Thank you to Susana for suggesting this topic.
Anatoly Moskvin was born September 1, 1966. He lived in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia with his parents. Anatoly was a linguist and historian who studied the cemeteries in his area. He also spoke 13 languages. He said that his fascination with cemeteries began when he was a child.
Anatoly wrote regularly for a weekly magazine called Necrologies. In one of Anatoly’s articles he told the story of a funeral procession for an 11 year old girl. He claimed that one of the girl’s family members forced him to kiss the dead girl’s forehead. This intensified his fascination with the dead.
He graduated from Moscow State University and specialized in Celtic history. Those that knew him acknowledged that he was of near-genius intelligence, but was an odd man.
Anatoly visited over 700 cemeteries while researching them. He would often sleep in the graveyards and once spent the night in a coffin that was prepared for a burial the next day.
Anatoly was arrested on November 2, 2011 after being accused of vandalism to cemeteries in the area. This led to a search of his home.
There, police found piles of books, papers and clutter in the rooms of the small apartment he shared with his parents. They also found 26 bodies. Reports vary, but the youngest victim may have been 3 years old. The oldest may have been between 19-25 years old.
The bodies had been stolen from nearby cemeteries before being preserved, dressed and posed all over the apartment. Some had music boxes inside their chest cavities. Police also found nameplates from headstones, plans for mummifying bodies and maps of the cemeteries in the area.
Anatoly confessed to robbing more than 150 graves and stealing the bodies of young girls over the course of 10 years.
His parents traveled much of the year and claimed that they did not know that the dolls contained human remains. Anatoly’s mother said that she thought her son had a hobby of making large dolls and she didn’t see any problem with that.
Anatoly was charged with desecration of graves and dead bodies. He was deemed unfit to stand trial in 2012 and sent to a psychiatric hospital. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
He was retested each year from 2013-2019. Each time, he has been deemed unfit for trial and his hospital stay has been extended. As of December 2019, his court order has lapsed. He is no longer required to stay in the hospital, but has not yet been released.
Anatoly told police that he wanted a family and tried to adopt. He was denied because he didn’t make enough money.
Anatoly said that he took the little girls because he felt sorry for them. He felt like their families abandoned them. He hoped to keep the bodies preserved until they could be brought back to life by medical science.
Anatoly said he began by sleeping on the graves so that the spirits within could communicate with him and that he only took bodies of those that gave their permission.
As he got older, it became too painful from him to sleep on the graves, so he took the bodies home and let them speak to him there. There is no indication that Anatoly had any sexual contact with any of the bodies. In fact, there is indication that he was a virgin at the time of his arrest. He told police and doctors that he thought sexual contact was disgusting and dirty.
Anatoly used baking soda and salt to dry the bodies for preservation. He would then wrap the limbs in cloth or pantyhose and fill the bodies with fabric and padding.
He created masks for the bodies, which he called his “dolls.” Some were made of wax and painted with nail polish. Some of the faces were covered with doll faces and wigs.
He cleaned and redressed the “dolls” in their burial clothes. He often held elaborate birthday parties for them and celebrated holidays with his “dolls.”
The mother of Anatoly’s first victim, Olga Chardymova, said, “I still find it hard to grasp… he was living with my mummified daughter in his bedroom. I had her for ten years, he had her for nine.” Olga had been murdered when she was just 10 years old.
A video of what police found inside Anatoly’s home can be found here:
A video summary of this week’s post can be found at
5 thoughts on “Anatoly Moskvin”
My Father has worked at a crematory for around 40 years now, he’s about to retire, so as a little girl I grew up around a cemetery. It’s ironically one of the nicest, not to mention well respected, places in town. Families feel safe to mourn, walk/walk your dog, and so on as they please. The church/ preschool built on the land above has always been able to trust anyone using their baseball field or playground. Even a former Mayor chose to build his home across the street. While I never developed any extreme infatuations, I did however obtain an infinite respect for a person’s life and body even after
death. Believe me any self-respecting persons in that line of work feels their stomach and heart churn whenever they read about characters such as Anatoly Moskvin. Sadly there are those who don’t respect the age-old sentiment: rest in peace.
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Thank you for sharing.
There was a park with a cemetery at the edge of it across the alley from the house I grew up in. It was like having the biggest backyard in town. My best friend and I spent hours and days exploring the cemetery. We would have picnics there and bring flowers to graves that seemed untended. As an adult, I’ve given historical cemetery tours.
Cemeteries further my fascination with history and life, nothing else. I agree that a fascination with the past, or even death, does not equal a predisposition for grave robbing or desecration of a sacred space.
Thank you to your father for his important work and thank you for visiting!
It’s great to hear from someone else that understands. I definitely had my share of cemetery picnics and exploratories with a former school buddy of mine. And yeah a lot of people tell me they feel like it’s their backyard. That’s pretty amazing that you did actual tours. Some of our public librarians live for that kind of thing! I use to just read the tombstones and pay attention to stories, trying to figure out as much background as I could of whom it belonged to. I did use to enjoy helping around, including making sure the mausoleum flower bed was tended, but your flower story is the sweetest. Thank you for your own contribution!!
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WOW! thank you!
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Thank you for the suggestion! I hadn’t heard of him! Thank you for sharing!!