Robbers target Russia's graves
Monday 28 April 1997
Unlike the body-snatchers of bygone days when pioneering medical researchers sought human remains for dissection, they come at night in search of more readily saleable graveyard booty, from plastic flowers and metal plaques to tombstones.
The scourge has reached a new intensity as relatives stream to local cemeteries on annual spring pilgrimages to clean up graves for yesterday's Russian Orthodox Easter and next week's May Day holidays.
"There have always been a few idiots and drunks who take things," says Margarita Noskova, the head of services at Ivanovo's Balino cemetery. "But now they're stealing anything and everything, wreaths, aluminium plaques, even whole tombstones."
She blamed the bomzhi, or homeless drunks, but said professional operators were also involved in the traffic that saw the metal sold to scrap dealers, the granite recycled into new headstones and artificial flowers put back on sale in Ivanovo's street markets.
The police refuse to take the problem seriously, Noskova said, even though a plastic wreath can cost the equivalent of pounds 19 - a month's income for many of the town's cotton mill workers.
"It's awful. They just steal and steal. And what can we do about it?" shrugged Valentina Guseyeva, a pensioner laying plastic flowers at the grave of her sister. But she warned with typical Russian philosophy: "God will punish them."
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Queen to miss Nelson Mandela funeral over security and long-haul flight concerns
'Never a good time to increase MPs' pay': Jack Straw defends politicians' 11% pay rise in face of public outrage
10 stone five-year-old taken into care
Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £100000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior C++ De...
£25000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C++ Server Dev...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Leading Electronic Trading Software Ven...
£23999 - £32001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: An independent ac...