity in the group, I'm surprised books dismiss it so easily.
 

February 26, 2021, 08:03:44 PM
Reply #81
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KFinn


I think Igor was definitely interested in Zina, he wouldn't carry her photo otherwise. Guys don't talk about stuff like that in diaries anyhow.

Zina might have dated him briefly after she split from Yuri, she will have managed her relationship with him carefully because he was the leader, but I think she was still interested in Yuri.

She seemed to spend a lot of time with Rustem, too. And it was Igor, Rustem and Zina who looked to have been in a fight with someone.  I find it very strange to see a woman with fight injuries.

I also think George was interested in Lyuda, there's a photo of him with his arm around her and two of the guys are making fun of it next to them.

There's enough there to create complexity in the group, I'm surprised books dismiss it so easily.

Much complexity, yes!!  I know that Thibo's family mentioned thinking he was fond of Lyuda. There is a kind of comfort from seeing the relationships like this; it's a common thing for modern college age young people to be interested in those in their peer group (and to change their interests, lol!) so it makes them feel more real, to me.  I read Zina's letters and she just seems like...I don't want to say "boy crazy" but like a normal young woman who is excited about her prospective relationships.  Its sweet!  But the personal relationships can effect the dynamics, although they also seemed good about trying to keep those dynamics at bay during hikes, for the good of the group. 
-Ren
 

February 26, 2021, 09:48:22 PM
Reply #82
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ash73


Reading Rakitin got me to take homicide theories of the DPI seriously (though I have some problems with them as well).  But, I don't buy his elaborate cloak-and-dagger plot about transferring radioactive clothes to foreign spies in the middle of the wilderness.

You ask a good question in that thread.

"If the DPI was really homicide, but the killers wanted to make it not look like homicide, why didn't they stage or fabricate some non-homicide reason why the hikers exited their tent and subsequently abandoned it?  For example, why didn't the killers manipulate the campsite to make it look like a tent fire or a small avalanche had occurred?"

There isn't a good answer, so perhaps it wasn't their objective.

I'd suggest two possible scenarios:

(a) They weren't trying to kill them only remove them from the scene.
The motive wasn't robbery, money and alcohol were left in the tent. It could be to retrieve camera(s) or something else in the tent (something stolen, or of use to spies), or to eject them from sacred ground (but most think it wasn't sacred), and they didn't anticipate them failing to return due to an accident in the ravine.

(b) They weren't trying to hide it was murder, only who was responsible.
Maybe they thought ejecting them from the tent and removing their warm clothes was the most efficient way to kill them, saves ammunition and minimises risk of identification... but it didn't work because they made a fire, so they had to go after them.

There's physical evidence someone else was there - cut ski pole, puttees, mansi belt, broken ski, 5cm branches can't be cut with pocket knives, etc.

I agree Rakitin's theory is far-fetched, two major problems with it:

1. Why would there be multiple clothes samples with radioactivity, each one adds risk. Only reason I can think of is they were used to wrap something else.

2. Instant switch from sample retrieval to killing spree is illogical, why make no further effort to retrieve the sample if that was their primary mission.

Also, how would the spies get it out of the country? The skyhook is fun but pure Hollywood, there's no way a slow transport aircraft could penetrate 1500km of Soviet airspace. They'd have to get it to the coast and rendezvous with a sub.

I think his description of events near the cedar/ravine is quite good though, he manages to include a lot of the evidence lying around in a logical sequence.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 11:10:53 PM by ash73 »
 

February 26, 2021, 09:58:02 PM
Reply #83
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ash73


p.s. it's odd Rakitin says the wind was blowing UP the slope, I assume that's a mistake, every book I've read so far has a different description of the weather - everything from mild, still conditions to freezing cold, hurricanes and lethal wind chill; and they all put the ravine in different places too.

I'd love to see a proper map of everything, including their route and how far they got each day, and where they were planning to go next.

And if we don't know what the weather was doing, we've got no chance.
 

February 27, 2021, 03:54:25 AM
Reply #84
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ash73


Well, Rakitin left me totally confused, albeit after a very enjoyable (and mad) cold war diversion. I didn't understand the hikers' route, why they had slowed so much Jan 31 - Feb 01, why there was a delay at the labaz, why there was no information in the diaries, and why they camped on an exposed mountain.

Bit of a breakthrough today... I've started reading Clark Wilkins - A Compelling Unknown Force, and in the first 60-70 pages he's given an interesting background to the hikers and answered all those questions logically. Oddly he's done it without any illustrations, so I'm going to plot some of it on a map to check it, but if you're asking yourself those questions his book is worth a try.

I expect the second half will spin off into another crazy theory, but at least I feel comfortable now about what the heck they were doing the day before disaster hit.
 

February 27, 2021, 08:05:28 AM
Reply #85
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KFinn


Well, Rakitin left me totally confused, albeit after a very enjoyable (and mad) cold war diversion. I didn't understand the hikers' route, why they had slowed so much Jan 31 - Feb 01, why there was a delay at the labaz, why there was no information in the diaries, and why they camped on an exposed mountain.

Bit of a breakthrough today... I've started reading Clark Wilkins - A Compelling Unknown Force, and in the first 60-70 pages he's given an interesting background to the hikers and answered all those questions logically. Oddly he's done it without any illustrations, so I'm going to plot some of it on a map to check it, but if you're asking yourself those questions his book is worth a try.

I expect the second half will spin off into another crazy theory, but at least I feel comfortable now about what the heck they were doing the day before disaster hit.

I have strong opinions about Wilkins conclusion but he does make some things more clear.  I will really be curious of your thoughts on this one!!!

I'm really looking forward to the cold war stuff with Rakitin!! 
-Ren
 

February 27, 2021, 12:15:07 PM
Reply #86
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ash73


I have strong opinions about Wilkins conclusion but he does make some things more clear.  I will really be curious of your thoughts on this one!!!

I'm really looking forward to the cold war stuff with Rakitin!!

Very interesting book, 200 pages of light reading is my cup of tea, more relaxing than 500 pages of Rakitin's forceful prose!

I particularly liked the route planning and how they navigated, and there were some good maps towards the end of the book, it's answered a LOT of questions for me. I also like how he approaches things from a different angle, e.g. the point of view of the guide during the search.

I was a bit worried when he hinted at a supernatural entity in the tent (not sure why he even did that), but his walkthrough of subsequent events is pretty good. Igor/Rustem fight is plausible, avalanche causing a fall into the ravine and chest injuries... also plausible.

And the stove. It answers a lot of questions - the nurse saying the bodies were "dirty", cuts in the tent, the tent being pitched the wrong way round so wind got through the flaps and re-ignited embers, the need to evacuate, the snow on the tent, the lantern, and the stove actually being used that night explains a lot.

Of course the big question is, could they really not get stuff out of the tent? I can imagine the panic, they would be overcome by smoke, and it would be tricky to remove the stove, but would they not realise they will die without clothes and tools? Or were they so cold by then, they just had to move?

I'm satisfied the book explains why the tent was on the slope, and why they got delayed, which were the exact questions I had yesterday! It makes more sense than a tent-in-the-woods scenario imo, because the separation explains how Igor and Zina died with only minor injuries.

Overall I like it because it's simple, and a sequence of small mistakes leading to disaster is realistic, and it knits the evidence together pretty well. One small criticism, it's possible they had a sip of vodka to warm up, but I don't believe they would drink enough to affect their judgement.
 

February 27, 2021, 12:33:39 PM
Reply #87
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KFinn


I have strong opinions about Wilkins conclusion but he does make some things more clear.  I will really be curious of your thoughts on this one!!!

I'm really looking forward to the cold war stuff with Rakitin!!

Very interesting book, 200 pages of light reading is my cup of tea, more relaxing than 500 pages of Rakitin's forceful prose!

I particularly liked the route planning and how they navigated, and there were some good maps towards the end of the book, it's answered a LOT of questions for me. I also like how he approaches things from a different angle, e.g. the point of view of the guide during the search.

I was a bit worried when he hinted at a supernatural entity in the tent (not sure why he even did that), but his walkthrough of subsequent events is pretty good. Igor/Rustem fight is plausible, avalanche causing a fall into the ravine and chest injuries... also plausible.

And the stove. It answers a lot of questions - the nurse saying the bodies were "dirty", cuts in the tent, the tent being pitched the wrong way round so wind got through the flaps and re-ignited embers, the need to evacuate, the snow on the tent, the lantern, and the stove actually being used that night explains a lot.

Of course the big question is, could they really not get stuff out of the tent? I can imagine the panic, they would be overcome by smoke, and it would be tricky to remove the stove, but would they not realise they will die without clothes and tools? Or were they so cold by then, they just had to move?

I'm satisfied the book explains why the tent was on the slope, and why they got delayed, which were the exact questions I had yesterday! It makes more sense than a tent-in-the-woods scenario imo, because the separation explains how Igor and Zina died with only minor injuries.

Overall I like it because it's simple, and a sequence of small mistakes leading to disaster is realistic, and it knits the evidence together pretty well. One small criticism, it's possible they had a sip of vodka to warm up, but I don't believe they would drink enough to affect their judgement.

My only really complaint is the stove part.  It wasn't used for cooking; it wasn't built that way.  But some of those details weren't really well known until more recently.  Its amazing the amount of info that is still coming out every year!  At first while I didn't care for him changing events by adding the guide as the one to discover everything, it made the story flow nicely!! 
-Ren
 

February 27, 2021, 01:16:39 PM
Reply #88
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ash73


Yes it reads quite well almost like a novel, makes it easier to digest all the facts. Quite poignant how he summed it up by saying they all died the moment the tent was cut; it didn't matter what they did from then on.

The stove's debateable, but I think it probably has the least problems of the theories I've read so far. I just need to mull it over a bit more.

It's amusing I was baffled by the route, delays and diaries and the very next book I picked up explained them all perfectly!
 

February 28, 2021, 12:57:41 AM
Reply #89
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ash73


Surprised there isn't more discussion about Wilkins' book on the forum, maybe an accidental scenario is not glamorous enough... but the navigation details answer a lot of questions that keep coming up - why was the tent on the slope, etc.

It made me realise the weather was worse than I thought that night, and also the previous day. It wasn't a calm night where murderers and spies could meet up and chase after one another, it was a freezing cold blizzard with deadly windchill.

It's obvious when you look at the photos from just a few hours before.





I couldn't understand why they lugged the stove up the mountain, above the tree line, with no firewood. Of course the answer is obvious, they DID have firewood and they used it. And I can easily imagine a stove incident in those conditions, if they packed away the chimney.

It explains the satirical newspaper, why the tent was collapsed, unfastened guy lines, snow heaped on the tent, cuts in the tent, why they abandoned it so quickly, why the group split, why there was a fight, Yuri's pulmonary edema, why the bodies were dirty, etc.

Also the lack of diary entries, they were too exhausted to fill out their personal diaries after side-stepping up the slope, and the group diary was their official record for the qualification so they didn't mention the navigation shortcuts and adjustments they were making.

Imagine jumping out of a warm tent into those conditions, it would be horrendous. How long would they stay there trying to clear the tent? They probably thought we've got to find shelter and build a fire, then return later, but the fire didn't work... it was too exposed, took too long to get going, they couldn't gather enough wood, and they froze.

You can argue they would have grabbed more clothes, but it made no difference to the outcome. You could also question why a cover-up, it's probably because of who they were (the very details that point us in the wrong direction towards spy theories), and the fact nobody could explain what happened.

If this scenario is the answer, they had no chance of survival but look how hard they tried. Great book, it's made me re-think. One more step down the rabbit-hole... I'm sure the next one will do the same!