Could it be that the pursuit of lucre led to the deaths?
It is at least possible that people engaged in private gold mining up in the Urals may have killed the Dyatlov group.
According to the memories of the descendants of Aleksey Cheglakov, who was one of the residents of Vizhay and a member of the search team, people in 2-nd Severniy dug for gold. There were vertical shafts of 1.5 x 1.5 metres in the area, out of which, with the help of special rigs, rocks were brought to the surface. According to residents of Vizhay, it was even easier to mine in the winter than in summer. Water didn’t flow into the holes in the winter, so extraction was increased. Gold mining also continued in the unfrozen mountain rivers throughout winter.
During Tsarist times, there were over 200 private mines in these areas. The concentration of gold varied from location to location. Before the First World War, people panned for gold freely; afterwards, however, the situation changed. People had to receive permission from the Tsar to open the mines. Regardless, people continued to mine for gold.
In a private interview, Vladimir Androsov, who was born in the area and was now an emergency services coordinator at Nyagan airport, said one of the hunter guides, Ivan Pashin himself, panned for gold.
In their memoirs, the members of the search party mentioned that the Mansi would bring sand and skins to the helicopter pilots in exchange for vodka and assorted products. It’s not hard to guess that this was gold sand.
Retired KGB colonel Nikolai Artemov, who worked as an investigator in the north Urals for many years, said,
‘I believe, in 1959, there was a brigade of convicts who panned for gold’. And then, ‘They [the Dyatlov group] were probably just disposed of as witnesses’.
Is it possible one of the people, who met the hikers on their path, could have told them what the local camp administration was up to? The Stalinist practice of anonymous denunciation might still have been taking place. The Dyatlov group was from Sverdlovsk, and it’s possible one member of the group could have been asked to pass some anonymous letter to the corresponding authorities. In any case, the group of friends came to the settlement, saw the workers there, and visited a drill sample laboratory in the settlement.
From the diary of Kolmogorova: ‘Uncle Slava is leaving on his horse today, together with Yura Yudin. He took several samples. It was the first time in my life I had seen saw such drill cores. These places are rich in chalcopyrite and pyrite’.
The gold miners might have been worried that the group of young people had stumbled upon evidence of illegal gold mining in Severniy. The core sample itself could even have contained gold. Nikolai Artemov, the retired KGB colonel, tells a story about how mine tailings had created a waste dump which was used during the construction of a road from Ivdel to the Gidroliznii settlement. At first a KAMAZ (a type of truck) was used to take the waste to the dump, but when it was found there was gold in the dump, they began to take it back.
The killers might have followed the group, moving along the same track both there and back. It probably wouldn’t have been the same convicts who mined for gold, but a special detachment sent by those who organized the mine.
In 2012, Artemov was interviewed by Komsomolskaya Pravda – the famed Russian newspaper, who said that whole area is full of gold. He thinks the state probably kept it as a reserve, since there’s no industrial production there.
So Dyatlov’s group could have become aware of information that was unsafe for them, and the people who organized the illegal gold mine might have decided to eliminate them.
This is just one of many theories of what might have happened on the slope of Cholat Syakhl on that hellish night of February 2, 1959.
To know my opinion and to answer the question about the evidence of a possible third-party presence, read my book “Don’t Go There” available at Amazon.
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