In November of 2011, police searched the home of Anatoly Moskvin in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. He was a well-known academic, author, and expert in the history of cemeteries. At first the police only wanted to talk to Anatoly and get some advice about a case they were working on, but when they looked around his apartment, they got suspicious.
Image: you tube
A search soon revealed one of the most twisted and disturbing crimes in the history.
The 45-year-old lived in a small apartment with shelves on every wall stuffed with books, colorful children’s clothing, and toys. It was the toys and clothing that had made the police so suspicious. Why would a childless man have things like that in his home?
Image: Daily Mirror
In one room the police found several life-size dolls that had been carefully dressed and placed on the sofa, on chairs, and on the floor.
WHO IS ANATOLY MOSKVIN?
Anatoly Moskvin, the Russian Doll Maker. The admired and respected 50-year-old linguist with a PHD in Celtic Studies who speaks thirteen languages became the center of a media storm when his extracurricular activities at the graveyards in and around Nizhny Novgorod, Russia proved to be far more than an interest in local history.
Anatoly Yurevych Moskvin was arrested at the age of 45 in 2011 for the commission of a bizarre series of crimes in which he defiled the graves of young girls. He has been charged with the desecration of at least 150 graves, sometimes taking plaques and other memorabilia from the tombs with him. These were later found inside his home when the authorities investigated him over suspicion of the slew of grave robberies which had taken place in and around the city of Nizhny Novgorod. The authorities initially enlisted his aid in finding the perpetrator as he was a known cemetery historian. Even writing for a paper that dealt with the history of local graveyards and current news regarding them. However, when authorities searched the apartment more thoroughly, they discovered quite a collection of home made, life sized dolls. Now, any middle-aged man at home making life-sized dolls is automatically creepy and suspect in my book but the authorities didn’t examine them too closely on their first pass through of the home. The only video released of the discovery of the bodies is the first walk through before they knew what secrets the dolls held.
Anatoly Yurevych Moskvin operated mainly in Nizhny Novgorod where he lived with both of his parents. Although he also did some “work” in and around Moscow. His parents worked a lot and spent most of their time away from home, leaving Anatoly to his own devices. Devices which took hold of him in the form of a drive to dig up the graves of young girls. Devices which to him, superseded the law. For over ten years he visited graveyards and he says that the motivation for his crimes was a deep sadness that he felt for the dead girls.
Being obsessed with local cemeteries as he was, he always knew if a young girl had recently died. He would go to that grave at night and lay on top of it, listening through the damp earth. If the spirit of the dead girl told him she wanted to be let out, he would then dig her up and begin a mummification process on the body, with a home-made recipe using salt and baking soda to cure and dry the body, then leaving it in a secluded area of the cemetery. Once the process was complete to his satisfaction, he would take her back to the apartment. His idea was to preserve the rotting corpse as much as possible and then dress the remains in layers of bright clothing. You see, Anatoly was also into the occult, having spent a lot of time studying ancient practices in his Celtic studies. His idea was to give the girls a new body to live in once he figured out how to bring them back to life.
He dressed the dead children in stockings, girls’ clothing and knee length boots to make them look like dolls, even applying lipstick and make-up to their faces.
The highly educated bodysnatcher marked the birthday of each of his dead victims in his in bedroom in Nizhny Novgorod.
Olga Charymova Image: metro.com.uk
Other girls, such as 10-year-old Olga Chardymova (murdered by a drug addict and then stolen by Anatoly after her funeral), he got more elaborate with and gave them masks to wear. And others were left faceless and lying around the apartment as if they were literally just play things. So much for the great sympathy he felt for them, eh?
So he believed he could restore them to life but in reality he only managed to give them a disturbing mockery of life. Some reports say (although not confirmed) that he even placed music boxes in the chest cavities of some of the girls so that they would “sing” to him. He stated that he would also sing to them and dance with them and talk to them as if they were alive. 26 mummified bodies of girls between the ages of three and fifteen were found around the house and even in the garage. The place was a cluttered mess of thousands of books, hoarded clothes and doll making materials and papers written by Anatoly. Notebooks recovered included his recipes for mummification, occult scribblings and his documentation of numerous graveyards in the area; the history of the site and more importantly, who was buried there.
His parents plead utter ignorance of their son’s activities stating that they believed the dolls to be just that, creepy-ass home-made dolls. But look at the legs on the one doll in the gray stockings, those are human fucking legs. Plain as fucking day.
After his arrest he was mentally evaluated and determined to be a paranoid schizophrenic (is differentiated by the presence of hallucinations and delusions involving the perception of persecution or grandiosity in one’s beliefs about the world). . As such, he was deemed unfit to stand trial and has since been contained within a mental health facility. He did not drink, smoke or take drugs. He never dated and it is actually believed that he is still a virgin. To date both Anatoly and authorities say that he had committed no sexual acts with any of the bodies of the young girls. His purpose was purely in preserving the girls and restoring them to life. Interesting to note is that Anatoly had once applied to adopt a little girl but was rejected only due to his low-income (although being a single man probably played a role as well). His case comes up for review quite often, but it has always been decided that he remain institutionalized although he is not considered a threat… at least not to living people.
Following his arrest, the grave-robber told the parents of his victim accusingly: “You abandoned your girls in the cold – and I brought them home and warmed them up.”
(Photo: East2West) Source: Mirror
For Natalia Chardymova, 42, each new macabre report about Moskvin – arrested in 2011 – is like a hammer blow because her own daughter Olga was among 29 he secretly dug up, and dressed as a doll, and kept at home.
(Photo: East2West) Source: Mirror
Olga had been horrifically murdered, aged ten, the first time she was allowed to walk alone from the family flat to her granny’s apartment in the next block after her parents went to work.
“I’m ten already. I can go myself,” she pleaded.
Her mother relented and she went out with her favourite green bag and blue umbrella, never to be seen alive again.
Unseen, a drug addict waiting in the lobby of her block had forced her back up to the top floor, and robbed her of her earrings, and because she tried to escape, cracked her over the head with a metal bar.
Despite searches for her body, Olga’s remains with the umbrella and bag were not found for five months wedged behind pipes in the block’s attic.
“We buried her on 2 October 2002.
“I could never imagine that almost exactly ten years later, on the 5 October 2012 I would open her grave with the police, and find her remains had vanished.
Her coffin was empty, with a hole at the top from which he had pulled the remains.
“You can’t begin to imagine it, that somebody would touch the grave of your child, the most holy place in this world for you.
“We had been visiting the grave of our child for nine years and we had no idea it was empty.
“Instead, she was in this beast’s apartment.”
In 7 May 2003, Natalia and husband Igor, 44, started painting a small metal fence they had erected around the grave.
The next day, they came back to finish, and felt someone had been there.
A wreath had been moved and a torment began, lasting nine years.
The same month they found a note signed with two letters – D.A. – standing for Dobry Angel or Kind Angel, how Moskwin thought of himself.
“We shivered with fear each time we went to the grave, not knowing what to expect,” she said.
“These sick anonymous notes were addressed to my daughter, calling her ‘Little Lady’.
(Photo: East2West) Source: Mirror UK
“He congratulated her on all the public holidays.
“He remembered about 1 September each year (the first day of the school year in Russia) and the last school bell in May.
“He counted carefully which school grade she was about the enter, as if she was still alive.
“For example “happy last month of your 6th year at school”.
“Imagine what it was like for us, her grieving parents, reading these notes about our murdered daughter.
“It was not at all like some sick joke but a spear through our hearts.”
Sometimes, the desperate parents arrived at the grave to find soft toys – stolen from other plots, and on January 1 he always put New Year decorations on the grave.
In one note, he threatened the parents: “If you don’t erect a great monument which she deserves, we will dig her body out.”
The couple erected a headstone in June 2003, and he penned messages on it before taking an axe to it.
Natalia reported it to the police, who were appalled but said there was little they could do.
“They told us, if you find him, do what you want to this barbarian, we won’t object.
“At this point we knew nothing about Moskvin, or that by now he had already removed her, but if I’d met him at Olga’s grave, I’d have killed him with my own hands.”
The strain drove them apart, and they separated. Natalia wanted to move to a new flat and try and rebuild her life.
But Igor refused to leave their flat where he sat for hours on end in Olga’s room.
“I just could not live in the block where my daughter was murdered.
“And Igor did not want to sell the flat, he would go into Olga’s room and stare at her things. Finally, I left and went to live with my mother.”
Fourteen months later then got back together, and in now have another child together, a son Alexei, who “has restored my faith in life”.
Through all this time, the unknown visitor kept coming to the grave, leaving notes, or bending the metal holy cross.
In 2011, police arrested Moskvin after going to question him about other similar reports of graves being disturbed.
Later the police told Natalia they needed to open her daughter’s coffin because 29 mummified corpses of girls from different graveyards had been found at the flat he shared with his parents Elvira and Yury.
“When we opened the grave with policemen in October 2012, we found a coffin there which looked amazingly well preserved after ten years – but it had a hole at the top.
“Moskvin had dug down, cut the hole, and pulled Olga’s body out. I almost collapsed. I felt sick.
“My girl had been murdered, if anyone deserved to rest in peace, she did, but instead her grave had been robbed.”
The police said Moskvin’s copious notes showed the grave had been disturbed on May 2003, the first time Natalia sensed it had been disturbed.
“They told me to see her: the sight was too grotesque, they said. But I have seen the pictures of some of the other girls.
“I still find it hard to grasp the scale of his sickening work but for nine years he was living with my mummified daughter in his bedroom. I had her for ten years, he had her for nine.”
Her mother Elvira, 76, told police: “We saw these dolls but we did not suspect there were dead bodies inside.
“We thought it was his hobby to make such big dolls and did not see anything wrong with it.”
She and his father Yury, 77, went to their country house each summer, leaving him alone in the flat, which is when Moskvin prowled graveyards stealing new corpses and dressing them up.
In interviews with police and in court, historian Moskvin, described as a “genius” and an authority on Russian cemeteries – gave various explanations of his actions.
“I was waiting for science to find ways for these girls to live again,” he told them.
“I wanted to be an expert in making mummies” – this was another excuse.
“I wanted to communicate with these girls” – and it seems he was trying to talk to them.
“He told how he carefully selected which girl to take.
“I lay on the grave and tried to get in touch with her.
“I listened to what she said.
“Often they asked me to take them out for a walk.”
Police say he wasn’t motivated by any twisted sexual desires with these children.
“He loathed sex and thought it was disgusting,” said one officer.
He admitted the crime of digging up the graves, but the court found he was mentally ill.
While he’s lucid most of the time, when talking about “his girls” he becomes obsessed, said the psychiatrists.
Reports claimed Moskvin had been raped as a child.
He also told how he was forced as a boy to kiss the face of a dead 11 year old girl at her funeral.
It was claimed that he wanted to adopt a girl and was refused because he was unmarried.
His behaviour was blamed on his parents taking him for walks in graveyards as a child.
For Natalia, there is one more reminder of the man who has caused her such grief.
From her kitchen window, she can see the yellow coloured psychiatric hospital where Moskvin is incarcerated.
“I worry that one day he will convince them he’s sane, and he’ll come out and start his morbid activities again,” she said. To me, he got off lightly.
“Like other parents tormented by him, we reckon he knew what he was doing. I wanted to see him go to jail and face hardened criminals in the same cell.
“He should know real pain, not be pampered by doctors who see him as a fascinating psychiatric case.”
“In the court building in February 2013, I was standing there when suddenly two policemen escorted him in.
“He walked right towards me. I lost my breath. I just stood there, mouth open like a fish. I looked at his whimpering, trembling mother.
“Yes, I feel some sympathy, she is a mum after all, but deep in my heart I can’t believe she and his dad Yury knew nothing.
“Just look at the police pictures of their home, like a burrow, in such a mess.
“I can’t believe there was no smell, or nothing suspicious to her about all these ‘dolls’.
“Yet she turned a blind eye to her son’s weird hobby.”
(Photo: East2West) Mirror UK
Natalia keeps a picture of her daughter in the kitchen, and talks to her when she cooks. She would now be 22.
“She should be living her life to the full now, if not for the evil she faced. But to me she will always be a child.”
Her husband, Igor, said: “I hate our soft laws. “The punishment must be somehow in balance with what the person has done.
“And this man will rest in his clinic and we fear they will say he is cured and let him out to go back to his graveyards.
“I wish I had met him ten years ago by Olga’s grave. But if I’d done what needed to be done to him, I’d be in jail myself.”
The couple have now reburied Olga in an unmarked grave where, finally, they hope she can rest in peace.
Prosecutor Konstantin Zhilyakov said: “All of us involved in this criminal case agreed that it is one of the most shocking we ever came across.
“You could never imagine such an investigation but it was deeply emotional at the same time.
“We had to deal with the relatives of the 29 children who lost their beloved children and had to bury them again.”
“The verdict was to send Moskvin to a psychiatric clinic for treatment.
“There is no term, in other words he is not sent there for the certain number of years. He will stay there until he is cured – or forever.
“The only way for him to get out of this clinic is through another court action, where prosecutors and lawyers will take part.”
He is now subject to annual checks but he said: “There is a very little chance that he even leaves this clinic.”
Source: Daily Mail