Anatoly Moskvin

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Anatoly Yuryevich Moskvin
Анатолий Москвин
Anatoly Yuryevich Moskvin

(1966-09-01) 1 September 1966 (age 54)
Known forArrested in 2011 after the bodies of 26 mummified girls were discovered in his home.
Academic background
Alma materMoscow State University
Academic work
DisciplineLinguist, Philologist, Historian
Sub-disciplineCeltic studies
InstitutionsNizhny Novgorod Linguistic University

Anatoly Yuryevich Moskvin (Russian: Анатолий Юрьевич Москвин; born 1 September 1966) is a Russian linguist, philologist, and historian from Nizhny Novgorod who was arrested in 2011 after the mummified bodies of 26 girls and women between the ages of 3 and 25 were discovered in his apartment.[1][2][3][4][5] After exhuming the bodies from local cemeteries, Moskvin mummified the bodies himself before dressing and posing them around his home. Moskvin's parents, who shared the apartment with him, knew of the mummies but mistook them for large dolls.[1]

A psychiatric evaluation determined that Moskvin had suffered a form of paranoid schizophrenia. In May 2012, he was sentenced to court-ordered psychiatric evaluation[6][7] and has since been held in a psychiatric hospital.[2]

Vladimir Stravinskas, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region, called the case exceptional and unparalleled in modern forensics.[3]

Personal life and education[edit]

Anatoly Moskvin lived in Nizhny Novgorod, the fifth-largest city in Russia.[2] He said he began wandering through cemeteries with friends when still a schoolboy.[8] In particular, they visited the Krasnaya Etna Cemetery located in the Leninsky district of Nizhny Novgorod.[9][10] In an article written shortly before his arrest, Moskvin attributed his interest in the dead to a childhood incident during which he witnessed a funeral procession for an 11-year-old girl.[10][11] He alleged that the participants forced him to kiss the dead girl's face, writing that "an adult pushed my face down to the waxy forehead of the girl in an embroidered cap, and there was nothing I could do but kiss her as ordered."[9][10][11]

After graduating from the Philological faculty of Moscow State University, Moskvin became well known in academic circles.[8][3] His main areas of academic interests were Celtic history and folklore, as well as languages and linguistics.[12][13] Moskvin had a deep interest in cemeteries, burial rituals,[8] death,[10][11] and the occult.[11][12][13] He kept a personal library of over 60,000 books and documents,[12] as well as a large doll collection.[11] Fellow academics described Moskvin as both a genius[12] and an eccentric.[8]

As an adult, Moskvin led a secluded life.[3] He never married or dated,[9] preferring to live with his parents.[11][12][9][13] Moskvin abstained from drinking alcohol and smoking[9] and is purportedly a virgin.[12] In 2016, it was reported that he planned to marry a 25-year-old native of his hometown who attended his trial.[14][15]


A former lecturer in Celtic studies at Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University,[12] Moskvin previously worked at the Institute of Foreign Languages.[13] A philologist, linguist and polyglot who speaks thirteen languages, Moskvin has written several books, papers and translations, all well-known in academic circles.[8] Moskvin also occasionally worked as a journalist[16] and regularly contributed to local newspapers and publications.[11] Describing himself as a "necropolist", Moskvin was considered an expert on local cemeteries in the Nizhny Novgorod region.[8]

In 2005, Oleg Riabov, a fellow academic and publisher, commissioned Moskvin to summarize and list the dead in more than 700 cemeteries in forty regions of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast.[17] Moskvin claimed that between 2005 and 2007, he had gone on foot to inspect 752 cemeteries across the region, walking up to 30 km (18.6 miles) a day.[10] During these travels, he drank from puddles, spent nights in haystacks and at abandoned farms, or slept in the cemeteries themselves, even going so far as to spend a night in a coffin being prepared for a funeral.[8][9] On his extensive travels, Moskvin was sometimes questioned by police on the suspicion of vandalism and theft, but was never arrested or detained after stating his academic credentials and purpose.[9] The work itself remains unpublished but has been described as "unique" and "priceless" by Alexei Yesin, the editor of Necrologies, a weekly paper to which Moskvin was a regular contributor.[12][17] After Moskvin's arrest, Yesin stated that he was confident there had been a mistake and Moskvin would soon be exonerated.[9] Later, Yesin told the Associated Press that Moskvin was a loner who had "certain quirks" but who gave no indication that he was up to anything unusual.[8]

Between 2006 and 2010, Moskvin worked as a freelance correspondent for the newspaper Nizhny Novgorod Worker, publishing articles twice a month. His father also sometimes wrote for the paper.[9] During 2008, Moskvin wrote an extensive series of articles on the history of Nizhny Novgorod cemeteries that appeared in the paper.[3][13]

Arrest and criminal proceedings[edit]

Moskvin was arrested on November 2, 2011, by police investigating a spate of grave desecrations in cemeteries in and around Nizhny Novgorod.[8][13] Investigators from the Centre for Combating Extremism discovered the twenty-six bodies,[1][2] initially reported as twenty-nine,[8][11] in Moskvin's flat and garage.[8] Video[18] released by police shows the bodies seated on shelves and sofas in small rooms full of books, papers and general clutter.[8] Although only twenty-six bodies were discovered in his home, Moskvin was suspected of desecrating as many as 150 graves[16] after police found numerous grave accoutrements such as metal nameplates removed from headstones. Police also discovered instructions for making the "dolls", maps of cemeteries in the region, and a collection of photographs and videos depicting open graves and disinterred bodies, though none of this evidence could be conclusively connected to any of the bodies found in the apartment.[8][11] According to the investigation, the bodies primarily came from cemeteries in the Nizhny Novgorod region, though some may have come from as far away as Moscow.[2][3][13] Moskvin actively cooperated with investigators[2] and claimed he made the dolls over the course of ten years. His parents, who were away for large portions of the year, were unaware of his activities.[13]

Moskvin was charged under Article 244 of the Criminal Code for the desecration of graves and dead bodies, a charge which carried up to five years in prison.[2][3] Originally Moskvin was also accused of having defaced the graves of Muslims,[2] considered a hate crime, but this charge was later dropped.[12]

After a psychiatric evaluation, it was determined that Moskvin suffered from a form of paranoid schizophrenia.[2] In a hearing on 25 May 2012, the Leninsky District court of Nizhny Novgorod deemed Moskvin unfit to stand trial, releasing him from criminal liability. He was instead sentenced to "coercive medical measures".[7] The prosecution was satisfied with the decision and did not appeal the verdict.[5]

Moskvin was removed to a psychiatric clinic, with his stay to be reviewed regularly. In February 2013, a hearing approved an extension of his psychiatric treatment.[19] Moskvin's treatment was again extended April 2014,[16] and yet again in July 2015.[20] In 2014 a spokesman stated, "After three years of monitoring him in a psychiatric clinic, it is absolutely clear that Moskvin is not mentally fit for trial...He will therefore be kept for psychiatric treatment at the clinic."[16] In September 2018 Moskvin's doctors stated that he was no longer dangerous and petitioned the Leninsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod to release him for outpatient care from home;[21] however, in February 2019 a subsequent psychiatric evaluation found that it was too early to release Moskvin, and the hospital withdrew their petition.[22]


In an interview after his arrest, Moskvin stated he felt great sympathy for the dead children and thought that they could be brought back to life by either science or black magic.[13] As an expert on Celtic culture, Moskvin learned that the ancient Druids slept on graves in order to communicate with spirits of their dead. He also studied the culture of the peoples of Siberia, in particular the ancient Yakuts, and discovered they had a similar practice for communicating with the dead. Moskvin began searching for obituaries of recently deceased children. When he found an obituary that "spoke" to him, he would sleep on the child's grave in order to determine if the spirit wished to be brought back to life. Moskvin claimed he had been doing this for around twenty years and insisted that when he began, he never dug up a grave without the permission of the child within. As he grew older, it became physically painful for him to sleep on the graves, so he began bringing the bodies home where it would be more comfortable to sleep near them. He hoped the spirits would be more willing to speak in a safe, welcoming home and that they might be easier to hear when they were no longer underground.[13]

After exhuming the corpses, Moskvin researched mummification theories and techniques in an attempt to preserve the bodies.[13] He dried the corpses using a combination of salt and baking soda and then cached the bodies in secure, dry places in and around cemeteries.[2][13] Once the bodies dried, Moskvin carried them to his home where he used various methods to make "dolls" in an attempt to give the children functional bodies to be used when he eventually discovered a way to bring them back to life, feeling that their physical remains were too decayed and ugly for them to feel comfortable or happy.[13] Unable to prevent the bodies from withering and shrinking as they dried, he would wrap the limbs in strips of cloth and stuff the body cavity with rags and padding to provide fullness, sometimes adding wax masks decorated with nail polish over the faces before dressing them in brightly colored children's clothes and wigs.[13] These details made the bodies appear to be large homemade dolls, which prevented their discovery. It was unclear if each doll contained a full set of human remains.[1][8]

Moskvin was aware that he was committing a crime, but felt the dead children were "calling out" to be rescued and believed that rescuing the children was more important than obeying the law.[3][13] He was also motivated by his own desire to have children, specifically a daughter.[2][13] Moskvin often regretted that he never had children and at one point attempted to adopt a young girl against the wishes of his parents,[9] but his application was declined due to his low income.[13] Moskvin denied any sexual attraction to the dolls and instead considered them to be his children. He spoke to and interacted with the corpses, sang songs to them, watched cartoons with them, and even held birthday parties and celebrated holidays for their benefit.[2][13][16]


Publications contributed to:

  • Moskvin wrote regularly for Necrologies, a weekly newspaper that publishes obituaries and stories about cemeteries and famous dead people.[12][17]
  • In 2009–2010 he regularly contributed to the newspaper Nizhny Novgorod Worker.[9][13]


  • English-Russian and Russian-English dictionary of the most common words and expressions. About 45 000 words. / Comp. Moskvin A. Yu. - M.: Tsentrpoligraf, 2009. - 719 p. - (Large vocabulary). - ISBN 978-5-9524-4088-3.
  • School Anglo-Russian and Russian-English dictionary / comp. Moskvin A. Yu. - M.: Tsentrpoligraf, 2014. - 640 p. - (School dictionaries). - ISBN 978-5-227-05185-1.
  • Great Dictionary of Foreign Words. Over 25,000 words / comp. Moskvin A. Yu. - 7 th ed., Rev. and additional .. - M.: Tsentrpoligraf, 2008. - 688 p. - (Large vocabulary). - ISBN 978-5-9524-3984-9.
  • School phrasebook Russian language / comp. Moskvin A. Yu. - M.: Tsentrpoligraf, 2012, 2013. - 639 p. - (School dictionaries). - ISBN 978-5-227-04592-8.


  • Wilson T. History of the swastika from ancient times to the present day = The Swastika: The Earliest Known symbol and Its Migrations / per. with English .: Moskvin A. Yu. - N. Novgorod Books, 2008. - 528 p. - ISBN 978-5-94706-053-9.


  • Moskvin A. Yu Cross without crucifix // The history of the swastika from ancient times to the present day. - N. Novgorod: Publishing House "Books", 2008. - S. 355-526. - 528 p. - ISBN 978-5-94706-053-9.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kashin, Oleg (3 November 2011). "In Nizhny Novgorod, the scientist-ethnographer made a vault in his apartment". Channel 5, Russia. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "In the Nizhny Novgorod region for the man who has committed abuse of dead bodies and burial places are subjected to compulsory medical measures". Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "The investigator told about the high-profile cases". Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). 19 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Nekropolistu Anatoly Moskvin extended compulsory treatment". Vesti. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b Makarova, Albina. "Nizhny Novgorod necrophiliac sentenced to compulsory treatment". Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  6. ^ Dianov, Dmitry; Maltseva, Maya; Kotov, Vyacheslav (19 December 2007). "The system of coercive (court mandated) medical measures in the Russian Federation". BMC Psychiatry. 7 (Suppl 1): S152. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-7-S1-S152. ISSN 1471-244X. PMC 3332823.
  7. ^ a b "Criminal proceedings - CASE number 1-167 / 2012". Leninsky District court of Nizhny Novgorod. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Russian 'grave robber made dolls from girls' corpses'". BBC. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kokin-Slavin, Tatiana (2011). "Detained local historian Anatoly Moskvin-nekropolist". Tanya Tank. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e Kokin-Slavin, Tatiana (2011). "Interview with Anatoly Moskvin". Tanya Tank. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Russian grave digger dresses up 29 bodies and puts them on display at home". The Telegraph. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kashin, Oleg (5 December 2011). "We are confident that he'll be released". Kommersant. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Дело некрополиста Москвина отложено до 26 июня" [Necropolist Moskvin's case postponed till June 26]. Криминальная хроника НН (in Russian). 18 June 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Nizhegorodets who made dolls from corpses decided to marry". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Anatoly Moskvin, the "mummy master", is going to marry". Komsomolskaya Pravda. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Man, Anatoly Moskvin, Who Mummified Girl's Corpses Dressed Up For Parties 'Not Fit For Trial'". The Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  17. ^ a b c Nemtsova, Anna (28 November 2011). "Russian Historian Anatoly Moskvin Collected Dead Girls at Home". The Daily Beast. New York City: IAC. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  18. ^ Иван Зарубин, Экстремизм с мертвыми девушками, retrieved 10 December 2018
  19. ^ "Criminal proceedings - CASE number 1-63 / 2013 (1-469 / 2012;)". Leninsky District court of Nizhny Novgorod. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Nekropolist Anatoly Moskvin continue compulsory treatment". Вести.Ru. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  21. ^ Громова, Валерия (27 September 2018). "Нижегородские врачи просят суд отпустить «повелителя мумий» Анатолия Москвина домой" [Nizhny Novgorod doctors ask the court to release Anatoly Moskvin, the "lord of the mummies"]. (in Russian). Комсомольской правды. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  22. ^ Алексеева, Ольга (5 February 2019). "Врачи передумали отпускать нижегородского «повелителя мумий» Анатолия Москвина домой" [Doctors changed their minds to let the Nizhny Novgorod "Lord of the Mummies" Anatoly Moskvin go home]. (in Russian). Комсомольской правды. Retrieved 19 August 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Police video of Moskvin's home post-arrest.