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The Rostov Predator: The True Face of Andrei Chikatilo(part1)

Unraveling the Criminal Mind of Andrei Chikatilo.

By diego michelPublished about a month ago 8 min read

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo, better known as "the Butcher of Rostov", "the Red Ripper" and "the Rostov Ripper", murdered, disemboweled and in some cases raped 56 women and children in the former Soviet Union and was executed at the age of 57 after being tried for 53 of these crimes.

Early years: traumas and horrors

Andrei Chikatilo was born on 16 October 1936 in the village of Yabluchne [uk] in the Sumy Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. At the time of his birth, Ukraine was recovering from a severe famine caused by Joseph Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture.Chikatilo's parents were both collective farm labourers who lived in a one-room hut.They received no wages for their work, but instead received the right to cultivate a plot of land behind the family hut.

The family seldom had sufficient food; Chikatilo himself later claimed not to have eaten bread until the age of 12, adding that he and his family often had to eat grass and leaves in an effort to stave off hunger. Throughout his childhood, Chikatilo was repeatedly told by his mother Anna that prior to his birth, an older brother of his named Stepan had, at the age of four, been kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbours, although it has never been established whether this incident actually occurred, or if a Stepan Chikatilo even existed. Nonetheless, Chikatilo recalled his childhood as being blighted by poverty, ridicule, hunger, and war.

When the Soviet Union entered the Second World War, Chikatilo's father Roman was conscripted into the Red Army. He would later be taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which he described as "horrors", adding he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings from which he and his mother would hide in cellars and ditches. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their own hut burn to the ground. With his father at war, Chikatilo and his mother shared a single bed. He was a chronic bed wetter, and his mother berated and beat him for each offence.

In 1943, Chikatilo's mother gave birth to a baby girl, Tatyana. Because Chikatilo's father had been conscripted in 1941, he could not have fathered this child. As many Ukrainian women were raped by German soldiers during the war, it has been speculated Tatyana was conceived as a result of a rape committed by a German soldier. As Chikatilo and his mother lived in a one-room hut, this rape may have been committed in Chikatilo's presence.

In September 1944, Chikatilo began his schooling. Although shy and ardently studious as a child, he was physically weak and regularly attended school in homespun clothing. His stomach was often swollen from hunger resulting from the post-war famine which plagued much of the Soviet Union. On several occasions, this hunger caused Chikatilo to faint both at home and at school,and he was consistently targeted by bullies who regularly mocked him over his physical stature and timid nature. At home, Chikatilo and his sister were constantly berated by their mother. Tatyana later recalled that in spite of the hardships endured by her parents, their father was a kind man, whereas their mother was harsh and unforgiving toward her children.

By his teens, Chikatilo was both a model student and an ardent communist. He was appointed editor of his school newspaper at age 14 and chairman of the pupils' Communist Party committee two years later. An avid reader of communist literature, he was also delegated the task of organizing street marches.Although Chikatilo claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and a poor memory, he was the only student from his collective farm to complete the final year of study, graduating with excellent grades in 1954.

At the onset of puberty, Chikatilo discovered that he had chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. He was shy in the company of women; his first crush, at age 17, had been on a girl named Lilya Barysheva, with whom he had become acquainted through his school newspaper, yet he was chronically nervous in her company and never asked her for a date. The same year, Chikatilo jumped upon an 11-year-old friend of his younger sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as the girl struggled in his grasp.

Upon completion of his two-year vocational training, Chikatilo relocated to the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil to work upon a long-term construction project. While living in Nizhny Tagil, he also undertook correspondence courses in engineering with the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communication. He worked in the Urals for two years until he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1957. Chikatilo performed his compulsory military service between 1957 and 1960, assigned first to serve with border guards in Central Asia, then to a KGB communications unit in East Berlin. Here, his work record was unblemished, and he joined the Communist Party shortly before his military service ended in 1960.

Army service

Upon completing his service, Chikatilo returned to his native village to live with his parents, briefly working alongside them on the collective farm. He soon became acquainted with a young divorcée. Their three-month relationship ended after several unsuccessful attempts at intercourse, after which the woman innocently asked her friends for advice as to how Chikatilo might overcome his inability to maintain an erection. As a result, most of his peers discovered his impotence. In a 1993 interview regarding this incident, Chikatilo stated: "Girls were going behind my back, whispering that I was impotent. I was so ashamed. I tried to hang myself. My mother and some young neighbours pulled me out of the noose. Well, I thought no one would want such a shamed man. So I had to run away from there, away from my homeland."

Teaching career

Chikatilo chose to enroll as a correspondence student at Rostov University in 1964,studying Russian literature and philology;he obtained his degree in these subjects in 1970. Shortly before obtaining his degree, he obtained a job managing regional sports activities. Chikatilo remained in this position for one year, before beginning his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature at Vocational School No. 32 in Novoshakhtinsk.

Chikatilo was largely ineffective as a teacher; although knowledgeable in the subjects he taught, he was seldom able to maintain discipline in his classes and was regularly subjected to mockery by his students who, he claimed, took advantage of his modest nature.

One of Chikatilo's duties at this school was ensuring the students who boarded at the school were present in their dormitories in the evenings; on several occasions, he is known to have entered the girls' dormitory in the hope of seeing them undressed. On other occasions, he discovered adolescent pupils who boarded at the school engaged in sex. He later stated the sight of adolescents engaged in intercourse "disturbed" him as he was confronted with the sight of "children doing what I hadn't done even when I was thirty years old."

Initial murders

Asesinato de Yelena Zakotnova

En septiembre de 1978, Chikatilo se trasladó a Shakhty, donde cometió su primer asesinato documentado. La noche del 22 de diciembre, atrajo a una niña de 9 años llamada Yelena Zakotnova a una vieja y destartalada cabaña que había comprado en secreto ese mismo año; intentó violarla, pero no logró una erección. Cuando la niña forcejeó, la estranguló y la apuñaló tres veces en el abdomen, eyaculando mientras la apuñalaba. En una entrevista posterior a su detención en 1990, Chikatilo recordó que inmediatamente después de apuñalar a Zakotnova, la niña "dijo algo muy ronco", tras lo cual la estranguló hasta dejarla inconsciente antes de arrojar su cuerpo al cercano río Grushevka.

Bridge overlooking the Grushevka River. The body of Yelena Zakotnova was found at this location on 24 December 1978.

Numerous pieces of evidence linked Chikatilo to Zakotnova's murder: spots of blood had been found in the snow close to a fence facing the house Chikatilo had purchased; neighbours had noted that Chikatilo had been present in the house on the evening of 22 December; Zakotnova's school backpack had been found upon the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street (indicating the girl had been thrown into the river at this location); and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man closely resembling Chikatilo, whom she had seen talking with Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl had last been seen alive. Despite these facts, a 25-year-old labourer named Aleksandr Kravchenko, who had previously served a prison sentence for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was arrested for the crime. A search of Kravchenko's home revealed spots of blood on his wife's jumper: the blood type was determined to match both Zakotnova and Kravchenko's wife.

Kravchenko had a very strong alibi for the afternoon of 22 December 1978: he had been at home with his wife and a friend of hers the entire afternoon, and neighbours of the couple were able to verify this. Nonetheless, the police, having threatened Kravchenko's wife with being an accomplice to murder and her friend with perjury, obtained new statements in which the women claimed Kravchenko had not returned home until late in the evening on the day of the murder.Confronted with these altered testimonies, Kravchenko confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979. At his trial, Kravchenko retracted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his retraction, Kravchenko was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. This sentence was commuted to fifteen years' imprisonment (the maximum possible length of imprisonment at the time) by the Supreme Court in December 1980. Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried, erroneously convicted, and eventually executed by firing squad for Zakotnova's murder in July 1983.

Second murder and subsequent killings

On 3 September 1981, Chikatilo encountered a 17-year-old boarding school student, Larisa Tkachenko, standing at a bus stop as he exited a public library in Rostov city centre. According to his subsequent confession, Chikatilo lured Tkachenko to a forest near the Don River with the pretext of drinking vodka and "relaxing".[60] When they reached a secluded area, he threw the girl to the ground before tearing off her clothes and attempting intercourse, as Tkachenko remonstrated against his actions. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he forced mud inside her mouth to stifle her screams before battering and strangling her to death. As he had no knife, Chikatilo mutilated the body with his teeth and a six-foot long stick; he also tore one nipple from Tkachenko's body with his teeth before loosely covering her body with leaves, branches, and torn pages of newspaper. Tkachenko's body was found the following day.

Nine months after the murder of Tkachenko, on 12 June 1982, Chikatilo travelled by bus to the Bagayevsky District of Rostov to purchase vegetables. Having to change buses in the village of Donskoi, he decided to continue his journey on foot. Walking away from the bus station, he encountered a 13-year-old girl, Lyubov Biryuk, who was walking home from a shopping trip. The two walked together for approximately a quarter of a mile until their path was shielded from the view of potential witnesses by bushes, whereupon Chikatilo pounced upon Biryuk, dragged her into nearby undergrowth, tore off her dress, and killed her by stabbing and slashing her to death as he imitated performing intercourse. When her body was found on 27 June, the medical examiner discovered evidence of twenty-two knife wounds inflicted to the head, neck, chest, and pelvic region. Further wounds found on the skull suggested the killer had attacked Biryuk from behind with the handle and blade of his knife. In addition, several striations were discovered upon Biryuk's eye sockets.

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About the Creator

diego michel

I am a writer and I love writing

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