The cuts of the tent appear to be made with two different knives. The first one was rather blunt because it left fringe and even didn’t cut some of the threads.
The seond one was made with a very sharp blade. It easily went through the steam and left the edges looking even.
But it also looks like no one tried to use it to tear the fabric down. What was it’s purpose and did the students have a blade that sharp?
Back in 1959 in the former USSR it was a big deal to have a Finnish knife. It was considered as a “cold weapon” and one would need to get an oficial permission from police to have it. From the Crimianl Case we know that Kolevatov had this kind of permission for his knife. No pictures of this knife and Kolevatov himself (seems like he was a pretty private person in general) which make some people speculate that he was a KGB agent. We see that Tibo had a knife – he kept it pretty much hidden from the sight but it can be spotted on some pictures. He had no permission for it and thus it was not returned to his family. As for Krivonishenko – it seems like this guy was the only one who deliberately displayed his weapon while not having a permission to have it. The knife was never returned to the family for the same reason.
In fact, all three Finnish knives were in the tent. Tibo and Krivonishenko’s knives were found in their taurpalin’s pockets (CC, Vol 2, p.41) (“taurpalin” is a wind proof jacket) which would imply that the knives had never left the tent.
From Captain Chernyshov’s official statement: ‘It’s possible to surmise that other people had since been by the fire…The trees near the fire had been cut with knives, but we found no knives with the bodies.’
In his closing statement, Lev Ivanov, however, mentioned Krivonischenko’s knife as a possible tool for cutting the trees and stated that it was found in the ravine next to the last four bodies. This is inconsistent not only with the Criminal Case entries mentioned above but also with “The scene inspection report” dated May 6th, 1959, which goes into great detail about everything found there, including number and kinds of trees as well as clothing but never mentions any knives having been found. The document was signed by prosecutor Tempalov and several others including Askinadze who is still alive and testified about what they had seen there. (CC Vol. 1 pp. 341-343) One can guess that Lev Ivanov had a commitment to close the case at any cost and so he made this evidence up in order to explain the situation with the tree pad.
In fact, we still don’t know with which knife the tent was cut and whether it really was cut from inside. The most agrumented reason for the assumption can be found in Natalia Sakharova account of the tent expertise. Yuri Kuntsevich, the head of the Dyatlov foundation in Ekaterinburg, said he still doesn’t exclude the possibility that the tent had been cut from outside. According to him, it very well could be that somebody first pierced the tent’s material and than turned the blade of his knife and ripped the fabric through making it look like if it was done from inside.
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