Andrei Chikatilo: Unmasking a Serial Killer’s Reign of Terror

Are you afraid of serial killers? Well, you should be. What isn’t there to not be afraid of them? They have no sense of morality, no justification for their crimes, and almost no control over themselves, and among many of them, Andrei Chikatilo was one.

The Soviet Union before the formation of Russia had never heard of the term “Serial Killer” and witnessed one horrifically. Andrei Chikatilo became the first-ever Serial Killer of the Soviet Union. He murdered at least 53 murders from 1978 to 1990.

Our world consists of both peace and evil. Evil exists in everyone, but it is rare to encounter someone as evil as Andrei Chikatilo. He was one of the horrors one could only imagine in their dreams that 53 victims experienced before being killed. Due to the brutal nature of his crimes, he was also named “The Red Ripper“.

Today, I’ve selected the case study of Andrei Chikatilo to inform you about him not because of 53 murders but because of his history that led him to such brutality and the efforts police had to make to arrest him.

History of Andrei Chikatilo

Andrei Chikatilo was born on 16th October 1936, in Yabluchnyk, Ukraine. He was born into a poor family when Ukraine was suffering from one of the worst famine attacks. His family had a small hut and used to grow their food on a small plot behind their hut.

At that time, millions of people died due to hunger and many resorted to Cannibalism for food. His father went to war during the Second World War and died soon. He had a younger sister Tatyana who was born after his mom was raped by a German soldier in front of young Andrei.

During his childhood, he often used to wet his bed which made his mother angry and abusive. According to Tatyana, their mother was very unforgiving and domineering.

Andrei was not a regular child. He grew up to be a shy person and was extremely conscious of his body as he was very weak. Due to the lack of nutritious food, his stomach used to get bloated with gastric trouble, and he often fainted at school. His small and lean stature didn’t help either as he was constantly bullied.

During his teens, Chikatilo was both a model student and an ardent communist. He was appointed editor of his school newspaper at the age of 14 and chairman of the pupils’ Communist party committee two years later. An avid reader of communist literature, he had also delegated the task of organizing street marches.

Although Chikatilo claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and 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 suffered from chronic impotence which worsened his social awkwardness and self-hatred. Due to his impotence, his relationships never lasted long. He once tried committing suicide due to his impotency but was saved by his mother and neighbors. Soon he left his native village and moved to Rostov-on-Don.

He also completed his military service in 1960 and joined the communist party. In 1963, he married Fayina and had two children together despite their sexual struggle.

What Led Him to Murder?

Andrei took a 5-year course in literature and soon joined the high school as a teacher himself. Even though he had a normal adulthood and was good in his studies, he had a darker side that was yet to be revealed.

His first sexual encounter came in school when he slammed a girl against the wall and physically abused her. His abuse continued further but was never reported officially. However, due to the increasing number of complaints he had to change schools.

One day he was walking in the city of Shakhty and lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to his house which he brought in secret. There, he tried to overpower the girl but couldn’t get an erection which angered him and led him to choke the young kid and stab her in the abdomen to death. later, he dumped her body in the Grushevka River. Her body was found two days later stabbed and mutilated.

During the investigation, pedestrians described Yelena talking to a person which led police to the arrest of Aleksandr Kravchenko, a 25-year-old laborer who also served a previous rape conviction. He was later charged with the murder and rape and further sentenced to death.

His teaching career ended in 1981 when there were numerous abuse cases reported against him. He then joined a construction company as a clerk and used to travel around the Soviet because to work.

On the fateful day of 3rd September 1981, Larisa Tkachenko, a 17-year-old girl met Andrei who lured her into a nearby forest to drink vodka and relax where he tried to rape her and again went unsuccessful. So he killed her and mutilated her body with a stick and gouged her eyes out. She was found two days later.

After this murder, he finds out that the stabbing and struggle of women get him to climax.

By the end of 6th November 1990, he had killed 53 people including young girls and boys, prostitutes, and women to which he confessed later during trial.

Modus Operandi of His Crimes

Andrei Chikatilo often found his victims at bus stops, and railway stations and lured them out to a nearby forest and would try to rape them. Upon unsuccessful attempts, he would stab them, and gouge their eyes out because he would think that they contained a snapshot of the last thing they saw which he later found out wasn’t true.

Later he would eviscerate their stomachs, cut their noses, or cut their genitals and stab them with a knife throughout the body. He would make them struggle for their life as it brought sexual pleasure to him. Once he also chewed the nipple off a young girl which brought his sexual desire to a climax. Sometimes, he would fill their mouth with mud or leaves to muffle their screams.

Investigation, Arrest, and Trial of Andrei Chikatilo

Due to the severity of crimes and an increasing number of killings every week, Major Mikhail Fetisov was assigned to solve the case and was also the first person to acknowledge the very fact that a Serial Killer was on the loose.

As soon as he was assigned to the case, he got in contact with the forensic expert for a thorough investigation and started collecting the evidence from the crime scene.

The major evidence on the bodies was a peculiar strand of grey hair and the semen samples. The semen was sent for DNA analysis which revealed Andrei as the prime suspect.

To keep their story in check after the previous wrong arrest, they wanted to confirm their story so they ran a background check which revealed the shocking past of Andrei who was continuously in the vicinity of sexual abuse as he had abused a lot of his students, co-workers and killed a lot of people from the area.

Chikatilo’s blood group was ‘A’ because his blood and saliva had a different blood type from his semen. In genetics, Chikatilo is called a non-secretor, where his blood type differs between his red blood cells and secreting cells.

Due to a lack of advanced testing techniques, he escaped suspicion initially however he was soon arrested in August 1992 where he confessed to molesting pupils sexually however, he repeatedly denied the charges of murder.

The trial went on for a short period as there was clear-cut evidence against him and he was finally stated guilty on October 15th, 1992, and was awarded the death sentence at the end of the trial.

On February 14th, 1994, the Red Ripper was finally shot to death on his head behind his right ear.


People like Andrei Chikatilo don’t deserve to be called human who for fulfilling his desire tortured 53 people to death. He was a real-life example of pure evil. He was truly a mad beast as we called himself.

There is no point denying that his life left a legacy behind which had motivated a lot of serial killers and Tamara Samsonova is one of them and many more we may not know.

Suksham Gupta

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