Elders claim mummy's absence has caused natural disasters and send new petition to Kremlin after first snub from Putin.
Elders in the region where a tattooed princess was found preserved in permafrost have re-sent a petition to Vladimir Putin demanding she be immediately reinterred.
More than 22,000 people across the Altai Republic – 10 per cent of the population – signed a special 150-metre-long piece of canvas calling for the mummified remains put back in her final resting place.
They say that since her removal the area has been hit by a series of natural disasters and insist a reburial would 'stop her anger that caused floods and earthquakes'.
Ancient beliefs dictate that her presence in the burial chamber had been to 'bar the entrance to the kingdom of the dead'. Scientists say she lived more than 2,500 years ago, meaning she was alive five centuries before the birth of Christ.
Akai Kine, the zaisan (leader) of the Teles ethnic group, and president of the Spiritual Centre of the Turks Kin Altai, had sent the petition to the Russian President last year but decided to reissue it after hearing nothing back from the Kremlin.
It is also being forwarded to the head of the Altai Republic Alexander Berdnikov and the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He said: 'Residents of Altai Republic are asking Vladimir Putin to rebury the body of the princess according to human traditions, taking into account the interests of science, in the sarcophagus at the site of her original burial.
'Scientists will still be able to extract the body of the mummy from the tomb, if it’s necessary to carry out any research.'
In their letter to Mr Putin, the elders claim that scientists have a positions of disrespect to the citizens of the republic and the indigenous population.
They add: 'We, the people of the Republic of Altai, do not want to be like children standing beside the body of our mother, and dividing, whose mother she is more.'
The tattooed mummy was excavated by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak in 1993 and was heralded as 'one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century'.
Thought to be about 25 years old when she died, she was found preserved in permafrost at an altitude of about 2,500 metres, with two men also discovered nearby.
Known as Princess Ukok, buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled and said to have been her spiritual escorts to the next world.
Archaeologists also found ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold as well as a small container of cannabis and a stone plate on which coriander seeds were burned. From her clothes and possessions including a 'cosmetics bag', scientists were able to recreate her fashion and beauty secrets.
Her head was completely shaved, and she wore a horse hair wig on top of which was a carving of a wooden deer. The princess's face and neck skin was not preserved, but the skin of her left arm survived.
But the most exciting discovery was her elaborate body art, which many observers said bore striking similarities to modern-day tattoos.
On her left shoulder was a fantastical mythological animal made up of a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. The antlers themselves were decorated with the heads of griffons.
The mouth of a spotted panther with a long tail could also be seen, and she had a deer’s head on her wrist.
Her remains spent most of the past two decades at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, and are now at the Republican National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk. They have been treated by the same scientists who preserved the body of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.
Once her body is finally returned to Altai, the local elders have plans to build a special mausoleum at her burial ground, on the pristine grasslands of the Ukok plateau.