He was a local historian known for his interest in the dead and their resting places. But when Russian police investigating a spate of grave robberies raided the apartment Anatoly Moskvin shared with his elderly parents, they discovered he had been bringing his work home with him.
A video released by police in the town of Nizhny Novgorod yesterday showed a macabre collection of the bodies of young women, their mummified remains dressed up like dolls. "During a search of the apartment and garage 29 life-size dolls dressed in the clothes of dead people were seized. They had been made with mummified human bodies," a police source told Russian tabloid Life News. All the corpses were young women between the ages of 12 and 25, according to reports. Police said they also found maps of cemeteries, photographs of graves, and doll-making manuals.
Mr Moskvin has been arrested and charged with desecration of dead bodies and places of burial. His enthusiasm for graveyards was well known – he was often used by local journalists to track down the graves of subjects they were writing about.