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The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
believes she knows the cause of the problem
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 15:31 GMT
Pavlova's ashes stay in London
Anna Pavlova
Pavlova made her name dancing with Nijinsky in Paris
Plans to return the remains of the legendary Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, to Russia have been cancelled.

The London Cremation Company - which has held the dancer's ashes since her death 70 years ago - said the crematorium was notified by the Russian Embassy in London that permission to transport the ashes to Russia had been withdrawn.

Anna Pavlova
Pavlova left Russia in 1914 and died in exile
"They did not feel it was the right time to bring the ashes across," said Harvey Thomas, a non-executive director of the London Cremation Company.

The remains of the Russian dancer had been due to be flown to Moscow for reburial on 14 March.

The request for Miss Pavlova's ashes to be returned had been spearheaded by the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzkhov.

But relatives of the ballerina had been angry at the plans, saying that they were not sanctioned by either the family or the Russian Government.

Will controversy

Mr Thomas said sending her ashes to Moscow would fulfil a clause in the will of Pavlova's husband Victor Dandre.

Pavlova, who was the star of St Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre and Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, died in a hotel in The Hague in 1931.

Pavlova herself left no will but shortly after her death Dandre said her ashes could be moved back to Russia if state or local authorities initiated the reburial and treated her remains with proper reverence.

Anna Pavlova
Pavlova was famous for her rendition of Saint-Saens La Mort du Cygne
Andrei Dandre, whose grandfather was the cousin of Pavlova's husband, said he had not seen the original will but added grief may have clouded his ancestor's judgement when he signed it.

"I can imagine that (Pavlova's death) was awful for him, that he was left effectively alone in the world," Dandre said.

"And so in that bad state, possibly depressed, he could have signed something with that clause in it."

The crematorium said it now considered the matter closed and that the ashes would remain in London.

"I see no possibility that any future request will be considered," said Mr Thomas. He added that the crematorium considered it an honour to remain the guardian of the ballerina's remains.

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