In fact, it was some strange details about the skiers themselves that gave rise to a Cold War spy story scenario.
Semyon “Alexander” Zolotaryov*He was Semyon Zolotaryov in his passport, but he presented himself as “Sasha, Alexander” to the group of skiers for unknown reasons., a 37-year-old bachelor, and instructor at a remote tourist center, joined the group at the last minute. He was a veteran with years of combatant experience who fought for the NKVD, and bore an enigmatic tattoo, “DAERMMUAZUAYA”. Until this day, the word remains un-translated into any known language.
Archives of the Ural Polytechnic Institute revealed a remarkable detail about Alexander Kolevatov: before transferring to the Physics-Technical department at the UPI, he worked in Moscow as a laboratory assistant in a top-secret scientific facility, an unnamed “atomic” institute known as “P.O. Box No. 3394”. And Yuri Krivonischenko worked in a most notorious “P.O. Box*“P.O. Box” refers to secret cities that did not have names, but only had mailbox numbers to where one could send a letter. For example, P.O. Box 16 or Arzamas-16.” – the plant “Mayak*“The Lighthouse”” in Chelyabinsk-4010, where a massive nuclear disaster, second in severity only to Chernobyl, occurred in 1957.
Researcher Aleksei Rakitin is certain that this peculiar fellowship was not gathered by a whim of chance. Behind the biographies of Zolotaryov, Kolevatov, and Krivonischenko, the brooding shadow of the KGB is distinct.
The true objective of the ski trek, unbeknownst to the other seven members, was to deliver radioactive samples to a group of agents of the CIA*In 1957, a case had been made public at a Congressional hearing: a fur hat with radioactive dust settled on it, smuggled from a military plant in Siberia and delivered to the USA, provided the Americans with extensive information about the products manufactured in the secret city of Tomsk-7., and to take pictures of the spies. The latter had been under the guise of ordinary tourists camping at the Mountain of the Dead.
The meeting took place on February 1st, but something went wrong, and the Americans realized that the trio was playing a double game. A conflict ensued: a fight, torture and the brutal massacre of the entire group.
Thrilling as it is, Rakitin’s story did not altogether impress the friends of the Dyatlovs. Vladislav Karelin regards it as a red herring. “They were tough guys. To scare the daylights out of them you would need something extraordinary, something astonishing”.