Russian dolls where made to house the spirits of stillborn children. The smallest represents the child in the womb and as time goes on more are made to show the child as if it had lived and then grown up. Pretty creepy huh? well not really cos I made all that up. they were invented to smuggle drugs, the idea being that you would carry hundreds in boxes with the contraband in only some of the dolls. Customs officials would get bored of looking through each individual doll and just allow them all through.