Born in October, 136, Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo grew up in the village of Tabluchne in Ukraine. He was born into a poor family that lived in a one room hut. His parents were collective farm labourers that didn’t get paid for their work, but instead, they received the right to cultivate a plot land behind their family hut. Later in his life, Chikatilo admitted that him and his family often had to eat grass in order to escape starvation. When talking about his childhood, he described it as being blighted by poverty, ridicule, war and hunger. During his young years, his mother Anna, told him repeatedly that he had a brother, Stephan that died prior to Andrei’s birth. She claimed that the boy was kidnapped and cannibalised by starving neighbours at the age of four. However, it has never been established that this incident ever took place nor that a Stephan Chikatilo ever existed.
During the WWII, when the Nazi occupied Ukraine, Chikatilo witnessed bombings and shootings from which him and his mother would hide in ditches or cellars. His father went to war and was later taken prisoner and got hurt. As a child, Chikatilo was a chronic bedwetter and got beaten by his mother for every offence. His mother later gave birth to a little girl called Tatyana. With his father gone to war, the baby girl was fathered by someone else. It was speculated that she was the result of the rape by a german soldier that took place in front of young Andrei.
In school, Andrei was a studious and shy child that would often faint at school due to hunger. He was bullied constantly by his colleagues due to his small and lean stature. The abuse from his mother continued and she was later on described by Tatyana as an unforgiving and harsh mother.
Andrei developed a passion for memorising data and reading and was considered to be an excellent student by his professors. In his teen years, he was a model student and a dedicated communist. He later on became the president of the pupils’ Communist Party committee and the editor of the school newspaper at the age of 14.
In his teens, he discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, fact that worsened his social behaviour and self-hatered. He was very shy and timid with girls and he never found the courage to ask his crushes out. His first encounter with violence took place when he jumped on an 11 years old girl and put her to the ground. His body reacted in an unexpected way and he found himself aroused and hit climax when he saw her struggle. He continued his life with an attempt to enrol at Moscow State University but didn’t get in. He then moved to Kursk where he joined a vocational school in order to become a communications technician in 1955.
During the same year, he engaged in his first relationship with a girl but failed to get an erection every time they tried to engage in intercourse. The relationship was terminated after 18 months. After he completed the mandatory military service, Andrei returned to his native village where he started a relationship with a divorced women in 1960. The relationship was eded due to his inability to get an erection. His friends and peers found out about his impotence and he later stated that everyone was whispering behind his back that he was impotent and as a result, he tried to hung himself. He was saved by his mother and neighbours and then left the native land and moved to Rostov-on-Don.
Finally, in the year of 1963, Chikatilo married a Feodosia Odnacheva, two weeks after he met her. Their sex life was minimal and she only managed to get pregnant by getting inseminated manually. They had two children, Lyudmila and Yuri.
In 1970’s he obtained a degree in Literature and Philology at the University of Rostov. He then begun his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature. As a teacher, he was largely ineffective, not due to a lack of knowledge, but to his awkward behaviour. He would often get bullied by his students and was unable to maintain discipline in the class.
Andrei Chikatilo committed his first sexual assault in 1973 upon one of his students. He slammed the girl against a wall and while touching her genital area and breasts, he reached climax as she was struggling against his grasp. A few months later, he sexually assaulted another student whom he had locked in his classroom. He was also in charge of the girl’s boarding wing and would often go in their rooms unannounced in hope that he will see them naked. He was never charged for any of these incidents but, due to the increasing number of complaints the school director advised him to resign voluntarily or he would be fired. Andrei then found a job at a new school in Shakhty, a city close to Rostov-on-Don.
Chikatilo committed his first documented murder on the 22nd of December 1978 in the city of Shakhty. There, he lured the 9 year old Yelena Zakotnova to a house he purchased in secret. He tried to rape her but couldn’t get an erection. He then choked and stabbed her three times in the abdomen. He reached climax while stabbing the child. He then proceeded to dump her body in the Grushevka river. She was found 2 days later. Despite the fact that there was evidence linking Chikatilo to the crime, including people giving a description of a man resembling him and blood stains found near his house, Aleksandr Kravchenko (a man that served prison time for raping and killing a teenage girl) was arrested for the crime although he had a strong alibi. Aleksandr was then convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Following his first murder, Chikatilo was able to reach climax only by stabbing women and children to death. Although he claimed that he initially struggled to resist these urges to kill, the urge to relieve that experience overwhelmed him and he gave in every time.
Following more complaints of child molestation and assault against both sexes, his teacher career ended in 1981. He then took a job as a supply clerk for a construction company that required him to travel across the Soviet Union.
On the 3rd of September 1981, Chikatilor met 17 years old Larisa Tkachenko at a bus stop. He later confessed that he lured her in a near forest under the pretext of drinking vodka and relaxing. As soon as they got there, he pushed her to the ground and tried to rape her. Again, he couldn’t get an erection so he strangled her to death. Without a knife, he mutilated her body with his teeth and a stick and covered her body with leaves and old newspaper pages. Her body was found the next day.
On the 12th of June 1982, nine months after Larisa’s murder, Chikatilo met 13 year old Lyubov Biryuk. As they walked on the sidewalk together, as soon as they got to a more secluded place, he pushed Liubyov in the undergrowth and killed her by stabbing and slashing her to death. Her body was found on the 27th of June where the medical examiner discovered evidence of 22 knife wounds to her head, neck, chest and pelvic region.
Between July and semptember 1982, Chikatilo killed 5 other victims between ages of 9 and 18. He had a pattern of approaching vagabonds, runaways or children in bus stops or train stations, luring them into the forest or secluded areas and stabbing and slashing them to death. He begun eviscerating his victims with a knife (pulling their internal organs out) in addition to multiple knife wounds and strangulation. Many of his victims showed evidence of mutilation to the eye sockets after he gouged his victims’ eyes out.
His adult victims were female prostitutes or homeless women whereas his child victims were of both sexes.
On the 10th of December 1082, Chikatilo met 10 year old Olga Stalmachenok in a bus. He convinced her to get off the bus with him. He then proceeded to stab her 50 times around the head and body, cut her open and excised her uterus and lower bowel. Same striations on her eyes sockets were found.
Chikatilo didn’t kill again until June 1983 when he murdered 15 year old Laura Sarkisyan and left her body close to a rail platform near Shakhty. He committed five more by September of the same year.
The similarities in the M.O (modus operandi) and the increasing number of victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that this was the work of a serial killer.
The Soviet Police theorised that the person behind these killings must be mentally ill, homosexual, a pedophile and the like of an individual that spent his time in psychiatric wards and must have been logged in a card filing system. Much of their effort, if no all of the police effort was concentrated upon this theory.
As a result of this investigation, more than 1000 unrelated crimes, including 95 murders, 140 aggravated assaults and 245 rapes were solved.
On the other hand, as police continued its investigation, the pile of bodies was still increasing and Chikatilo was at work. On the 27th of October 1983, he eviscerated the body of a 19 year old prostitute called Vera Shevkun. The same M.O was found on the victim but a small difference. This time, her eyes have not been gouged out or wounded.
Two months later, on the 27th of December, Chikatilo lured off a train a 14 year old boy named Sergey Markov. He then murdered him at a rural train station. Sergey was emasculated and suffered over 70 knife wounds to his neck and upper torso prior to evisceration.
In January and February 1984, Chikatilo proceeded to kill two other women in Rostov’s park. On the 24th of March, he killed 10 year old Dimitry Ptashnikov. Several witnesses saw him walking with the boy previous to his murder and were able to provide the Police with clear, accurate descriptions of Chikatilo. On the 25th of May, Andrei Chikatilo killed a woman called Tatyana Petrsyan and her 10 year old daughter, Svetlana. By the end of July, he had killed 3 further young women between the ages of 19 and 21 and a 13 year old boy.
On the 2nd of August, he killed a 16 year old girl named Natalya Golosovskaya. On the 7th of August he killed 17 year old Lyudmila Alekseyeva. She suffered 39 slash wounds before he mutilated and disemboweled her. He intentionally inflicted wounds on the girl that he knew wouldn’t be immediately fatal. Her body was found the next day with her upper lip inside her mouth.
By the 15th of August 1984, he had killed another woman and a 10 year old. After another 2 weeks, the body of an 11 year old boy was found just a few yards away from where the body of Alekseyeva was found a month before. The boy had been strangled and castrated and had his eyes gouged out. On the 6th of September, Chikatilo killed a young librarian named Irina Luchinskaya.
After serving three months in prison, Chikatilo was now out and ready to kill again. Upon his release in December 1984, he found a new job and kept a low profile for a few months. He begun killing again in August 1985. On the first of August, while on a business trip to Moscow, he met 18 year old Natalia Pokhlistova in a train station. He lured her to the woods where he stabbed her 38 times and then strangled her to death. Four weeks later, on the 27th of August, Chikatilo had killed another young women named Irina Gulyaeva. As the police Investigations were getting more serious, Chikatilo laid low and didn’t commit another murder for a whole year. On the 18th of August 1986, the body of a young girl was found buried in the grounds of a collective farm house. The same pattern of wounds was present on the victim and the case was linked to the serial killer. The victim was a 18 year old secretary named Irina Pogoreyelva. Her body had been cut open from her neck to the genitalia, one breast was removed and both eyes were gouged out. During the rest of 1986, Chikatilo did not kill anymore.
The year of 1987 came and Chikatilo had killed three times. Each murder took place while he was away from his city on a business trip. On the 16th of May, hemet 12 year old Oleg Makarenkov in a train station. He promised the boy that he will share his food with him in the nearby woods. The body of the boy wasn’t found until 1991. In July 1987, Chikatilo killed a 12 year old boy named Ivan Bilobetsky and in September, he killed the 16 year old Yuri Tereshonok.
In 1988, Chikatilo killed three times. He murdered an unidentified woman in April and two boys in May and July. The women’s nose was cut off her face and multiple knife wounds were found in the neck area. She was ultimately killed by a slab of concrete blow to her head. The boy he killed in May 1988 was named Aleksey Voronko and his body presented the same M.O. as all the other victims of the serial killer. On the 14th of July 1988, he killed the 15 year old boy named Yevgeny Muratov. Although his body wasn’t found until 1989, his murder was linked with the manhunt for the Rostov’s Ripper.
Chikatilo did not kill again until the 1st of March 1989. On that day, he killed a 16 year old girl in his daughter’s vacant flat. He dismembered her and his the remains in the sewer. The murder was not linked to the serial killer due to the different M.O. Between May and August 1989, Chikatilo killed another 4 victims.
On the 14th of January 1990, Chikatilo encountered 11 year old Andrei Kravchenko outside the theater. His emasculated and multiple stabbed body was found in the following month. Seven weeks later, on the 7th of March, Chikatilo killed the 10 year old boy Yaroslav Makarov. His body was found the next day. Andrei had killed three further victims by August 1990. On the 4th of April he killed 31 years old Lyubov Zuyeva. Her body was found in August. On the 28th of July, he killed 13 year old Viktor Petrov and on the 14th of August, he killed 11 year old Ivan Fomin.
In October 17, Chikatilo killed 16 year old Vadim Gramov and proceeded to castrate him, stab him 27 times, cut the tip of his tongue and stab his left eye. He was found on the 30th of October. On the same day Vadim was found, Chikatilo stabbed another boy,16 year old Viktor Tishchenko, 40 times.
His final murder was on the 6th of November 1990. He killed and mutilated the 22 year old Svetlana Korostik. This was his last victim and the one that lead the police to his capturing.
Chikatilo was arrested on the 20th of November 1990 and confessed to the murders on the 29th of November 1990. He was then brought to trial in Rostov in 1992 and charged with 53 counts of murder and five sexual assaults against minors.
On the 15th of October 1992, judge Akubzhanov found Chikatilo quilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced him to death for each murder. He was sentenced to death plus 86 years.
On the 14th of February 1994, Andrei Chikatilo was executed by a single gunshot behind the right ear and was buried in an unmarked grave at the prison cemetery.
This was the sad, horrific, full of terror life of Andrei Chikatilo. Even today, he is considered to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the history.
I am aware that this article is full of names, dates and gruesome details but this is a little history lesson into what his childhood looked like and what lead to his evilness during his adulthood. I do believe that it it worth mentioning all the names of his victims as they should be remembered, not just by their families but by an entire world that was shocked and horrified by Chikatilo’s actions.
As of his persona, if any empathy or understanding should be given, we will see in the next article: Chikatilo’s pychological profile and the police investigation that lead to his capture.
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