In the August 2002 Jordi Magraner, the Spanish zoologist, was murdered in North Pakistan while conducting fieldwork on unknown hominids. Since 1987 he worked in the Chitral region and was the first to do systematic research there. His expedition resulted in a number of findings including footprints, hair samples and eyewitness accounts.
The fieldwork methodology practised by Magraner promised to be highly successful if it had been continued for a longer time. The correctness of this style of working was one of the important conclusions reached by researchers in Eurasia during the last century: Tailored to budget restriction on time, personnel etc. the researcher chose a limited working area to achieve the highest possible precision in obtaining population size, migration etc. data. He or she worked for many years in the area, learned the local languages and dialects to gain the trust and friendship of local people which enabled a better understand of their psychology and values.
The differences between oriental and occidental thinking are normally totally undervalued and misunderstood. Herien lies one of the main causes of conflict between the two worlds in the present time. Oriental thinking ia also a prerequisite for the close coexistence of Homo sapiens and non-sapien hominids in this region and for the occasional lifelong relationship between members of both species, even today.
Magraner´s field investigation supplemented our knowledge about unknown hominids in Asia and it is to be hoped that his colleagues will continue his work. His death also shows how dangerous many potentially promising Eurasian research areas have become in the recent years. Magraner´s work on the question of unknown hominids is important enough, although unfinished due to his tragic fate, that it should never be forgotten.
Gregory Konstantinovich Panchenko  (*1966) is a biologist from the east Ukrainian metropolis Kharkov, where he studied at the Kharkov state university. Like many others he started his field work as a student in Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmanns team. According to her, he has participated in her expeditions in the Caucasus since 1984.  But according to the journalist Matt Salusbury Panchenko first heard about Almasty during his military service in 1986 from Georgians who had seen it. He got Koffmann's confidence and became one of her closest young coworkers. His name first became known in the west through the publications of Dmitri Bayanov and Koffmann in 1992: According to them, he had in the Caucasus a night-time encounter with a creature, which is thought to have been a Almasty, near the village of Sarmakovo in Kabardino-Balkaria, in 1991. 
Today he belongs to the close circle of the Moscow “hominologists” around Dmitri Bayanov, Marie-Jeanne Koffmann, Vadim Makarov and Michael Trachtengerts and he is one of the few researchers of the younger generation who has access to all the results of more than 40 years of field research of this group and their coworkers in the former Soviet Union. This was also possible for him because he has explicitly followed the confidentiality policy of this group regarding selected field results and special Russian literature. Considering this knowledge and his education, Panchenko today must be considered one of the most important specialists for field work in the northern Caucasus, following Koffmann. Some results of his Caucasus expedition in 2005 he published in the German periodical Pterodactylus. He works in the same region as Koffmann and in close cooperation with her: In western Kabardino-Balkaria, mainly in the Zolsk district. According to Matt Salusbury, he directs a cryptozoological organisation in the Ukraine. He is a board member of the Moscow Russian Society of Cryptozoologists. 
In October 2007, he held a lecture in Great Britain about the Almasty in the Caucasus. His lecture contained mostly general statements about the ecology and ethology of these hominids, but he also made some significant statements, such as: ” […] But in the end of the 1990s […] we heard that in some regions the extinction of Almasty stopped.” Locals observed again juvenile specimen of Almasty. An unusual colar bone has been found by the group of A. Sidorenko. He further explained that he could hear the screams of the hominids four times – not only during one expedition. Panchenko lives since several years in Hannover / Niederachsen, Germany. According to Fortean Times, he is working there as a "recruiter of Russian science personnel". However, in Hannover he declared several times that he lives from his income as a writer of books and articles, which he publishes mainly in the Ukraine and Russia.
In the Ukraine, he is a well-known author of fantasy and science fiction literature. Short biographies outlining his writing activities may be found of the website of Zvedzdnij Most, an annual fantasy festival which takes place every year in Kharkov, and in the Russian Fantasy: Who is Who? He won a literature prize for his most recent book in this field: Gorizonty Oruzhija (Horizons of Weapons, 2007). He regularly participates in literature conferences and festivals of the fantasy and science fiction scene in Russia and Ukraine. Among others he held lectures at the fantasy festival Portal 2005 in Kiev and in May 2008 at the European Science Fiction convention Eurocon-2008 in Moscow. The subject of his lecture in Moscow was current German fantasy literature. He has also publishes on historical weapons and the art of fighting. Among others his articles may be found in Russian journals such as Real'nost' Fantastiki (Reality of Fantasy) Kempo, and Partner-Nord, a regular Russian-language journal published in Hannover. Some of his articles in this journal can be read in the website of Partner-Nord. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Ochevidnoe Neverojadnoe (Obviously Unbelievable) which appears in Kharkov in Russian language since April 2008. This first number contains articles on cryptozoology, flying saucers, futural architecture, "electrical tanks" and others.
In addition to his real name, he also publishes, among others, under the pseudonyms Christopher Lawrence McNamara , Isaak Bromberg  and Grigorij Urinson. Urinson is the last name of his father, Konstantin, with whom he lives together in Hannover. Together with his father and grandmother Panchenko arrived during the wave of Ukrainian immigration to Germany from 1999-2001. He is registered under the name “Pachenko” at this Hannover address.
Andreas Braun, June 2008 - August 2010
I learned that he had spent most of his life the village Sarmakovo, Zolsk district, where he lived in the village centre in Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann’s close neighborhood. Since the 1962 until today Sarmakovo is the research center of the Moscow "hominologists" in the Caucasus. One of the first facts that emerged was that, in all of the publications I know of, his nickname “Dina” is given rather than his first name. He even signed his publication of his own encounter with “D. Didanov.” His real name was Sagid Medovich Didanov (on the photo with his granddaughter in 2000 in his home in Baksan). During my first talk with him, he described his encounter once again, at my wish: In the 1950s, he was spending the night with herders in a hut in the mountains. At night, a strange, hairy woman with long, disheveled hair came into the hut and ate from a kettle filled with meat and broth. Shocked, he asked the old herder lying next to him: “What was that?” The old man explained that he shouldn’t pay attention to this being. According to Didanov, this occurred in the Mushta valley, just as he had published himself. 
As he was describing his encounter, he mentioned what happened next, which not included in all the current known publications of this encounter: the old herder, who had seen the Almasty together with Didanov, announced that she would return in the coming night, which also happened. Didanov quotes him as saying the following words: “ […] And he said: `She’ll come again tomorrow. If we’re here, she’ll come every day […]. And the next day he said: `Today we cooked some meat, and there’s also bread, so she’ll definitely come.”  According to Didanov, the Almasty also appeared in the second night. He explained: “On the second night, she came again, looked around attentively, saw the stove, took some meat, and quietly, quietly left.” He stressed that by then he wasn’t afraid like he was the first time, because he had expected her to appear. On the third day, he left the place. He did not have any further encounters. Didanov does not mention in his own article that the Almasty came again. When asked about this, he said that it did not seem important to him.
For the field researcher who is searching for Almasty, a return to the same place is significant. Regarding the return of Almasty to a specific place, Koffmann writes the following: “The times in which the hominid consistently appears alone or in groups, usually attracted by a meal, occurs in the past […] Today, these stories are rare and are completely outside the patterns of our current statistics. In order to find him, there is one rule to follow: If an Almasty is seen in a certain place today, one only loses time when one waits on him, unless there are unusual circumstances.”  Alain and Katja Mahuzier quote Koffmann as follows: “Paradoxically, I said to my friends that one doesn’t need to follow or stalk an Almasty that was seen today, because he’ll maybe come again in two years or three months, but certainly not on the next day.” 
Koffmann’s close coworker since the early 1980s, Gregory Panchenko, has also expressed this opinion in his book Catalogue of Monsters (2002): "A paradox among the cryptozoologists who work in the Caucasus can be summed up in the following formulation: If some local observer saw an Almasty yesterday, he will probably not return to the area for a year. When – and even if – he returns is completely unknown." The same he declared in a lecture he held in 2007 in the UK. But in a non published report about his encounter in the Kuruko valley in 1991, translated by Koffmann from Russian into French, Panchenko writes: “According to our knowledge of the ethology of the Almasty, we could expect further visits.” […] “We know that the Almasty will visit a certain place many times after another, but as soon as his visits end, that’s it for a long time.”  In an intern publication of the Moscow Russian Society of Cryptozoologists (RSC) and not available for the public until 2005, Dr. Mikhail Trachtenherz, one of the vice presidents of the RSC, published recommendations for behaving after an encounter with a hominid that was a surprise: On the next day, the researcher should leave food at the encounter location. If the food isn’t taken, different food should be left at the same time the next day. Trachtenherz: “One can assume that the baiting method is one of the richest in perspective.” According to questionnaires conducted on the Kabardinian and Balkarian population by the German study group, there are also cases today in which the Almasty visited a certain locality numerous times in a few days, particularly in connection with food.
According to Sagid Didanov, his publication I saw such a being about his encounter in a local newspaper peaked also the interest of one of the powerful men of the former Soviet Union: Alexej Adshubei, the son-in-law of the Soviet Party - and State leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev. At this time, Adshubei, was the editor of Izvestiya, one of the largest newspapers of the Soviet Union. Izvestiya also published messages about the “Snowman” from time to time. Adshubei was also one of Khrushchev’s advisers.  After his publication, Didanov was invited by Alexej Adshubei to a government vacation house in the spa town Kislovodsk, about 18 miles from the location of Didanov´s encounter. Adshubei wanted to hear Didanov’s story himself. He encouraged Didanov to work on this more and catch a “Snowman”. Didanov quoted Adshubei with the following words: “If you catch him, we’ll invite you to Moscow, but not with the train or an airplane, but rather with your own escort.” 
Didanov also told of how, during the 1960s, a group of Mongolian scientists, under the direction of a Ph.D., worked on the problem in Sarmakovo. At the time, Didanov lived on his lot with lots of bushes, in which sometimes strange noises could be heard at night. One of the Mongolians collected long hairs in the bushes in the yard, which were considered to be possible Almasty hair. A few years later, Didanov was visited by a Czech scientist. She asked him to show her the location of his encounter and he rode with her there. Additionally, he also told of his meetings with Koffmann, who invited him numerous times to participate in her field research. He remembered his last contact with her at the beginning of the 80s. Koffmann visited him at that time in his house in Baksan. She had information that a skull had been found near the village Psychokh near Baksan and she asked him to mediate between her and the locals - probably the discoverers.
I visited Didanov three times, but it was after my last talk with him that I became known of the publication from Petrov and Kudrjavtsev, Neanderthals alive? (1964), who visited Didanov in February 1964 in Sarmakovo. According to them, he placed the time of his encounter in “fall of last year”- in other words, starting from 1963.  All other publications give 1950 as the year of his encounter. Because of Sagid Didanov’s dead, this discrepancy couldn’t be cleared up.
K. C. Beyer, May 2009
He describes the situation as “...somehow, it was completely natural: a person is sitting quietly by the fire in the mountains in the eyening. Another person comes and sits down with him.” Jonich said that it is hard for him to estimate how long they sat together, because he was nervous. It was, in his opinion, at least 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the time, the being sat with barely any movement at all. By that time, it was almost completely dark, only the glow from the fire cast a bit of light. Then the being stood up, turned around, and left. It was only after the being had left that Jonich suddenly felt a strong feeling of fear, particularly when branches close to him cracked again. Jonich thought it was the being coming back, but this did not happen.
Jonich, E. 1994. Memory: Encounter with Almasty.(I) Gornezkaja Slava. October 16. (in Russian)
The eyes were dark and he could not closer determine their color. They "glowed" not red like sometimes in other reports.The mouth was somewhat open and the teeth were significantly larger than those of a human.
According to Mukhamed, the face was “large” and looked like a “grimace.” The window was so small that he could only see the face, not the shape of the head, the hair, etc. The being only spent a few seconds looking in the window.
Mukhamed was so shocked that he instinctively reached for his pistol. This lay next to him under a pillow. But he felt like he was “paralyzed” for a few seconds, and therefore could not reach for his pistol. He stressed that this “paralysis” was not the result of his fear, but rather thought that the being had “somehow paralyzed” him. He also remembered that the “paralyzing” lasted a few seconds after the face had disappeared.
When he was able to move again, he took his pistol and went outside the hut. There was complete silence all around him and there was no one to be seen. He couldn’t find any tracks on the dry, hard ground and said that he immediately understood that he had seen an Almasty.
When he told the other guards about this incident, a few of the men then started to refuse to take over the night patrol in the hut.
Mukhamed thought that the Almasty was hidden in the nearby rock wall, and had been lured by the smell of the cooking meat. The rock wall is about 100 meters away from the hut, a few hundred meters tall, and hard to climb.
In 1998, at our request, Mukhamed completed a collection of drawings in which he tried to reconstruct the face. As early as 1992, during the Koffmann-Pallix expedition, he had completed such a drawing. This drawing was also shown in the film by Sylvain Pallix.
In the turbulent 1990’s in Russia, Mukhamed lost his job like many others and he had family problems. However, he was a reliable coworker of our group and also became a good friend, to whom we have much to thank. Simultaneously over the years, we also saw how his illness progressed, which he was not strong enough to overcome. When our Caucasus fieldwork season started in summer of 2008, Mukhamed was no longer with us.
Two drawings from Mukhamed Shomakhov regarding his own observation near the city Tyrnyauz, described above. Left: The inner border shows the part of the head, just as he saw it in the small window. He drew the rest of the head based on descriptions from other local witnesses. Right: The situation at the hut described above, from the artist's imagination. The anatomy is based on descriptions from other eye witnesses.
1 The Koffmann-Pallix-Expedition Almasty 92 in 1992