Moskvin: The Doll Collector
Named as the "Lord of the mummies," Anatoly Moskvin becomes of one of Russia's most estranged and creepy criminals
(DISCLAIMER: this case tells the graphic details of the deaths of children, touches up on mental illness and death)
Anatoly Moskvin was born in Russia on September 1, 1966, he grew up a normal and happy child, much like the other children around him. He graduated from Moscow State University with a degree, which went on with him pursuing a career as a journalist. Moskvin had stated that he was an expert when it came to cemeteries; an odd expertise to have however he claimed himself to be a 'necropolyst'. His estranged love for cemeteries came from childhood experiences. Although Anatoly was deemed a normal child, his known place where he would play and explore would be his local cemeteries; unannounced to his future that would shock Russia, this behavior could have been put down to the simplicity of curiosity, and that the Anatoly didn't understand death. Children are curious creatures, and they will explore and learn for themselves, however this curiosity of Moskvin led him to be a body-snatcher who would dress up bodies of little girls.
An account dating back to the childhood of Moskvin started his obsession and curiosity with the dead; a funeral and a peculiar ceremony took place in which Anatoly was forced to kiss an 11 year old girl's corpse. Anatoly stated that a group of men in black and white gown like outfits invited him to the funeral, where they proceeded to force his head down to kiss the dead girl. The mother of the deceased then placed a wedding ring on the finger of Anatoly, and her deceased daughter. This experience was explained from Moskvin as 'black magic'; continuous nightmares of seeing the deceased girl whom he married made him believe he had a purpose to help other dead girls. This 'black magic' experience went on to him studying it and mastering it alongside his fascination with cemeteries. Moskvin stated that his "marriage with Natasha Petrova was useful"—indicating that this is where his fascination grew, and where he would go on to believe that the deceased could be brought back to life through either black magic or science.
In his later life Moskvin would start his spine-chilling collection by digging the graves of dead girls and mummifying them; he would treat them as if they were still alive and somewhat friends with Anatoly. In 2009, graves of loved ones were discovered to have been dug up. The mystery grew concerning as it began to be a regular occurrence. In 2011, after many more dug up graves, Moskvin was caught. He was originally caught for the crime of vandalizing Muslim gravestones after a terrorist attack; this then lead to the discovery of the bodies. His apartment was searched, and to the horror of the police they discovered the bodies of 29 mummified little girls. Anatoly lived with his parents and managed to keep the secret life he had well away from anyone he knew; his parents believed they were collectible antique dolls as they were hardly recognizable to be corpses. Anatoly took these 29 little girls, and stuffed their bodies with rags, wrapped them tightly in nylon fabric and placed dolls heads over their own decayed ones. Their eyes were replaced with toy eyes or buttons. Eerily he would place music boxes into the bodies of the girls' rib cages, so they would play music to him. The bodies were dressed in new clothing, as if they were his own children. A few objects were found at the residence which proved instantly that they were in fact stolen from graves; personal items from the girls such as a piece of a gravestone, a hospital tag with the date of death and cause of death, and a dried human heart, were found. These trophy-like memorabilia were founded inside the bodies of the girls, it is unknown as to why he did so—whether he wanted them to have a personal item so he felt they were more life like, or if it was a part of something to do with black magic. His neighbors expressed a "rancid" smell that came from his door whenever it was opened, yet they brushed it off. Anatoly expressed his loneliness, and he went into detail about the creepy things he would do. Although his actions were never sexual, it still does not disregard the fact that having tea parties, watching cartoons, and having conversations with the deceased girls is creepy and unsettling. It's thought to have happened over the funeral incident, which ultimately led to his strange fascination. However, it is also made known that he tried to adopt a child of his own, but his dream to have children was denied due to his low income. Having no one else in his life to fulfill this dream he was left in despair and loneliness. The 45 year old was waiting for science to bring to light the idea of bringing back the dead, he wanted these children to come back to life to call his own.
His trial soon began, and Moskvin confessed to 44 accounts of disrupting graves and dead bodies. Throughout his trial he didn't show any remorse or that what he had done was the wrong thing, he really did believe he was doing a good and helpful deed. To the victims' parents he stated "you abandoned your girls, I brought them home and warmed them up." Those unsettling words played on the parents' of the victims' minds, they were horrified to have heard those words; they believed the graves of their children were sacred places for them and their families to mourn, and celebrate the lives of whom they lost. Moskvin was only sentenced up to five years in prison, however later on he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and from this his prison sentence focused more on treatment for his schizophrenia. Moskvin never truly got the sentence he deserved, from September 2018 he was given the opportunity to go home and complete the rest of his treatment there. After many treatments, officials said that he was not fit for trial, so he continuously was having treatment for his mental illness. As of now Anatoly is still undergoing his treatment.