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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mystery Swirls in Khimki Over Whereabouts of War Remains

The whereabouts of the remains of six Soviet war heroes are something of a mystery.

The World War II pilots' remains were dug up at a memorial in Khimki, north of Moscow, last week for reburial at a different location on Victory Day. But they seem to have disappeared.

The Khimki administration, which authorized the reburial, said it did not know where the remains were, but thought they might be at the morgue in Skhodnya, a nearby town, Noviye Izvestia reported Friday.

Calls to the administration went unanswered on Friday.

But a spokeswoman for the morgue said by telephone Friday: "We don't have them."

Vyacheslav Nyrkov, director of Ritual, the Khimki agency that exhumed the remains, refused to comment on their whereabouts.

The designer of a new monument for the pilots, Alexander Mustafin, said he thought the remains had been hidden to calm tensions.

Khimki allowed the reburial after war veterans complained that prostitutes were desecrating the site along Leningradskoye Shosse. Authorities also want to widen the highway.

Dozens of Communist supporters held a protest over the reburial at the site last Sunday.

"These ashes belong to heroes who defended our motherland. They shouldn't have been dug up just because someone doesn't like the monument at this place," one of the protesters, Pavel Tarasov, said by telephone Friday.

Tarasov, an aide to Communist State Duma Deputy Valery Rashkin, accused authorities of double standards, citing the current uproar over Estonia's decision to remove a Soviet war memorial and exhume soldiers there.

"At least in Estonia this is largely covered by the media so people can come out and voice their protest, but in Russia all is done sneakily," said Olga Ivanova, another participant in the Sunday protest.