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The books by Dmitri Bayanov and their secrets
Bayanov is chairman of the Relict Hominid Seminars at the Darwin Museum in Moscow and, next to Koffmann, the most well known representative of Russian cryptozoology. He knows not only the western literature concerning unknown primates very well, but is probably the foremost authority on the rich literature, most of which is either unknown in the West or very difficult to obtain, which exists on the subject in Russian language.
Particularly because of this, his book In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, was awaited with great interest in the West. He announced it in Bigfoot Co-op, vol. 15, December 1994. He wrote about his book: "(...) With all its import for science, the book is meant for the English-speaking reader.(...)". He asked the readers of Bigfoot Co-op to help him to find book distributors so that he could get enough orders for his book. The book was published in 1996. To everyone's surprise, the majority of the book consisted of already published material, mostly in Co-op. For those readers who are interested in the subject, everything is already well known. In Bayanov's announcement of the book this was not mentioned. Those readers who had been following the interesting reports or English translations from Bayanov expected, after the announcement, that now no political control existed, the previously unknown material would be published. They bought the book and were disappointed.
The book quotes, as well, long citations from Russian articles whose existence is known in the West, and, for example, already from Shackley (1983), mentioned. But, for the reader who is not familiar with the articles from Koffmann (1965) and Pushkarev (1978), there is no indication that they are severely edited. It is simalr with tha Yakut true story. The uninformed reader is not told from which earlier Russian publications the information and the report comes. The book, Urankhai Sakhalar, by the Soviet historian and ethnographer G.V. Ksenofontov is cited, but where and when was it published? The same is true for the report by Alexander Pronin. He is very important in the history of cryptozoology, because, he not only caused a rash of publications on the subject of the "snowman" in the Soviet Union, but also in other countries in eastern Europe in the fifties and sixties. These and other similar examples show that the statement on the cover of the book, "The information is given in full detail", is not applicable.
The most striking thing is, however, that "Russian researchers themselves" wrote a book about the 'Snowman' in Russia and the bibliography doesn't mention one single book on the subject in Russian. A really astonishing fact. Instead, the bibliography mentions, among others, the article An investigation of the orang-pendek, the 'Short man' of Sumatra by Deborah Martyr (1990). What has this unknown Sumatran primate to do with Russia's 'Snowman'?
In the text of the book, the author mentions the well known monograph by Boris Porchnev The present State of the Problem of the Question of relict Hominoids (Moscow, 1963) and one of Bykovas books, A legend for Grownups. Thoughts on secretive Animals, without giving the place or year of publication. The reader, to whom the Russian literature is unknown, must get the impression that otherwise only books which argue against the existence of unknown hominids exist. "The State had the monopoly of both science and book publishing, it followed that no book on the snowman, except ones that were dergoratory, in accordance with the official point of view, could hence be published in Russia." wrote Bayanov (1996, p.6-7). But this is incorrect and there are a number of books in Russian which deal exclusively with the "snowman" in Russia.. They are an important part of world literature on the subject.
Only a few of these books can be mentioned here: Razek, Vladimi.: The riddle of the Snowman, Tashkent, 1962 (in Russian); Bykova, Maya.: He is, though he must not be. Moscow, 1991 (in Russian); Sapunov, Valentin.: Snowman: Is the solution of the secret imminent? Moscow, 1991 (in Russian). By the way, the second book by Sapunov comes out in Moscow, 1996: Think about the Snowman, (in Russian). Worthy of mention is the book by Pavel Marikovski The tragedy of the Wild- (' Snow'-) Men, Alma-Ata, 1992, and the interesting collection The snowman, myth or reality?, Alma-Ata, 1990, edited by Marikovski. This book also includes contributions from Bayanov himself and from Russian authors who are unknown in the West. Other books exist apart from these about our topic in Russian. And, of course, a lot of others which contain only one or several chapters on the wildman in the area of the former Soviet Union. Only two examples for such books: Kiselev, Fedor; Losozev, Youri; Martynov, Vjacheslav; Mosolov, Alexander and Heinrich Silanov: UFO in Voronesh, Voronesh, 1990. One chapter of this book reports about the investigations of Igor Tatsl in the Pamirs. Further should be mentioned: Mesenzev, Vladimir: Encyclopedy of Miracles, Alma-Ata, 1989. The bibliography in Bayanov's book, about the 'Snowman' in Russia, does not include one single reference to a Russian book on the subject. Why?
It this connection it is interesting to note that the authors, Valentin Sapunov and Pavel Marikovski, are biologists and professors. Bayanov (1997, p. 101) cites one opponent of the Russian snowman research, professor Vereshchagin, in depth. The reader does not learn that there are also professors who have been working for a long time as specialists on this subject and do not doubt the existence of the 'Snowman'. Why not?
Hundreds of highly interesting newspaper articles exist in the Russian language, like those out of regional newspapers with reports from eyewitness's and those to do with folklore. If one follows the logic of the bibliography of Bayanov's book, the Ukumar Zupai: Yeti argentin (Lara Palmeros, 1995) is more important for the reader than articles from Russian newspapers and magazines, of which hundreds exist in the author's archives. For the reader, who is interested in the 'Snowman' in Russia, these remain unknown. Two such articles are mentioned in the text: the Canyon of the Mystery and the second from the Magadanskaya Pravda, without number and year.
Wasn't there enough space to mention more Russian literature? Or did the author tailor the bibliography especially for the English-speaking reader and therefore not select more Russian literature? Neither of these can be true. The bibliography names three Russian articles translated into English without mentioning that Asia and Africa Today is a Russian magazin. But two of these Russian articles ( On the trail of Yeren and The Puzzle of the 'Iceman' ), have nothing to do with the 'Snowman' in Russia. The third (The Abominable Snowman, by Igor.Bourtsev), is a general overview that mentions nothing which has not already been published in the West. Obviously, these three articles have an alibi function. A really strange bibliography.
Overall it must be recognised, that this book does not reflect the real state of knowledge of Russian hominologists. Interesting new developments and important research results are not mentioned. The reader who is aware of the extent of the Russian material, gets the impression that the book was not put together to give those who were interested detailed information about the Russian 'Snowman'. "With all its import for science (...)" wrote Bayanov in announcing his book. Can such a book be really important for science? For which scientists? In our opinion, it can not be the intention by the author to inform his western readers "in full detail" on the "Snowman" in Russia. One suspects that the author, in a time of permanent economic problems, only wanted to earn some money with his book.
Of All Lands, Unite, To Show Humankind What Is true And Right!"
called Bayanov (1994, p.9). But sometimes he seems to prefer not to
tell humankind the whole truth, especially hominologists outside Russia.
The author does not mention the titel and place of publication of his own, obviously first book, unknown in the West, on the subject. Why? Also the extensive cryptozoological bibliography by Michel Raynal, who is in his Institut Virtuel de Cryptozoologie together with Koffmann, Bayanov and Porchnev among the great names of cryptozoology, mentions none of the above or other Russian books on the subject. In addition, there exists other material, printed on behalf of Russian cryptozoologists, which is unknown in the West. Bayanov doesn't mention them. For example, the following brochure who's author is Koffmann: Cryptozoology, new approach on investigations on the fauna. Teberda, 1990 (in Russian). It is an introduction to Cryptozoology and names some Russian cryptids. We know about the existence of other printed material held under lock and key. When one day this material becomes available in the West it might supply a new picture of cryptozoolo- gical research in Russia.
"Hominologist Of All Lands, United ...! " calls Bayanov (1994, p. 9) to the hominologists of the world. In that direction, there would seem to be a lot to be done in Russia. In his book, he doesn't write sympathetically about the St. Petersburg society of cryptobiology: " (...) Simultaneously, a group of enthusiasts in Leningrad established the <<Snowman>> Association, made up maily of young people bent on a mix of hominology, UFO-logy, parapsychology, etc. Ours, on the contrary, follows strictly biological lines, in keeping with the ISC principles. (...) ". The St. Petersburg society of cryptobiology works under the leadership of the biologist Dr Valentin Sapunov. He has published many interesting papers in Russia and we have already mentioned his books. Koffmann also concerned herself with UFO´s (Gris and Dick, 1979, p. 191).
During talks with Koffman, a member of our group also asked her about some well known Russian cryptozoologists. She spoke well about Bayanov but, surprisingly, was very negative about some of the others, including professor Valentin Sapunov and his group as well as about Igor Bourtsev and his work methodology and opinions. About Igor Tatsl, veteran researcher in the Pamirs, she said, "He's a second Bourtzev!". After the experiences with Koffmann, that appears to be a sign of Bourtzev's reliability. An indication in this direction is also the fact that Bourtzev wrote a favourable postscript in Sapunov's book (Moscow, 1991) . Obviously, he judged the work of the St. Petersburg cryptobiologists differently than Bayanov and Koffmann. After the experiences with Koffmann and the described information policy of the RSC, there are grounds for believing that certain members of the RSC intended the unification of the world's hominologists to mean the unification of money and equipment from the West in their hands.
Bayanov's third book America´s Bigfoot: Fact, not Fiction, ( Moscow, 1997) is solely concerned with the investigation by Russian researchers into the Patterson-Gimlin film. Also in Russia the 'snowman' has been filmed. The book also shows part of the difficulties under which researchers had to work under the political constraints of the old Soviet Union. The discussion over the authenticity of the film will probably only be resolved when new evidence is published. Perhaps this is already in the hands of researchers. Grover S. Krantz (1992) does not mention the investigation of the film by the Russians. " (...) Yet not a word about it in Krantz´s book.There is a venerable scientific tradition to give credit to one´s predecessors in research. Why Krantz broke the tradition in this case I really don´t know." wrote Bayanov about it on page 210 of his third book (1997). We try here to find an explanation as to why the RSC, in our opinion, broke several venerable traditions. A much more interesting book than a new contribution to the Patterson-Gimlin film could have the title The Secret Russian 'Snowman' Materials: Fact, not Fiction. But, possibly such a book will, one day, be written by western researchers.
The most comprehensive and important collection of material concerning the 'Snowman' of Eurasia is not, as popularly supposed, about the Yeti of the Himalayas, but about the humanoid primates in the former Soviet Union. This collection is the result of decades of research in the area where, even to this day, populations of such primates exist. No mention is made in Bayanov´s book (1996), in the English language, of the real state of knowledge among Russian hominologists concerning any of the regions covered and the reader must get a false impression of the attainment. Those who have a conception of the abundant Russian material can be forgiven for wating to write a postscript for each region covered pointing out the omitted research results which are more important than those selected by the author. This can be illustrated using the example of the Kola Peninsular because the events there received the most detailed and extensive eye-witness account in Bayanov´s book from 1996. In addition, this section probably impressed many readers most of all.
The author published a report from Leonid Yershov which he had translated. This stated that a group of teenagers had, during the summer 1988, contact over several days to a hominoid, which they named Afonya, in the centre of the Kola Peninsular.
Now and again assisted by Yershov and other researchers, Bykova worked over several years after 1988 in the Lovozero area. Her expeditions lastes several months and were supported by KAMAZ, a large Russian company. The cabin on lake Lovozero was her base. These expeditions resulted in a number of important results and many new eye-witness accounts
Bayanov reported nothing about events after 1988, despite the fact that these took place long before his English books appeared. Because of this, here is an abbreviated listing of some of the findings of the Kola expeditions in so far as they were published by Bykova:
Naturally, some people questioned the very unusual research results announced. Bykova had expected this and often mentioned other expeditions members who witnessed the events in her publications; among them the researchers Viktor Rogov, Michail Gavrilov, V. Tepljakov and J. Gubenko. Despite the abundance of reported observations and results, it is obvious from Bykova´s articles that many of her findings are only hinted at, if mentioned at all. She states, for example, that she received confirmation of her suspicion that Afonya did not coincidentally return again and again to the cabin, but fails to mention what that confirmation was. Place names in the Lovozero region are only indicated by their first letter. One can gues that Bykowa did not publish all her essential findings.
Stimulated by Bykova´s and other publications, new Russian expeditions, independent of the RSC, set off for Kola and this led Bykova to appeal to her readers not to disturb her research work (Bykova 1989, p. 37).
The unusual meeting between the teenagers and Afonya, which became the reason for years of field work, was probably no coincidence. Partly, it can be explained by the special features of the locality. The cabin stands in the woods on the small strip of land between the shore of lake Lovozero and the steep slopes of the Lovozero Tundra Mountains, which form the eastern part of the central mountain range of the Kola Peninsular and rise to over 1000 metres. That part of the range, at the foot of which the cabin stands, was at the time of the meeting a nature reserve unfrequented by hunters, tourists and Reindeer herds. The cabin stands on a spot which for the arctic region affords particulary favourable conditions for vegetation growth. For this reason the evergreen woodland (Piceetum myrtilloso-empetrosum) at the side of the cabin is very dense and has deep undergrowth unususal for the region as a whole. This biotope offers protection and a variety of food for a large mammal not generally found on the Kola Peninsular, which is in great parts covered by loose stands of Betula, Sorbus and Pinus.
The settlement Lovozero, from where the teenagers came, lies in the interior of the peninsular and is the most eastern inhabited place in the Tundra. It has about two thousand permanent residents. Further eastwards, only smaller outposts exist which are only accesssible by boat or helicopter and some of these are only occasionally inhabited.
During the researches of SGP members in the Lovozero region, where former Norwegian researchers were already working, they met local inhabitants who were able to confirm some of the events published by Bykova. Articles which appeared at the time in regional newspapers add to the picture of the field work after 1988. However, Yershov´s statment in his report that Afonya tossed a pole over a 40 metre firtree, cannot be true. Trees of this size do not exist in the region where, inside the polar circle at latitude 68°, extreme climatic variations occur. Those trees growing at the edge of lake Lovozero reach, at most, a height of 20 metres and only then due to the paticulary favourable conditions afforded by the shelter of the neighbouring mountains.
The surrounding area of the legendary cabin is today covered by nitrogen reliant plants, evidence that humans lived at this spot in the woodland Tundra for a long time. A member of our study group found a number of unusual, large accumulators, discarded near the cabin in the woods. This type of accumulator is not used in the hunting and fishing cabins of the region. Bykova had set her group the task of photographig the mainly nocturnal creature (Bykova 1990, p. 58). Since her group did not possess a strong flaslight, it can be assumed that these accumulators formed part of an lighting installation that was installed around the cabin. We do not know if the primate was successfully photographed. (M.-J. Koffmann had also planned to use such an installation in the Caucasus.)
Bayanov surprised some of his readers, three years after the publication of his book "In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman", with the acknowledgment, "... I happened to read a booklet which made me fear my book misses the most important story of all." (1999, p. 3). He goes on to mention a brochure, with the title Avdoshki, where the story could be found. This fifty-one page brochure was published in Russia already in 1996 and contains reports by the author, Oleg Ivanov, about his meetings with the "snowman" during his life and about his friend, a 'snowman' researcher, 'Alexander Komlev'. The content of this brochure is of doubtful veracity. The author, Oleg Ivanov, himself admitted "he added some fiction to a true story..." (Bayanov 1999, p. 5), to promote sales of the brochure. For example, in the chapter "Meeting on the Khubku river", Ivanov claimed that he found 'snowman' footprints in the forest and followed them. They led him to a place on the river where an entire 'snowman' family, two adults with son and daughter, were fishing. Ivanov approached the family to within ten (!) metres and observed them from his hiding place. Those being observed were so engaged with their fishing that they did not notice Ivanov. After the catch, the family sat in a circle and ate the food. Because of the short distance, Ivanov was able to hear the grinding of teeth as the family ate the fish. He left his observation point unnotices. (Ivanov 1996, p. 26).
is not certain as to wether Ivanov´s friend, 'Alexander Komlev', who
supposedly lived many years with the 'Snowman', really existed. It will
probably not be possible to ascertain the truth about Avdoshki
and the brochure is at the best a mixture of reality and invention.
It is noteworthy however that Bayanov, for the first time in one of
his English publications to our knowledge, mentions a Russian monograph
about the 'Snowman' which appeared independent of the RSC or its predecessors.
Perhaps is this fact we established from Bayanov´s bibliography in May
1999 no coincidence. One can only wait with eager anticipation to see
if the author has further such surprises in his further publications.
A member of our study group received the information, that Oleg Ivanov
is planning to write a book about the 'Snowman'. Maybe his new book
will be the most important story about the Russian 'Snowman'.