Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was a Soviet serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov, the Red Ripper, and the Rostov Ripper, who committed the sexual assault, murder, and mutilation of at least 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Uzbek SSR. Chikatilo confessed to a total of 56 murders and was tried for 53 of these killings in April 1992. He was convicted and sentenced to death for 52 of these murders in October 1992 and subsequently executed in February 1994.
Chikatilo was known by such titles as the Rostov Ripper and the Butcher of Rostov because the majority of his murders were committed in the Rostov Oblast of the Russian SFSR.
rostov-on-don russia october 1982 a special task force is desperately searching for a serial killer the investigation had begun four months earlier when the body of a 13 year old girl was found in a desolate patch of forest she had been stabbed repeatedly her eyes had been gouged out there's a Russian superstition that the last sight that that a murder victim sees is somehow imprinted on the surface of the eye soon two more bodies with similar wounds were discovered all three had been sexually assaulted all the bodies were found in the woods near the railway tracks in their cab risky and shocked the districts at first the brutal and ritualistic nature of the killings led police to suspect a satanic cult was at work or a group harvesting organs to sell for transplant police also wondered if a gang of boys from a local home for the mentally handicapped might be responsible they dubbed the investigation the case of fools none of these theories panned out in the Soviet era local investigators were not prepared to understand the brutal nature of the killings they had not dealt with anyone of his caliber before they were reluctant to admit that things like this would occur in a communist state the best they could do was gather bits of evidence ligaments we got down to serious work first of all with the identification of the bodies and then his forensic tests of the remains despite these efforts the body count rose now we see shortly both must be included city grew by 1984 we had found 23 bodies some of the bodies were still fresh which gave us a broader picture of the injuries and the killer's behavior at the site of crime when you live in a place to economists many of the victims were young girls and boys who had been discovered in the wooded areas around Rostov all had been mutilated when they found some of the victims you could still see the reflection of horror in their eyes it was very hard to look at because many were just children's or a cut abdomens amputated breasts it was horrible to see the death and in many cases it was clear that those body parts had been removed by the teeth of the killer a lot of the bodies were found near transportation points bus stations train stations in particular which indicated that the killer whoever he was was somebody who used the Soviet transportation system extensively despite clear evidence that a serial killer was on the loose Soviet police and the Communist Party controlled media refused to release any information in the absence of real facts rumors spread throughout the region there were rumors of people with state black limousines you know scarfing up children in the countryside but in the absence of any real media these children disappeared and nobody knew that they had gone with no solid suspects Rostov police began a wide-ranging manhunt arresting nearly anyone who looked even vaguely suspicious they had a lot of manpower and they deployed dozens and dozens of detectives trying to come up with suspects but for eight years the killer remained at large initially his victims tended to come more from the ranks of what they called women with disorderly sex lives as time went on he started to take more and more boys innocent children whoever he could lure and kill he chose children whose physical stature made it easy for them to be manipulated he chose prostitutes who are willing to go with a stranger police focused their efforts on transportation hubs they put very high-profile police officers uniforms etc in all but a few train stations bus stations yes that's the big ruthless doesn't boo disappeared it's all the large stations were patrolled by policemen in uniform we were trying to play on the criminals emotions and drive him into an isolated location undercover officers were used to keep these remote locations under surveillance in early November the strategy paid off a plainclothes detective at an isolated train station spotted a man emerging from the woods the officer noticed a smear of blood on his cheek and what appeared to be a severe cut on his finger according to a policeman who was watching him the suspect washed his shoes and cleaned his coat the policeman in civilian clothes asked him to show his papers he identified himself as Andrei Chikatilo a 54 year old grandfather and loyal communist party member the detective did not have enough reason to hold Chikatilo he did however file a report on the incident 24 hours later a passerby discovered a girl's body in the same woods it happened the next day after Chikatilo had been stopped on the platform the body had all the typical injuries on it the Chief of Police immediately demanded the files of any suspicious individuals who are registered in the last 24 hours on November 20th 1990 on dre Chikatilo was apprehended in a Rostov marketplace investigators captured the arrest on video he had come out of the pub with a bottle of beer and tried to make contact with a young boy we suspected that he might try to lure the boy away and at that point Chikatilo was arrested by now Chikatilo was suspected of committing more than 30 murders but the police had no eyewitness and few real clues detectives desperately needed proof of his guilt they needed a confession they wanted to get the confession if you read Crime & Punishment by Dostoyevsky I think that you'll see that the confession is a very powerful symbol and very powerful element in Russian culture soon Andrei Chikatilo would reveal the gruesome details of his 12-year run as a sexual predator it was a tale that would shock a nation in the annals of crime Andrei Chikatilo is undoubtedly one of the most sadistic killers ever to live and he got away with murder for more than 12 years November 1990 police in rostov-on-don Russia were interrogating suspected serial killer Andrei Chikatilo for 12 years a sadistic killer had raped and murdered dozens of women and children authorities believed Chikatilo was the culprit but so far the father of two had admitted nothing by law authorities had ten days to link him to the murders otherwise Chikatilo would go free well the next day we invited the psychiatrist Poconos key to dr. Chikatilo one-on-one he spent the whole day with Chikatilo from early morning till very late at night the techniques used by psychiatrist Alexander Buchan offski were much different than the intense police interrogation I explained I wasn't his enemy also not a defender either in the medical language are no words like guilty and wrong I was his judge but just a doctor yes Chikatilo opened up to buchan offski after several hours of conversation he began to confess his crimes he probably in some respects wanted to be caught I can't imagine somebody doing that for all those many years and not realizing that he was living in a hell of his own creation and to be he took even a kind of smarmy perverse pride in demonstrating his various techniques which he did in the KGB gymnasium where little dummies were used to represent the victims not only did Chikatilo admit to the 36 murders of which police were aware he also described 17 more that they hadn't tied to him from then we began to collect evidence to prove his connection to the other murderers cattivo was more than willing to show how he disarmed people how he tricked them how he tied up the boys how he inflicted the knife wounds and how he even had sexual relations with his victims either in the stage of near death or after death what we do know about the serial killer is when you start to talk with them they hold everything together then they begin to disintegrate and they begin to be able to share bits pieces and odds and ends of murders on the evening of December 7th 1990 beliefs drove Chikatilo to the local village of Shakti again one of the officers had a video camera Swami walking between the gravestones of a small public cemetery Chikatilo brought them to the site of a shallow unmarked grave police dug until finally a child sneaker emerged through the earth Chikatilo watched casually detached from the proceedings these horrors would shock the Soviet nation what could have created this brutal killer how could he have killed so many for so long what would cause a person to slip over that line and become a serial offender of any kind Andrei romanovitch Chikatilo had started life in a world of violence and human degradation he was born in 1936 in the ukrainian village of Yamla Genoa Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist and famines devastated the Ukrainian people there were serious food shortages in Ukraine partly as a result of the devastation of the war and partly as a result of agricultural policies of the Stalin era Soviet Union under the banner of collectivism Stalin force has in farmers to deliver their entire crops to the state for nationwide distribution in the Ukraine itself however people were starving there was outbreaks of mass cannibalism in Russia that were caused simply by hunger reports of cannibalism became so frequent they developed into a kind of folklore in typical family cannibalism story my aunt was arrested because she had somebody over for for a meal and there were finger tips floating in the soup as a young boy Andres own mother told him such a grim tale about a horrific event that had supposedly happened just before he was born his mother used to tell him stories that his older brother was cannibalized because of the famine that was taking place she constantly used it as a warning don't go out and play after it's dark they'll grab you and heat you just like they did to your brother's to pun her claimed that his brother had been cannibalized was impossible to confirm but psychiatrists speculates that Chikatilo himself might have been traumatized by another crime an assault on his mother his sister was born in 1943 during a time when the Germans were occupying a large part of Ukraine where he lived and his father was supposedly in the Red Army at the time it's hard to imagine how the father could have gotten back to the family home to impregnate the mother and they had a one-room home so it's quite possible that he saw a German soldier rape his mother also devastating in the eyes of thirteen-year-old Andre was the fate of his father taken prisoner by the Nazis when Chikatilo father finally returned home in 1949 he was suffering from tuberculosis rather than being rewarded for his war service he was branded a traitor to the Soviet government you either died in battle or you triumphed and there was no third way that was honorable Stalin's paranoia was such that soldiers who were captured by the Germans and held captive were considered suspect although the Communist Party made Andres father an outcast Andres own devotion to the state was such that as a young teen he became an active member of the Communist Youth League Chikatilo was very genuine in his belief and his professed public belief in communism but with the onset of puberty young Andre realized that he was not like the other boys in the youth league he never fit in very well and he felt embarrassed and humiliated generally about his lack of sexual prowess who have seen his social circle consist of much younger children miss whom he felt comfortable because they understood him or elderly people who liked him because he was always a good boy as a teenager Andre was attracted to young girls but he was humiliated when he found himself unable to perform sexually at that point it was probably as attractive a man as he was ever going to be and started having courtship with her with a girl in the village and his impotence destroyed that relationship it became a subject of gossip in the village it was yet another insult to Chikatilo fragile self-image and a discovery that would torment him all of his life by 1955 Andrei Chikatilo was desperate to escape Ukraine and memories of a miserable youth by his late teens Andrei knew that he was sexually inadequate to compensate Chikatilo decided to better himself in other ways he set his sights on the prestigious Moscow University hoping to earn a law degree but he failed the entrance exam disappointed he entered a vocational school he wanted to believe in himself as a person who had studied hard which the in fact had and gotten a university degree not an insignificant accomplishment given his origins there was another layer of acceptability if you will another layer to cover up what really exists with Chikatilo in 1963 at the urging of his younger sister the 28 year old Chikatilo married living with his sister and she had a spinster friend and the two of them were put together and having no better prospects they married his new wife feodosia was a 24 year old daughter of a coal miner at last he had found a person in life with whom he could communicate and relate and be have some something approaching normal emotional closeness he never was capable of normal sexual relations with her but there was through a kind of masturbation and insemination process an effort made conceive children in 1965 they were successful the birth of their daughter Luda was followed by a son Yura four years later Chikatilo found work as a communications technician throughout this time he continued his studies working towards degrees and Marxist Leninist Engineering and Russian literature the family had a balcony second floor flat in a nondescript block by Russian standards it was a pleasant life outwardly Andre was a good husband and father Theodosia had little reason to complain she might have felt well he's a party member he he brings home his salary he's not drunk and he doesn't beat me those last two things would set him apart in a favorable way from a lot of men in the Soviet Union his marriage his children his membership in the Communist Party that's what everyone saw but that wasn't his true personality Chikatilo had erected a modest and respectable facade for the world to see inside however he was desperately frustrated certainly the fact that he was fundamentally impotent enraged him greatly because he felt that in some ways he was a superior person having gotten three university degrees I think he felt throughout his life that he was that impotence was probably the most fundamental adjective you could use to describe him in 1970 Chikatilo accepted a job in a secondary school as a teacher the 34 year old hoped to find acceptance and respect and yet instead he found constant humiliation his students didn't take him seriously they refused to behave and smoked right in front of him in the classroom he was altogether not the kind of person that would hold the attention of a class of children and they mocked him she was nicknamed the goose by his students and goose and Russian is kind of like jerk in English as someone who inspires zero respect worse Chikatilo found himself enraged by the sight of young people around him falling in love and in his mind engaging in sexual activity one thing that he wanted to change about himself and couldn't change was his sexual impotence he felt in the world that somehow inflicted a tremendous injustice on him any lowlife could enjoy the pleasures of of sexuality the joys of love but he Chikatilo the educated the brilliant the special the genius could not and that was a source of of his fundamental rage in the early 1970s Chikatilo responded to his anger and frustration by secretly molesting students both male and female he felt so profoundly rejected by adults he was unable to have sexual relationships with consenting adults so he instead went to vulnerable children in 1974 he was fired when allegations of his sexual misconduct with students became known rather than take the responsibility for exposing him the director of the school simply got rid of him and it was typical of what might happen in a Soviet society and probably would happen in any society because the incidents were kept quiet Chikatilo could simply relocate he moved his family to the nearby town of Shakti there he found a new position teaching at vocational school number 33 chicka Theo's wife knew that he had little problems he was involved with bothering the children at school but they had put that behind them and she had forgiven her husband but unknown to his wife and family Andrei Chikatilo was constructing another life he bought a second secret house for himself it was a dilapidated three room Shack on a quiet back street called measure voile and it was the perfect setting for murder in Shakti Russia Andrei Chikatilo seemed to be a devoted family man his inner life however was filled with dark and murderous desires in 1978 he began to turn these feelings into action first he acquired a small Shack in a run-down neighborhood in December he took a nine-year-old girl there her name was Yelena Zhukova her friends called her Lena he'd met her at a bus stop and offered her something Soviet children rarely enjoyed bubblegum she agreed to follow him to the house he encountered this girl and I first discovered with her that violence on the body of a girl was something that would get him excited as he began to molest her he he grew increasingly excited and wanted more direct sexual contact with her was unable to perform sexually so use the knife instead it was the moment when he discovered that murder was his passion after that he knew himself in a new way afterward he carried Lena to the nearby Khrushchev goriller he said her body in the water then tossed her school bag after her she was found two days later although policemen investigating the case came across some blood stains near Andrei Chikatilo secret house he was not considered the prime suspect the problem is from the point of view of the police that he had no criminal record he was a party member he had a wife he had children he did not fall into any of the categories that they were used to be used to looking for criminals rather than focusing on Chikatilo police found someone they deemed a more appropriate suspect a local man who had spent time in prison for rape he was later convicted and executed having killed for pleasure Andrei Chikatilo was now able to erase the sense of impotence he'd felt all his life he had gained a piece of self knowledge that he could never shake which was that what turned him on was powerlessness and ultimately the murder of another person still coming so close to being caught had frightened Chikatilo for the next two years he went to work spent time with his wife and children read the papers and waited he quit teaching to become a supply supervisor for tole Koch a position unique to the dysfunctional Soviet economic system where contracts for raw materials often went unfulfilled the job of a tole Koch was to go around to the various enterprises and try to get them to send the cement or send the rubber or send the steel or whatever it was that was necessary it was normal for him to go on the road for several days to visit the supplying enterprises for his own enterprises and be gone without any supervision it was not a particularly prestigious job for a man of Chikatilo education he traveled by train to various factories trying to maintain the image of a dutiful Soviet citizen he does have a struggle I don't think he's just gives himself over to I am evil personified I think he says what I'm thinking what I'm wanting to do is not is not healthy it's not good in the case of someone like chica Tila the brilliance and the strength of the person was in this iron discipline of keeping the two halves of his personality utterly separate for over two years Chikatilo managed to keep his murderous rage under control but finally the dark side of his personality resurfaced on September 3rd 1981 while passing a library in rostov-on-don Chikatilo spotted 17 year old Larissa chenko she agreed to take a walk with him along the Don River instead he steered her into the woods again Chikatilo wasn't able to perform sexually but he remembered wood had satisfied in two years earlier in the secret house on measure boy lane he would attempt to have sex normal sex with the woman he would inevitably fail that would release the great rage that lived and worked inside of Chikatilo sex was the vehicle but the the basic need was to feel a sense of power over his victims Chikatilo killed with even more brutality than before he stabbed his victim repeatedly been savagely bitter he was really getting even he was angry with humanity but especially with women he was seeking revenge and he was getting revenge against the people who rejected him the most with this second murder the veneer of chickity Lowe's normal life shattered a mythology spawned by years of frustration took over Chikatilo became a serial killer he was a man who was impotent what does the word impotent means it means literally without power so in every case whether he was dealing with the young boys the young girls or the young women it was essential for Chikatilo to establish physical dominance and control over the victim gratification has been mixed up with anger and hostility and one complements the other to the degree that you can't even separate them and they came intensely excited and even would spontaneously ejaculate during that mutilation has taken place then he cut off pieces of his victims bodies Chikatilo admitted making the incisions admitted removing the uterus but would never quite cop to the fact that he ate the uterus he said I liked to nibble on it they were so pink and springy those were the words he used what had started as a quest for sexual satisfaction had now become a murder spree the worst in Russian history 1984 rostov-on-don Russia Andrei Chikatilo had now murdered 23 people faced with these brutal killings police began to question anyone who looked suspicious on September 13th to rust off detectives spotted a six-foot tall man wearing a black fur cap she was trying to make conversation with a young girl it was decided not to detain him on the spot follow up and see what he was going to do position the officers tailed the suspect as he approached one young woman after another eventually they observed him fondling a prostitute in a deserted station this act of public lewdness was enough for detectives to arrest the man he identified himself as Andrei Chikatilo he was carrying a small leather case yes this briefcase and in the briefcase was Vaseline ropes and knives well that sounds to me like what we refer to as a kill kit but after questioning Chikatilo investigators discovered that he was a devoted family man and a loyal communist party member he was eventually released they were looking for a young killer who had a criminal record who might have been known as a sexual pervert in his community he had gray hair thick glasses he was tall and skinny with a little pouch of a Bally he seemed to be just another face in the crowd of people that you would see in a provincial Soviet city in addition police laboratories mishandled a blood test that could have tied Chikatilo to the crimes well the Russian police who first of all technologically in the Stone Age and in terms of organization were on that level as well so typically blood and sperm samples would get lost that in itself was an example of the failures of Soviet science and and and of Soviet production capabilities Chikatilo was free to kill again police were desperate to stop the attacks so they decided to try an American criminological technique psychological profiling psychiatrist Alexander bukin offski was recruited to create a psychological portrait of the killer befitting the criminals profile took several months of hard work I had access to top-secret materials that have never been published by analyzing this evidence Buchan offski painted an intriguing description of the killer Anushka said that the criminal was unsociable that he was very ill he stressed sexual perversions he said the criminal could either be living on his own or with a wife but it didn't have a sexual relationship with her yet it would take police another six years to capture Chikatilo a lot of the factors that caused the demise of the Soviet Union were also at work in the Chikatilo case and and enabled him to kill as long as he did and as many people as he did without being caught finally on November 20th 1990 after a 12-year killing spree and 52 victims Andrei Chikatilo was arrested dr. Buchan off skis profile would prove chillingly accurate his confessions he says he enjoyed their cries he enjoyed the blood and he enjoyed their pain well he's obviously a sexual sadist what the serial murderer learns with the act of his first murder is that he can be in control because until this time they've basically been the scattered pieces of an individual that has never made them feel that they are in charge the most serious motivating force for a lot of people if not all people is sex some kind of the desire to procreate the desire to be a sexual being and in his case it was just a totally frustrated humiliating failure that he struggled with all of his life spring 1992 Andrei Chikatilo 56 year old grandfather and loyal party member stood accused of a string of gruesome and brutal murders the Soviet Union had collapsed becoming the Commonwealth of Independent States chicca Telos trial promised to be the first great spectacle of the post-soviet era the Russian people reacted with grim fascination once chica kilos case became more or less public knowledge with the local people were hideously aware that a serial killer was in their midst and nothing spreads faster in Russia than rumor and soon Chikatilo would be given a nickname befitting his murderous deeds the butcher of Rostov on the morning of April 14 1992 in the Russian city of rostov-on-don citizens flooded the steps of the house of Justice anxious for a glimpse of the accused killer Andrei Chikatilo [Applause] for months newspaper headlines had branded him the red ripper or the butcher of Rostov Chikatilo was dressed in a souvenir Olympic sports shirt provided by the court his head had been shaved a standard procedure to guard against lice as proceedings began the setting resembled a circus more than a murder trial he was in a large iron cage in the court room the cage was to protect him from the rage of the parents of the victims he was never able to sit at a table and converse with his lawyer the way on Western defendant would have been it was a bizarre scene in the public seating you had a number of family members of victims who were quite vehement in their desire to see him executed and if they had had the option of seeing him executed by having Wolf's tear apart they would have voted for that victim's parents reaction was understandably strong when he was put in his cage people rushed towards it and shouted give him to us but how else would you expect the parents who lost their children to behave on the opposite end of the courtroom just as Leonid Akopian of presided flanked by ordinary citizens the Russian equivalent of the Western jury the judge read the list of charges the volume of evidence filled 222 case books the story they told was grim and horrifying in its details the victims ages varied from nine years old to 45 they were both male and female the ultimate point of the sexual act is to create life chikka kilos idea of it was that it should climax in death so he was he was missed to anti-sex mr. anti-life it took two days for the judge to read through his list of indictments on April 16th the defendant was allowed an opportunity to address the court families of Chikatilo victims screamed insults some fainted in a rambling to our statement Chikatilo described himself as a man robbed of his genitals born impotent Chikatilo claimed to be cursed by a lifetime of sexual frustration that had eventually driven him to murder he asserted that he had never planned to kill but that he had been seized with shaking and shivering and had lost control he seemed at various times intent on proving that he was crazy at some points that I witnessed he jumped up and started shouting at the judge and then dropped his pants and exposed himself at other times he started cursing and screaming and so forth most observers believed Chikatilo Spee havior in the courtroom was an act an effort to gain sympathy if found criminally insane Chikatilo could be placed in a psychiatric hospital if judged sane however he faced execution in Russia that meant a single bullet to the back of the head the definition of sanity and insanity from the legal point of view which which is an international definition and was used in the Soviet Union was can the person in question tell the difference between right and wrong the trial would continue for six months throughout Chikatilo presented himself as a wretched victim of nature's indifference and a gruesome metaphor for Russia's seventy year failed social experiment when he was defending himself he blamed Stalin he blamed his parents he blamed the cannibalism of the famine he blamed the Communist Party and he even blamed his own blood type prosecutors would argue that Andrei Chikatilo was in fact the most calculating diabolical killer of all time his crimes were sickening but I don't think he was sick in the psychiatric or legal sense certainly not insane he was more bad than he was mad and and he was certainly very crafty but he wasn't crazy October 14 1992 would signify the day of reckoning for serial murderer Andrei Chikatilo it had taken nearly two months for Judge Leonid Akopian off to write his final verdict everybody knew he was going to be convicted everybody knew what the sentence was going to be but there was I guess some value in going through the ritual after a 12-year murder spree final justice came swiftly On February 15 1994 Andrei Chikatilo was escorted through the halls of Rostov prison and led to a private cell there he was executed by a single shot behind the right ear in the aftermath of his execution writers reporters and victim's families attempted to find some trace of humanity in Andrei Chikatilo but in many ways this man who committed extraordinarily cruel crimes remains an enigma he spoke himself of some of his motivations and yet when you hear any single explanation it never rings with sufficient truth to explain the hideous crimes that this man committed having seen the dead bodies of so many victims it may have seemed natural for me to hate him and that is what I felt until Chikatilo was finally captured at that point I realized that Chikatilo wasn't in control of what he was doing he was a very sick person acting against his will whether you believe that he was the victim of the circumstances under which he was born or whether you believe he was a evil person who used freewill to do what he did and wanted to kill that evil that grew in him is not something that's alien to all of us perhaps the final judgement on the life of Andrei Chikatilo was written by the killer himself an expression of guilt and self-loathing that at the same time hints at his gruesome violent nature and now my brain should be taken apart piece by piece and examined so there wouldn't be any others like me