Slava Brushkov was serving a short prison sentence in the Georgian port city of Batumi when he learned he had been declared dead in his local village, some 80km away.
Following his release, he has been regularly visiting “his” grave and taking care of it, the Georgian Iberia news channel reports.
The station says that village locals noticed Mr Brushkov’s sudden absence from the village, but did not know he was in prison. Given that he had no living relatives, they informed the police.
The authorities wrongly assumed a badly mutilated body found in a field a few days previously was Brushkov, and the body was buried in a cemetery near the graves of his parents.
Slava Brushkov heard premature reports of his death while he was in prison
Speaking to Rusavi-2 TV, Mr Brushkov said he tried to inform prison authorities about the mistake when he heard about it.
“I knocked and told the guard I was alive, told him I was that person. I have been in your prison for three months already – I told him.”
He didn’t, however, know that the body mistakenly identified as his had been buried near his parents.
“When I left the prison, I went to clean my mother’s and father’s grave and near their feet some new deceased was lying,” he said. “I have no idea who he might be.”
Mr Brushkov has nevertheless been taking care of the grave. Last Easter he brought red eggs, wine and other offerings to it, as is the custom in Georgia.
Georgians have a tradition of taking care of abandoned graves, even those of relative strangers, especially in the Imereti region, where Brushkov lives.