Russian Historian Anatoly Moskvin Collected Dead Girls at Home
On a cold, gray morning last weekend, a group of about 30 relatives and neighbors waited for the funeral of a 65-year-old woman outside a five-story building on Lenin Prospect in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. Some of them discussed the latest news in low voices: “Our Rima Stesheva would be too old for that maniac! He dragged home only the corpses of young women,” one of the women at the funeral said, referring to the deceased. “They said he placed musical boxes inside the mummies, set them up around his living room and had tea, while they were singing for him,” the other woman said, citing a recent article from a local newspaper. Soul-troubling details settled over the crowd, like wet snow, as more pedestrians joined the discussion in the courtyard: “He dug them out at night and turned the remains into pretty dolls”; “he collected clothes of dead women”; “his apartment was packed with the mummies he made out of dead bodies.” The moment the coffin showed up from the doorway, the gloomy-faced crowd quieted and boarded a bus to follow the deceased one to the cemetery.
Some Nizhny Novgorod papers nicknamed the villain of the story “The Lord of the Mummies”; others opted for “Perfumer”, after the Patrick Suskind novel Perfume. The thriller began on Nov. 3, a day before President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister’s Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's fourth-largest city and a center of military research and production that stayed closed to foreigners during most of the Soviet era. The reporters working on the Perfumer story were told not to make any noise on the story before the leaders left the city. But a news site named Criminal Chronicle could not contain itself: it ran a short brief saying that center “E," the Interior Ministry’s department for fighting extremist crime, had discovered 29 mummified corpses of women and girls between the ages of 15 to 26 in a three-room apartment that belonged to Anatoly Moskvin, a 45-year-old scientist....
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