Having murdered 52 people, Andrei Chikatilo counts as one of the most successful (is that an appropriate adjective to use?) serial killers in Russia. He had a thing for children, but his victims were also grown women and boys. Aside from being a serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo was also a cannibal who ate human flesh and as a man who couldn’t get a hard-on with women, he took great pleasure torturing his victims. The killing techniques ranged but involved slashing, stabbing, decapitating, strangling and drowning. Once dead, Andrei Chikatilo would mutilate his victims’ genitals and cannibalize them while drinking their blood. The gallery below contains Andrei Chikatilo crime scene photos. Scroll down to see what famous Russian serial killer left after himself. If you would like to learn more about Andrei Chikatilo, who was also known as “Citizen X” or “The Butcher of Rostov”, read on.
Andrei Chikatilo BiographyHis full name was Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo. He was born on October 16, 1936 in the village of Yablochnoye in Ukraine, which was at the time a part of Soviet Russia. Growing up in Ukraine just before and during WWII wasn’t particularly easy. People were decimated by a famine cause by collectivization of farm lands enforced by Stalin’s communist regime and when German bombing raids started, Ukraine took a lot of it as for the Nazis, all roads to Russia led through Ukraine.
Andrei Chikatilo ChildhoodAndrei Chikatilo knew nothing but hardship throughout his childhood. He may also have suffered from water on the brain (medically known as hydrocephalus) at birth, which is believed to have been the cause of his erection problems and other urinary issues, such as bed wetting. Basically, he was an impotent, but as if all that weren’t enough, Andrei Chikatilo was also subject to mockery and bullying by other kids in school after his father was captured by the Nazi army. Stalin’s rule had it that any soldier who “allowed” himself to get captured was a coward. This fact was used against Andrei Chikatilo by his peers a lot.
The combination of hardship, health issues with the genital-urinary tract as well as psychological torture from the peers resulted in the development of a child that was very shy. As Andrei Chikatilo reached puberty, he started feeling sexual attraction to members of opposite sex, but with non existent self confidence he had no luck with the girls. His first sexual experience came at the age of 15 when he took a girl by power but ejaculated before any intercourse took place. This misfortune brought more ridicule from his peers upon him.
In 1960, after he failed to get to Moscow State University he moved to a town in Russia called Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky which was near Rostov. His younger sister who moved to Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky was aware of his problems with girls and tried to help him out. Her efforts paid off as she managed to hook his brother up with a local girl Fayina. Three years later – in 1963 Fayina and Andrei got married. Despite his erection problems, Andrei Chikatilo was still able to ejaculate and fathered two children.
After his marriage and birth of children, Andrei Chikatilo lived a normal life of a father of the family for over a decade. He started working as school teacher, however complaints about assaults against underage children were piling up and he was forced to move from one school to another. It went on like that for a while until 1978 when he eventually settled in a mining town near Rostov called Shakhty where he started teaching at local school.
Lena Zakotnova – Andrei Chikatilo’s First MurderAndrei Chikatilo committed his first murder in the town of Shakhty on December 22, 1978. He was 42 year old – quite unusual as most serial killers start with their deeds in early twenties. He brought nine year old Lena Zakotnova to an abandoned shed with intentions to rape her but because of his impotency, he could not get an erection. When little Lena attempted to fight back, Andrei Chikatilo pulled out a knife and started stabbing the girl. The struggle, the blood, the murder – it was such a rush for him that he reached orgasm. This experience further affirmed to him that sexual pleasure is derived from violence. After Lena was dead, The Butcher of Rostov threw her in the Grushovka River where she was found on Christmas Eve.
Even though Andrei Chikatilo was seen with Lena Zakotnova just before her death and even though there was blood found on the steps of his house, the convictions were dropped after he was provided alibi by his wife. The police went on to arrest Alexsandr Kravchenko who had previous rape convictions. Alexsandr Kravchenko was eventually executed for murder of Lena Zakotnova he did not commit. The police reports say that Alexsandr Kravchenko confessed to her murder – would be interesting to know what method the police use to force him into admitting to murder he never committed, knowing that such confession would lead to his death. He was executed in 1984.
Andrei Chikatilo VictimsAfter murder of Lena Zakotnova, Andrei Chikatilo took a 3 year break from killing. Then in 1981 the urge to kill came again after he was given a job which required him to travel a lot. He developed a strategy that worked well. He was able to pick children who were easy victims and lured them with a “free candy” trick. The objective was to lure the victims into the woods as he found the quiet, abandoned areas of the forest to be a perfect setting for killing and ejaculating.
His second victim was 17 year old Larisa Tkachenko whom he stabbed, strangled and choked with fallen leaves and dirt in order to prevent her from making noises that could attract attention. He formerly did not intend to stab her, just wanted to have sex with her. Larisa Tkachenko was a prostitute however Andrei Chikatilo was unable to achieve erection so she started to mock him – bad idea! She ended up having her nipple cannibalized and a stick shoved up her vagina.
The murder of Larisa Tkachenko re-ignited his sexual desire and satisfaction he drew from violence and killing. As his job required him to travel a lot, he would make friends with young people at bus and train stops. He would lure them into the woods where he would rape (or attempt to rape) them, and sexually assault them with a knife. The knife became his extended penis as his actual penis would often fail.
Andrei Chikatilo did not commit his third murder until June 12, 1982. Lyuba Biryuk from Zaplavskaya village was lured into the woods where she was stabbed 40 times and had her eyes slashed with a knife. This became the trademark of Citizen X murders and was meant to eliminate his imprint in victims’ eyes. He would also start carving out sexual organs of his victims which he would then eat. A serial killer would become a cannibal. He also found pleasure in mutilating victims’ tongues and other facial parts.
By the end of 1982, Andrei Chikatilo killed additional three people, including his first male victim – nine year old Oleg Podzhidaev. Between January and September of 2004, his victim count rose by 15. Most of the victims were found in the forests, close to the railway tracks which landed the unknown murderer new name – Shelter Belt Killer. This also resulted in increased police presence at bus and train stops as it became apparent that Shelter Belt Killer picks his victims up there.
In February of 1984, Andrei Chikatilo was arrested for theft of linoleum from his work place. Then in September he was arrested again after a patrolling officer saw him approach women in a suspicious way at the Rostov bus station. He was a suspect in the shelter belt murders, but was released after 3 months as his blood type didn’t match the blood type of the semen found at crime scenes. DNA sampling did not exist at the time and in some cases the blood type of semen would mismatch an actual blood type of the person who this semen is from.
Moscow detective major Mikhail Fetisov was deployed to Roscov to investigate the killings. As person in charge of the investigation, Mikhail Fetisov named the killer “The Rostov Ripper” and involved experienced forensic analyst Victor Burakov in investigation. Victims were mounting one after another, but the investigation was returning no results.
His next two kills came in 1985. These were both separate incidents involving women. Subsequent two year killing break was interrupted in May 1987 when Andrei Chikatilo killed a young boy in Revda, Ukraine where he went on a business trip. As part of his job, spent a lot of time travelling and picked himself new victims at places he visited, far from Rostov. Zaporozhye in central Ukraine was a playground for his July, 1987 kill and another victim was killed in Russian Leningrad in September of the same year.
In 1988 Andrei Chikatilo killed two boys in separate incidents in Krasny-Sulin and five other people in 1989. Then he took a break for a few months again and resumed killing in January 1990 murdering two women and seven young boys. Since victims were piling up and reached several dozen, the police have intensified the manhunt and Rostov area was under constant surveillance, including countless undercover cops. Issa Kostoyev took over the investigation and went as far as to study another Russian serial killer and also consulted the psychology who created a detailed profile of the killer.
Arrest of Andrei ChikatiloWhen Andrei Chikatilo murdered and mutilated Sveta Korostik on November 6, 1990 he was spotted by an undercover cop operating around the Leskhoz train station as he was leaving the crime scene – you guessed it… the forest. Since no Russians go to the forest in November, unless to gather wild mushrooms, Andrei immediately raised suspicion. He was dressed nothing like a person who’d go for a hike in the woods and was carrying a bag made of nylon – something you can’t use when picking up mushrooms. His formal attire was dirty and showed signs of blood on several places.
His looks and behavior were seen as suspicious, but he was not arrested, only had his IDs checked. The police who stopped him didn’t see a reason for arrest – luckily for Andrei who carried amputated breasts of Sveta Korostik in his nylon bag which was never checked – but he filed a routine report on persons he checked. When dead body of Sveta Korostik was later discovered, autopsy confirmed date and time of her death and since her corpse was found in the forest close to the Leskhoz train station and time of her kill was suspiciously close to the time a suspiciously acting man came out of the forest in the area, the police started to see Andrei Chikatilo as the man known only by nick names given to him – Citizen X, Butcher of Rostov, The Rostov Ripper, The Red Ripper or Shelter Belt Killer. However the arrest was not made as the police still had his blood samples from previous arrests which suggested that his blood and semen found at crime scenes belonged to different people. The police had him under round the clock watch, though.
The actual apprehension took place on November 20, 1990. Andrei Chikatilo was seen wandering the city and approaching children in all forms of suspicious ways. The interrogation was returning no results, even though Russian ways of treatment of criminals are rather questionable (see confession of Alexsandr Kravchenko who admitted murdering Lena Zakotnova which landed him the death sentence, even though Lena was killed by Andrei Chikatilo – Russian police must definitely have the ways to make their prisoners confess to whatever they wish, however they were not successful with Andrei Chikatilo).
According to Russian law, the police had 10 days to either prosecute him, or release him. However hard evidence was missing and Andrei was not confessing to anything despite questionable interrogation methods. Finally, the police involved a psychiatrist and after a long talk, Andrei Chikatilo confessed to murdering 56 people. He took the police to crime scenes and demonstrated how he killed their victims there. At the time, Butcher of Rostov was only suspected of committing 36 murders as others were either done far away from Rostov, or the bodies were never found. Because some of his victims could not be recovered not even after his confessions to 56 murders, he was charged with murders of 52 people.
Trial and Execution of Andrei ChikatiloBecause of how severe his murders were, the trial of Andrei Chikatilo looked something like The Silence of the Lambs. He was kept inside the steel cage while in court room – however it was mostly for his protection, not anybody else’s. He was also under non-stop video surveillance in prison because many inmates and prison workers were related to his victims (with 56 victims, chances are good he would have killed someone who’s got connections to the jail).
During trial, Andrei Chikatilo occasionally acted funny. He probably knew that he was gonna get executed so he was having himself a good time being prosecuted. At some point he exclaimed that he was pregnant during court hearing. Other of his famous quotes include profession that he was lactating. He also let his exhibitionist side aloose twice when he dropped his pants and flashed everyone in the courtroom while shouting that he was no homo.
Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov sentenced Andrei Chikatilo to death. Russian president Boris Yeltzin turned down his appeal for clemency and on February 14, 1994 he was executed. The execution was done in a soundproof room with blood drain in the middle within Novocherkassk prison. He was told to face the wall while executioner pointed the gun at him and shot him at the back of his head.