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  • Writer's pictureJ. Sutton

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo

Updated: May 11, 2021

Criminal Behaviours explores one of the worlds worst serial killers, The Butcher of Rostov; Andrei Chikatilo.

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo

This article explores the childhood and early life of Andrei Chikatilo, leading up to his crimes, and his convictions. There will be a brief discussion throughout regarding possible theories into his drives and motivations, and some of the biological implications for his behaviours.

Warning this case contains content of a disturbing nature involving violence against children, violent sexual deviancy and cannibalism, those with a sensitive disposition may not want to read on.


AKA - The Red Ripper & The Rostov Ripper.

Born: 16 October 1936, Yabluchnyk in the Sumy Oblast of Ukraine SSR.

Died: 14 February 1994, in Novocherkassk, Russia age 57

Height: 5'9" Slim build

Victims: 52 convicted; 53 tried; 56+ claimed

Span of crimes: 12 years - 22 December 1978 – 6 November 1990

Nature of crimes: Murder, Cannibalism, Torture, Mutilation, Indignity to a corpse, paedophilia, Rape, Kidnap, sexual assault

Victim pool: Boys/Girls age 18 & under. Women age 18-44

Occupations: Telephone engineer, School teacher, Supply clerk


Andrei was raised in the Ukraine during the time Joseph Stalin was in power he lived through the Russian famine during the 1930's for many years the country suffered including his own parents.

When the Ukraine asked for a lesser quota demand on food collections Starlin responded by sealing off the borders of the Ukraine, preventing any food from entering at all. This had a devastating effect on the people living there.

World war II came and Germany was closing in setting up blockades cutting them off for just over 870 days causing Russia and connecting areas to plunge into deprivation.

Along with the harsh communist rules already taking effects in places such as the Ukraine many of the people started to starve eating pets and whatever they could to survive including other people.

There were thousands of reported cases of cannibalism "Approximately 1,500 Leningraders were arrested for cannibalism." and that was just one city, there were many cases that went unreported, so the actual numbers of cannibal related deaths is unknown.

The Chikatilo family would fall victim to such a fate previous to his birth Andrei had an older brother, but Andrei would never get to meet him as he was cannibalised by starving villagers when he wandered off as a young child, an example of the harsh reality of the time.

Although Andrei had a tough Childhood it was no different to the other children who were living in this situation.

So this type of thing was regular by the standards of the soviet during the famine.

The Chikatilo Family
The Chikatilo Family

Andrei suffered with a condition called hydrocephalus causing him to start wetting the bed, this condition would give him problems throughout his life.

Andrei's mother was a strict woman, she would often beat the children and give them harsh punishments. She would recount the death of her son to her other children regularly telling them how he got eaten by people in the village, and that they need to be careful the same thing doesn't happen to them.

His father was not present for much of this time after leaving to fight in the war as a soviet soldier. However he was captured by the Nazis and put into a prisoner of war camp. It was discovered later on that his father got captured on purpose because he did not want to fight in the war. Something seen as cowardly and weak which ultimately led to him being labelled a traitor.

Once news of this reached the Chikatilo family and other villagers Andrei was ruthlessly teased by his peers at school for his father not being an adequate soldier. This really bothered him and he felt isolated.

In spite of feeling like an outcast his grades were good in school and he had a keen interest in politics.

Adolescence into Adulthood

Early on in his teens during puberty onward he had problems with women and could never seem to attract anyone often getting rejected when he did try.

He also had impotence issues as a result of his hydrocephalus condition which didn't help him in regard to wooing the opposite sex.

This left him feeling emasculated and like his only options were masturbation something he eventually became addicted to, but not satisfied with.

Around the age of 15 Andrei met a girl he liked, he had his first sexual encounter although not the normal type of encounter you or I would have.

He made sexual advances to her which she denied, out of frustration he overpowered her and wrestled her to the ground forcing himself upon her.

Once he had control of her he became sexually aroused, not because of the girl but because he had dominated her. This really excited him, he realised that he could overcome his impotence by over powering women meaning he could get sexual gratification, something that before he could not get.

After this encounter he would seek out to sexually dominate in order to reach arousal and sexual satisfaction chasing this same feeling of heightened sexuality with each victim.

By 1955 he wanted to move on from the town he had grown up in to get away from all the bad things that had happened there. He knew one way out would be to study, so he applied for a place at Moscow University to study Law but didn't pass the entry test.

Instead he decided to move to Rostov, in Russia and got a job as a telephone engineer hoping to study while he was living there.

Even living in new surroundings without his previous stigmas he still had problems meeting and dating women.

In an attempt to help him find a potential love interest his sister moved in with him, not to long after she had done this she introduced him to a lady call Fayina they got on quite well and started to date, eventually getting married in 1963.

Andrei and his wife Fayina
Andrei and his wife Fayina

They managed to conceive, not in the usual methods due to Andreis impotence issue but they got around it by improvising and had 2 children.

Outwardly they appeared to be a normal everyday family.

He had continued to study gaining three degrees while also working, and being an active political member of the communist party. Despite these achievements the anger and hatred for others grew rapidly, a jealous rage inside of him started to surface. He felt cheated in life of the one thing he really wanted but couldn't seem to get.

"He felt the world had somehow inflicted a tremendous injustice on him, any low life could enjoy the pleasures of sexuality, the joys of love, but he Chikatilo; the educated; the brilliant; the special; the genius, could not and that was the source of his fundamental rage" Lourie, R.(2017)

In 1970 Andrei decided to change jobs, he got a teaching job in a secondary school, this is where his desires to hurt and overpower people would become a reality, he started to molest young boys and girls at the school.

Eventually during 1974 there was a complaint of sexual misconduct on a minor put against him. Rather than report him for the offence the head of the school told him to leave and he lost his job. This was one of the first instances of his clear interest in minors.

After this he moved his family in a bid to start over, for his wife this meant he could work without the dark cloud of suspicion that lay over their heads from Andreis less than savoury behaviours at his last job. But for Andrei this meant new victims, new plans, ones that would allow him to fulfil his desires in privacy.

He purchased a secret property one his wife and children had no knowledge of, it was a small run down building located in a quiet wooded back street next to a bus station. This would be where he would take his victims.

The Murders and the Implications

In total it is believed that Andrei amassed 53 victims over the span of 12 years, he claims it is probably closer to 56 maybe more. This article won't go into detail about each and every victim, however a few will be discussed to give an idea of the brutality of his crimes, his methods and behaviours during them.

A full list of his victims, with a brief description of each murder can be found at the end of this article, along with references to publications that discuss the crimes in their entirety.

Some of Andrei Chikatilos victims
Some of Andrei Chikatilos victims

On 22 December 1978, Andrei killed his (assumed) first victim; 9 year old Yelena Zakotnova. He coaxed her into his secret property, where he attempted to rape her. During the attack he cut her with a knife, this caused him to become very sexually aroused and he ejaculated. Once he was finished he took her body and belongings and dumped her in a river close by, also throwing her items a few yards down from her body.

This was something that was very pleasurable for him, it reinforced his psychological connection between violence and sexual gratification prompting him to seek out more extreme ways to reach that same level of sexual arousal. He had started to plan his next attack Patiently waiting for the perfect moment and the perfect victim.

Although Yelenas blood was found in close proximity to the secret building Chikatilo was renting the police did not look at him as a suspect. There didn't seem to be anything amiss or anything to indicate he was the one responsible for the crime. When the police did look into him, there was no just cause to suspect him.

"From the point of view of the police, he had no criminal record, he was a party member, he had a wife, he had children. He did not fall into any categories that they would be used to looking for criminals in." - Bob Cullen (2017)

Unfortunately Andrei would not be charged for the death of Yelena due to him evading the police after his wife gives him a solid alibi.

They go on to arrest 25 year old, Alexsandr Kravchenko who had previous convictions for rape, he subsequently gives a false confession it is assumed under duress as police brutality to gain confessions were common place in Russia at the time. He was tried and convicted to death for Yelenas murder. Alexsandr was executed for her death in 1984

Andrei decided to lay low for a while and concentrate on his family life and work, he eventually went on to quit his teaching job and take a role as a Supply Clerk for a local company. This job involved him travelling a lot staying in various hotels meaning he was often alone free to do as he pleased. On his hours off he would fill the time seeking out potential victims.

On 3 September 1981, Larisa Tkachenko, 17, became his next victim. He had seen her at a local bus station waiting for a bus back to her boarding school, sparking up conversation he managed to lure her into the wooded area where he attacked her gagging her with earth and leaves, to stop her from screaming, he then started strangling her, and repeatedly stabbed her.

Again he thoroughly enjoyed this release of sexual frustration, mixed with rage and tension. The release was euphoric for Andrei, so much so he knew he wasn't going to stop, he wanted more like a drug he craved its buzz, he craved its release.

"He was angry with humanity, especially with women. He was seeking revenge and he was getting revenge, against the people who rejected him the most" Jack Levin Prof. Criminology

This is where he starts to establish a methodical approach to his choice of victim and the ways he would kill them, his actions would steadily get more brutal. Each incident sharing similarities with the last, but also getting progressively worse in nature.

He would target young vulnerable people who were generally unattended or travelling alone, he also targeted runaways and occasionally the homeless.

Choosing mostly bus and train stations to look for victims to stalk and befriend.

Gaining their trust he would coax them into wooded or overgrown areas off the beat and path and attack them.

Once he had overpowered his victims by threatening them, usually with a knife he would start stabbing them repeatedly in the chest or stomach, not enough to kill them just enough to inflict significant pain.

This was his process for establishing dominance, Andrei would do this early on in the attack causing them sharp, painful and quick injuries like shallow puncture wounds for example, showing his victim he had no problem hurting them if they don't comply. This made it easier for him to control them and also caused him to become aroused.

He would then attempt to rape them, if he was unable to perform he would get angry and use the knife as a substitute for his penis causing serious injuries to his victims. He would then mutilate them in a number of ways such as gouging out their eyes or slicing out tongues in some of the earlier victims, or cutting body parts off such as fingers or nipples, and removing and eating sexual organs in the later victims.

"One thing he wanted to change about himself and couldn't change was his sexual impotence" Bob Cullen (2017)

Although he would later go on to deny that eating the sexual organs was for sexual pleasure and more out of curiosity, this is somewhat questionable.

Given the difficulties of his sexual history it is hard to believe that there wasn't a link to his frustration at his own bodies failures in regards to his sexuality and the working sexual organs of his victims.

They were the literal representation of something he wanted but could not have, something he despised others for having and taking for granted. This hatred consumed him as he consumed their working sexual organs.

It seems he struggles with two identities one that wants to live a normal life with his wife and family. We see this in his multiple attempts at having a fresh start, moving house, change jobs throughout his life, but seemingly can't due to his own emotional detachment and distaste for his biological failings. Then the other identity the one that wants him to commit heinous acts in order to feel something pleasurable and exciting even at the cost of his family or freedom. Identities that rule him in one way or another, ones he tries to change but can't so eventually gives in becoming a slave to each identities desires.

"He does have a struggle, I don't think he 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 healthy, is not good!"- FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood

Andrei goes on to kill and mutilate at least 50 more people over the next decade ranging from women to young children. Among them was his oldest victim a female aged 44 and his youngest victim a little boy aged 7. All were killed in the same brutal ways, their bodies left destroyed and dumped for the police to find.

Due to the serious mutilation of the bodies and the fact many of the victims were young children the police could no longer turn a blind eye.

Psychiatrist Dr. Bukhanovsky was asked to draw up a profile on the potential killer once the authorities had realised many of the recent murder cases shared similarities so could be linked to the same person.

This was something they had refuted for quite sometime which did mean the investigation into the cases had not yielded many results.

Once they finally accepted they could all be the work of one individual Dr. Bukhanovsky started to analyse each case. After piecing together forensic evidence such as the killer's urge to mutilate the eyes of his victims, the fact sexual organs were missing from victims and other secondary evidence, like the ease in which he seemed to lure his victims into isolated areas, something that would take a certain amount of social skill to do. He concluded that the killer was "a middle-aged, educated man with a history of molestation and sexual problems."

Eventually after nearly 12 years his reign of terror came to an end with his final victim Svetlana Korostik. In early November 1990, Chikatilo was stopped and questioned by the police due to him looking suspicious when coming out of a wooded area. The same area Svetlana Korostik's body was found on the 13th of November, the day after she was discovered Andrei Chikatilo was arrested and interrogated, he was held over a period of weeks during this time he would confess to a total of 56 murders. Reenacting many of the murders on tapes used against him in court, and taking the police to the locations of bodies that had not yet been discovered.

Although Andrei confessed to 56 murders he was only tried for 53 of them and found guilty of 52 in total 21 males and 31 females. He was sentenced to death and was executed on February the 14th, 1994 from one single bullet to the head.

Although Chikatilo is no longer alive his reign of terror will never die he will always be one of the worlds worst serial killers

The Victims (documented)

1. Yelena Zakotnova Female - age 9 Murdered 22 December 1978 Andrei's first victim. Lured into a shed and killed while walking home from an ice-skating rink.

2. Larisa Tkachenko Female - age 17 Murdered 3 September 1981. Taken by Chikatilo while waiting for a bus back to school.

3. Lyubov Biryuk Female - age 13 Murdered 12 June 1982. Abducted returning from a shopping trip in Donskoi. She was the first victim linked to the manhunt.

4. Lyubov Volobuyeva Female - age 14 Murdered 25 July 1982. Found in an orchard near Krasnodar Airport on the 7 August 1982.

5. Oleg Pozhidayev Male - age 9 Murdered 13 August 1982. First male victim his body was never found.

6. Olga Kuprina Female - age 16 Murdered 16 August 1982. A runaway from the Semikarakorsky District. Killed in Kazachi Lagerya. She was found on 27 October 1982.

7. Irina Karabelnikova Female - age 18 Murdered 8 September 1982. A a homeless woman he met at Shakhty station. Her body was found 20 September 1982.

8. Sergey Kuzmin Male - age 15 Murdered 15 September 1982. A runaway attended boarding school but was truanting when he was picked up by Andrei at the bus station. His body was found in woodland close to Shakhty station on 12 January 1983.

9. Olga Stalmachenok Female - age 10 Murdered 11 December 1982. Coaxed away from her bus stop home by Andrei after her piano lessons in Novoshakhtinsk.

10. Laura Sarkisyan Female - age 15 Murdered sometime after 18 June 1983.

A runaway from Armenia found in woodland near an unmarked railway platform close to Shakhty. Chikatilo was cleared of this murder at his trial.

11. Irina Dunenkova Female - age 13 Murdered sometime during July but before August 8th 1983. Dunenkova was mentally handicapped Andrei knew the victim prior to her murder. Her body was found in Aviators' Park, Rostov, on 8 August 1983.

12. Lyudmila Kutsyuba Female - age 24 Murdered July 1983. A homeless mother of two children killed in woodland near a Shakhty bus station. Her body was found 12 March 1984.

13. Igor Gudkov Male - age 7 Murdered 9 August 1983. The youngest victim. Killed in Aviators' Park. Gudkov was the first male victim linked to the manhunt.

14. Unknown Jane Doe Female - age 18 Murdered 25 July–August 1983. Suspected prostitute Andrei said he encountered this victim at Novoshakhtinsk bus station while she was looking for a "man (client) with a car." Her body was found 8 October.

15. Valentina Chuchulina Female age - 22 Murdered sometime after 19th September 1983. Her body was found on 27 November in a wooded area near Kirpichnaya station.

16. Vera Shevkun Female - age 19 Murdered 27 October 1983. Killed in a mining village near Shakhty. Her body was found 30 October.

17. Sergey Markov Male - age 14 Murdered 27 December 1983. Disappeared on the way home from work experience. He was found near Novocherkassk on the 4th of January 1984.

18. Natalya Shalapinina Female age - 17 Murdered 9th January 1984. Found in Aviators' Park. Natalya was a close friend of Olga Kuprina, a previous victim of Andrei during 1982.

19. Marta Ryabenko Female - age 44 Murdered on 21st February 1984. Andrei's oldest victim. Also killed in Aviators' Park. Her body was found the next day.

20. Dmitriy Ptashnikov Male - age 10 Murdered 24 March 1984. Lured from a stamp collectors kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk Andrei pretended to be a fellow stamp collector to gain the boys trust.

21. Tatyana Petrosyan Female - age 29 Murdered 25 May 1984. Tatyana was acquaintances with Andrei and had known him since 1978. Her young daughter witnessed her murder before succumbing to the same fate.

22. Svetlana Petrosyan Female - age 10 Murdered 25 May 1984. Svetlana saw Andrei murder her mother before he chased her down and killed her with a hammer and decapitated her she was found alongside her mother on the 5th of July 1984.

23. Yelena Bakulina Female - age 21 Murdered 22nd of June 1984. Her body was found on the 27th of August in the Bagasenski region of Rostov. She had been stabbed to death.

24. Dmitriy Illarionov Male - age 13 Murdered 10th of July 1984. His body was found in a cornfield on 12 August 1984.

25. Anna Lemesheva Female - age 19 Murdered 19th of July 1984. Disappeared on her way home from a dental appointment. Killed near Kirpichnaya station.

26. Sarmite Tsana Female - age 20 Murdered 28 July 1984. Her body was found on the 9th of September 1984 in Aviators' Park.

27. Natalya Golosovskaya Female - age 16 Murdered on the 2nd of August 1984. Disappeared in Novoshakhtinsk, while visiting her sister. She was also killed in Aviators' Park.

28. Lyudmila Alekseyeva Female - age 17 Murdered 7 August 1984. Lured from a bus stop after asking for directions Andrei offered to direct her to Rostov's bus terminal but instead killed her.

29. Unknown Jane Doe Female - age 20–25 (actual age unknown) Murdered around 8th–11th August 1984. They met on the banks of the Chirchiq River while Andrei was on a business trip to the Uzbek SSR. Her body was found 16 August, but she was never identified.

30. Akmaral Seydaliyeva Female - age 10 Murdered on the 13th of August 1984. A runaway from Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. She was killed by Andrei in Tashkent.

31. Aleksandr Chepel Male - age 11 Murdered on the 28th of August 1984.

Killed on the banks of the Don River his body was found 2nd September 1984.

32. Irina Luchinskaya Female - age 24 Murdered 6th September 1984. Disappeared on her way to a sauna. She was also killed in Aviators' Park.

33. Natalya Pokhlistova Female - age 18 Murdered on the 1st of August 1985. Her body was found 3 August near Moscow Airport.

34. Irina Gulyayeva Female - age 18 Murdered on the 27th August 1985.

Killed in a grove of trees near Shakhty bus station. Her body was found the following day.

35. Oleg Makarenkov Male - age 12 Murdered on the 16th of May 1987. Killed in Revda, Sverdlovsk Oblast. Andrei led police to his remains after he was arrested.

36. Ivan Bilovetsky Male - age 12 Murdered on the 29th July 1987. He was killed in woodland alongside a rail line in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia. His body was found by his own father on 30 July.

37. Yuri Tereshonok Male - age 16 Murdered on the 15th of September 1987. Andrei lured him off a train in Leningrad, he would later lead police to his remains after he was arrested.

38. Unknown Jane Doe Female - age 22–28 Murdered around 1–4 April 1988. Killed in the grounds of a metals factory near Krasny Sulin station. Found 6th of April 1988.

39. Aleksey Voronko Male - age 9 Murdered on the 15th of May 1988. They met while on a business trip to Artyomovsk. He was killed in Ilovaisk, Ukraine.

40. Yevgeniy Muratov Male - age 15 Murdered on the 14th of July 1988. Muratov's body was found at Donleskhoz station on 10 April 1989.

41. Tatyana Ryzhova Female - age 16 Murdered on the 1st of March 1989. A runaway from Krasny Sulin, killed in Andrei's own daughter's property. Her dismembered body was found on the 9th of March 1989.

42. Aleksandr Dyakonov Male - age 8 Murdered on the 11th of May 1989. Killed in bushes near Rostov city centre the day after his 8th birthday. His body was found 14 July.

43. Aleksey Moiseyev Male - age 10 Murdered on the 20th of June 1989. In his confession he admits to this murder after his arrest.

44. Yelena Varga Female - age 19 Murdered on the 19th of August 1989. A student from Hungary, she was lured off a bus and killed in a village near Rostov.

45. Aleksey Khobotov Male - age 10 Mirdered on the 28th of August 1989. Encountered Chikatilo outside a theater in Shakhty. He was buried in a shallow grave in a nearby cemetery. His remains were located after Andreis arrest.

46. Andrei Kravchenko Male - age 11 Murdered on the 14th of January 1990. Abducted from the streets near his Shakhty home. His emasculated body was found in a section of woodland on 19 February 1990.

47. Yaroslav Makarov Male - age 10 Murdered on the 7th of March 1990. Disappeared from Rostov railway station while truanting from school. Killed in Rostov's Botanical Gardens. His body, was missing the tongue and sexual organs.

48. Lyubov Zuyeva Female - age 31 Murdered on the 4th of April 1990. Encountered Andrei while travelling from Novocherkassk to Shakhty.

49. Viktor Petrov Male - age 13 Murdered on the 28th of July 1990.

Chikatilo lured him off the Rostov-Glavny station where he was spending the night with his family.

50. Ivan Fomin Male - age 11 Murdered on the 14th of August 1990.

Fomin was killed at Novocherkassk municipal beach, when he entered a thicket to change his clothes. He was emasculated and stabbed 42 times. His body was found 17 August.

51. Vadim Gromov Male - age 16 Murdered on the 17th of October 1990. A mentally handicapped student from Shakhty. Disappeared while on the train to Taganrog.

52. Viktor Tishchenko Male - age 16 Murdered on the 30th of October 1990. Killed in Shakhty. Tishchenko fought hard for his life; he was the victim who bit and broke Andreis finger.

53. Svetlana Korostik Female - age 22 Murdered on the 6th of November 1990. Korostik was a homeless woman, killed in woodland near Donleskhoz station. Her body was found 13 November.


Stalins forced Famine 1932 - 1933 (2000) The History Place -

Zata, N. (2017) Historian uncovers diaries from Nazi siege of Leningrad documenting cannibalism during famine -

Lourie, Richard.Hunting the Devil: The Pursuit, Capture and Confession of the Most Savage Serial Killer in History. Grafton, 1993.ISBN0-06-017717-9.

Kriak, N. Andrei Chikatilo SK Project -

Conradi, Peter.The Red Ripper: Inside the Mind of Russia's Most Brutal Serial Killer. True Crime, 1992.ISBN0-440-21603-6.

Matthews, O. (1999) A Killer's Confidante In a Murderous Town. The Moscow Times -

Cullen, Robert.The Killer Department: Detective Viktor Burakov's Eight-Year Hunt for the Most Savage Serial Killer of Our Times. Orion Media, 1993.ISBN1-85797-210-4.

Serial Killers - The real life Hannibal Lecturs (2001) Buck productions Inc. SJW Films -

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