Semyon Alexandrovich Zolotaryov (Sasha)

Semyon Alexandrovich Zolotaryov

Born on Feb. 2, 1921, Russian Federation

He was the oldest and also the most mysterious member of the group. He asked to called Sasha and that's the name he appears in many documents and memoirs. In fact, his given name is Semyon and came from the North Caucasus (from the Kuban Cossacks, from the village of Udobnoy on the border with the Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic), where he regularly went to his mothers. Born in the family of a paramedic, he belonged to the generation most affected by the Great Patriotic War. The draft of 1921-22 had only about 3% survival rate. Semyon went through the entire war in the Armed Forces from October 1941 to May 1946. He became a candidate member of the CPSU (b) in 1944, was a Komsomol functionary of a battalion, joined the party after the war. Had 4 military awards. Semyon Zolotaryov's military past has a special role in the events of the tragic night. After the war, Semyon tried to continue his military career - in June 1945 he entered the Moscow Military Engineering School, which, however, almost immediately underwent a reduction. In April 1946, Zolotaryov transferred to the Leningrad Military Engineering School as part of the course, but apparently it was not meant for him to serve in the army, as this school was cut down as well. In the end, Semyon Zolotaryov found himself at the Minsk Institute of Physical Education (GIFKB), which he successfully graduated in 1951. In the mid-50's he worked as a tourist instructor at the tourist center "Artybash" (Altai), then moved to the Sverdlovsk region, where he got a job as a senior tourism instructor at the Kourovka camp site. However, before the very hike to Otorten, along with the group of Igor Dyatlov, Zolotaryov left Kourovka. He was single, which looked rather unusual for that time, had tattoos and gold false teeth (the latter indicated the prosperity of their owner, in those years the main material of dental prostheses was steel). Zolotaryov's tattoos are very interesting, among them there were images of a five-pointed star, strange shape like beets-heart-fire (in the case files says beets), the name "Гена" (Guena), his year of birth "1921", ДАЕРММУАЗУАЯ (DAERMMUZAUAYA), "Г+С+П=Д", this was common among Soviet soldiers who served together for a long time. Russian letter "Д" stands for "дружба" (friendship). The three letters were first letters of the three soldiers. "С" stood for "Семен", Semyon in Russian. Others two names are unknown. Then we have "Г + С", as well as individual letters "C" next to the star and beets-heart-fire. Most of Zolotaryov's tattoos were hidden by clothing and the rest of the Dyatlov group members didn't know anything about them.

He died on his 38th birthday. Zolotaryov is buried on May 12, 1959, in Ivanovskoe cemetery, Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia.

The discussion between Igor Dyatlov and Semyon Zolotaryov on 31 Jan 1959
The discussion between Igor Dyatlov and Semyon Zolotaryov on 31 Jan 1959

Zolotariov made Lyuda uneasy: she suspected that he felt used to being in charge, and wondered if that might be a problem. The fact that the group now included one leader aged 23 and one aged 37 could cause some tension. On the day of their departure January 23, she wrote in her diary: "At first, no one wanted him in the group because he’s complete stranger, but then we got over it and he’s coming. We couldn’t just refuse to take him."

Everyone knew that the inclusion of this stranger in the group had been orchestrated by the local Communist Party Committee. Fellow student Valentin Bogomolov recalls how eager the Zolotaryov was to finish the trek as soon as possible, giving the impression he was in a big hurry to perform some other duty afterwards.

During the trek the students seem to have accepted and bonded to Zolotaryov. He knew new songs which is always impressive, and being form different generation and walk of life, Zolotaryov had knowledge about things that was interesting to the rest of the group. Zolotaryov participated but also kept his distance, he was with them for the trek, but then he knew that he will be off on his way. He didn't try to impose or correct. Not until the circumstances called for survival, and then the group split in two under the cedar tree. Igor Dytalov and Zina Kolmogorova went off in one direction, we don't know if Slobodin was conscious and if he made it to the cedar tree at all. Lyuda, Kolevatov, Thibeaux-Brignolles and Zolotaryov headed further into the ravine where most probably it was Zolotaryov's idea to dig up a den and prepare for overnight in the snow. His mobilization when being attacked and switching into a survival mode is triggered by Zolotaryov's military experience. Lyuda Dubinina who was reserved to accept him in the group now chose to go with him in the face of life threat.


Semyon Zolotaryov documents


Dyatlov Pass: Open Discussion
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