I am a mistake of nature, a mad beast...

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo, a.k.a. The Rostov Ripper, was a prolific Russian "vampirist"-type cannibalistic, pedophilic, ephebophilic, necrophilic, and hebephilic serial killer, brief spree killer, and enucleator responsible for at least 52 murders that occurred between 1978 to 1990.


Chikatilo was born on October 16, 1936, in the Ukrainian part of the Soviet Union during Stalin's regime. Due to the agricultural plans, starvation was rampant and stories about cannibalism circulated. At one point, Chikatilo was told by his mother, Anna, that his older brother, Stepan, was kidnapped, killed and cannibalized by starved neighbors, though the story has never been verified, nor has the claim that Chikatilo even had a brother. Both his parents were farm laborers who shared a single room hut with him, forcing him to also share a bed with them. A frequent bed wetter, Chikatilo was often beaten by his mother as punishment. It was discovered later in life that he had been born with brain damage that affected his ability to control seminal and bladder emissions. When the war began, Chikatilo's father, Roman, was drafted into the Red Army and the rest of the family was left in the crossfire of the German Blitz. In 1943, Anna Chikatilo gave birth to a baby girl. Given the timeline of her husband's departure, the child was apparently conceived outside of marriage (some theorize that she was raped by a German soldier in front of Chikatilo). When the war ended, Roman Chikatilo was placed in a Russian prison camp for having surrendered in combat and his son forced to denounce his father as a coward publicly.

Chikatilo, wife and son

Chikatilo with his wife and son.

Chikatilo's social awkwardness and self-hatred became worse during his adolescence years when he turned out to suffer from chronic impotence. His condition affected his romantic life and ruined his first attempt at a relationship when he was 23. Awkward and withdrawn, he was generally a good student, though he failed his entrance exam to the Moscow State University. After finishing his compulsory military service, he became a telephone engineer in 1960. In 1963, he married a woman to whom he was introduced by his sister. Though they had a minimal sex life, they conceived a son and a daughter together. In 1971, Chikatilo earned a degree in Russian literature through a correspondence course and got a teaching position at a local school. Though he was often accused of child molestation, he managed to hold onto the job for almost ten years. In 1978, he accepted a new position in Shakty and moved there. While he lived alone there, waiting for his family to arrive, he began having pedophilic fantasies and would spy on children from a hut by the street. On December 21 the same year, he committed his first known murder, abducting nine-year-old Yelena Zabotnova and stabbing her to death in the woods, ejaculating in the process. He had intended to rape her, but couldn’t achieve an erection due to his impotence.

Killings, Capture, and Execution

Chikatilo trial

Entering the iron cage during his trial.

Over the following 12 years, Chikatilo committed over 50 known murders. Because reports of crimes like serial murder and rape were greatly suppressed by Soviet authorities in the state-controlled media, stories began taking a life of their own; among the rumors that circulated was that the victims were killed and mutilated by a werewolf. The murders weren’t publicized until August 1984, by which time Chikatilo had killed at least 30 people. He was suspected of killing Yelena Zabotnova and had been seen with her, but because another man confessed to the murder under torture and was consequently executed, Chikatilo was able to continue killing. In September 1984, he was arrested after soliciting a prostitute, having been seen approaching a number of women at the Rostov bus station. His briefcase was searched and found to contain a kitchen knife, a towel, a rope and a jar of petroleum jelly. Unfortunately, his blood type did not come back a match to the semen found on the bodies, forcing the investigators to release him. This has never been fully explained and is sometimes believed to have been the result of a clerical error. Other sources claim that it was because he was a non-secretor, which meant his blood type wouldn't be determinable from his semen. Weeks after his arrest, he was expelled from the Communist party after being convicted of stealing from his workplace and sentenced to three months in jail.

In November 1990, Chikatilo was stopped and questioned when coming out of the area in which his final victim, Svetlana Korostik, was found. On November 14, the day after the remains were discovered, he was formally arrested and interrogated. Over the following two weeks, he confessed to as many as 57 murders, of which the investigators had only attributed 36 to him. The case went to trial on April 14, 1992. Chikatilo had to be placed inside an iron cage when on the stand to protect him from the family members of his victims. His behavior during the proceedings was bizarre, to say the least; twice he pulled down his pants, exposed himself and shouted that he was not a homosexual, he claimed to be pregnant and lactating at some points and alternated between boredom and anger. He also denied being guilty of several murders to which he had already confessed while confessing to unknown ones. When the prosecutor was about to deliver the final argument, Chikatilo broke into song and had to be removed from the courtroom. When he was brought in and offered a moment to speak, he said nothing. Though the defense tried to claim he was insane, a group of court-appointed psychiatrists disagreed. On October 14, 1992, Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 murders; 21 males and 31 females. On February 14, 1994, he was executed with a single shot to the head, his last words apparently being "Don't blow my brains out! The Japanese want to buy them!"

Modus Operandi

"What I did was not for sexual pleasure. Rather, it brought me some peace of mind."

Chikatilo targeted children and teenagers of both genders, and also young-to-middle-aged women. He would usually approach them at train and bus stations using some simple ruse, such as promising them money, drugs, alcohol, or (in the case of his child victims) toys and candy, lure them to a nearby forest, tie them up with rope, and kill them by stabbing them with a knife in order to gain sexual release.

He often mutilated them, such as gouging their eyes out because he believed they contained a snapshot of the last thing they saw (he stopped doing this after he learned that it wasn't true), eviscerating their stomachs, chewing off their noses, and cutting out tongues and genitals. When he tortured his male victims, he often fantasized that they were his prisoners and that his actions made him a hero. On one occasion, he actually bit a nipple off of a young female victim and swallowed it, causing him to ejaculate. Sometimes, he stuffed his victims' mouths with mud and leaves to muffle their screams (similar to fellow serial killer Arthur Shawcross). He often cannibalized their remains and sometimes drank their blood.


A profile of Chikatilo made by psychiatrist Aleksandr Bukhanovsky said that he was a sexual deviant of average intelligence who was approximately 5'10" and around 25-50 years old, with a shoe size of 10 or more and a common blood type. He probably suffered from some form of sexual inadequacy and brutalized his victims in order to compensate for it. He is/was likely married, but was a sadist who could only achieve sexual arousal by seeing his victims suffer. Because many of the killings occurred on weekdays near mass transportation areas and across the entire Rostov Oblast, his work required him to travel regularly. Based upon the days of the week when the killings occurred, he was most likely tied to a production schedule.

Known Victims

Chikatilo victims

Several of Chikatilo's victims.

  • Unspecified date in 1954: Unnamed girl, 11 (assaulted by tackling and wrestling her)
  • Unspecified dates in 1964:
    • Unnamed girl, 16 (groped only)
    • Unnamed girl (sexually assaulted)
  • December 22, 1978: Yelena Zakotnova, 9 (intended to rape, but stabbed her three times in the abdomen instead when he couldn’t get an erection)
  • September 3, 1981: Larisa Tkachenko, 17 (strangled; her mouth was filled with dirt to muffle her, eviscerated with a stick, her genitals were removed and one of her nipples was bitten off and swallowed)
  • 1982:
    • June 12: Lyubov Biryuk, 13 (was stabbed and slashed 22 times in the head, neck, chest, and genitals; engaged in necrophilia with her corpse and removed her eyes post-mortem)
    • July 25: Lyubov Volobuyeva, 14 (her body was found on August 1982)
    • August 13: Oleg Pozhidayev, 9 (the body was never found)
    • August 16: Olga Kuprina, 16 (her body was found on October 25, 1982)
    • September 8: Irina Karabelnikova, 18 (her body was found twelve days later)
    • September 15: Sergey Kuzmin, 15
    • December 11: Olga Stalmachenok, 10 (stabbed over 50 times, ripped her chest open, and removed her lower bowel and uterus post-mortem)
  • 1983:
    • After June 18: Laura Sarkisyan, 15 (possibly; her body was never found)
    • July:
      • Irina Dunenkova, 13 (found on August 8, 1983)
      • Lyudmila Kutsyuba, 24 (found on March 12, 1984)
    • August 9: Igor Gudkov, 7
    • Around summer: An unidentified woman, aged 18-25
    • After September 19: Valentina Chuchulina, 22 (her body was found on November 27)
    • October 27: Vera Shevkun, 19 (her body was found three days later)
    • December 27: Sergey Markov, 14 (stabbed over 70 times, removed his genitals, and eviscerated post-mortem; his body was found eight days later)
  • 1984:
    • January 9: Natalya Shalapinina, 17 (stabbed repeatedly; her nose, upper lip, and a finger on her left hand were cut off post-mortem)
    • February 21: Marta Ryabenko, 44
    • March 24: Dmitriy Ptashnikov, 10 (stabbed 54 times)
    • May 25:
      • Tatyana Petrosyan, 29 (killed with a knife and a hammer)
      • Svetlana Petrosyan, 10 (incidental; Tatyana's daughter; killed with a knife and a hammer when she saw Chikatilo kill her mother; was decapitated post-mortem)
    • June 22: Yelena Bakulina, 21 (her body was found on August 27, 1984)
    • July 19: Anna Lemesheva, 19 (stabbed and removed her uterus post-mortem)
    • July: Svetlana Tsana, 20 (stabbed; her body was found on September 9, 1984)
    • August 2: Natalya Golosovskaya, 16 (stabbed)
    • August 7: Lyudmila Alekseyeva, 17 (slashed 39 times)
    • August 8-11: An unidentified woman, 20-25 (decapitated post-mortem)
    • August 13: Akmaral Seydaliyeva, 10 (stabbed)
    • August 28: Aleksandr Chepel, 11 (strangled, castrated, and removed his eyes post-mortem)
    • September 6: Irina Luchinskaya, 24 (stabbed)
  • 1985:
    • August 1: Natalya Pokhlistova, 18 (stabbed 38 times and strangled; her body was found three days later)
    • August 27: Irina Gulyayeva, 18 (sliced her open from her neck to her genitals; removed one of her breasts and both of her eyes post-mortem)
  • 1987:
    • May 16: Oleg Makarenkov, 12
    • July 29: Ivan Bilovetsky, 12 (stomach was ripped open and his mouth stuffed with mud to muffle him; his body was found the next day)
    • September 15: Yuri Tereshonok, 16
  • 1988:
    • April 1-4: An unidentified woman, 22-28 (her body was found on April 6, 1988)
    • May 15: Aleksey Voronko, 9 (sodomized, stabbed, castrated, and stuffed his orifices with dirt)
    • July 14: Yevgeniy Muratov, 15 (his body was found on April 10, 1989)
  • 1989:
    • March 1: Tatyana Ryzhova, 16 (stabbed in the mouth and dismembered post-mortem)
    • May 11: Aleksandr Dyakonov, 8 (his body was found on July 14, 1989)
    • June 20: Aleksey Moiseyev, 10
    • August 19: Yelena Varga, 19
    • August 28: Aleksey Khobotov, 10 (bit off his tongue, cut off his genitals, buried him alive and left for dead)
  • 1990:
    • January 14: Andrei Kravchenko, 11 (stabbed to death and castrated post-mortem; his body was found February 14, 1990)
    • March 7: Yaroslav Makarov, 10 (cut off the tip of his tongue, fatally stabbed, eviscerated, and castrated post-mortem)
    • April 4: Lyubov Zuyeva, 31 (her body was found on August 24, 1990)
    • July 28: Viktor Petrov, 13
    • August 14: Ivan Fomin, 11 (stabbed 42 times; his body was found on August 1990)
    • October 17: Vadim Gromov, 16 (cut off the tip of his tongue, fatally stabbed, and castrated post-mortem)
    • October 30: Viktor Tishchenko, 16
    • November 6: Svetlana Korostik, 22 (stabbed in the stomach; her tongue and genitals were cut off post-mortem and eaten; her body was found a week later)
  • Notes: Chikatilo also confessed to four additional killings, including the murder of Irina Pogoryelova, whom he remains the prime suspect of (though he initially denied killing her). He was also accused of child molestation several times when he was a schoolteacher.


  • Chikatilo seems to have been the inspiration for the 2008 novel (and later its 2015 film adaptation) Child 44, which takes place in the Soviet Union in the early 1950s and features a series of murders of similar nature and circumstances to Chikatilo's.

On Criminal Minds

  • Season One
    • "Machismo" - Chikatilo was first mentioned when his case was compared to that of Pablo Vargas, the episode's unsub, and appears to have been based on him - Both were serial killers who had a managing job in a factory and were very shy and insecure with other people (particularly with women), felt mocked and humiliated by them, had a traumatic relationship with his mother, and were sexually impotent, only managing to ejaculate when he stabbed his victims to death in fits of rage because of their impotence. Both also committed sex crimes against young women prior to their murders.
  • Season Two
    • "Jones" - Chikalito's habit of pretending that the male victims he tortured and mutilated were his prisoners was mentioned by Reid. Reid also believed that the unsub, who also eviscerated her victims, was similar to Chikailo.
  • Season Six
    • "Compromising Positions" - Chikalito was mentioned as an example of serial killers who were piquerists, i.e. they derived sexual pleasure from the act of stabbing.
  • Season Seven
    • "Profiling 101" - While discussing about an unsub who cut out the reproductive organs of his victims and may have done so because of some fetish, Reid mentions an example concerning Chikatilo, mentioning that he consumed the uterus of one of his victims.
  • Season Eight
    • "Broken" - While not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, Chikatilo appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Paul Westin - Both were serial killers who lured women, attempted to have sex with them, then violently stabbed them to death when they couldn't be aroused by them.
    • "The Gathering" - While not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, Chikatilo appeared to have been an inspiration the episode's unsub, Mark Jackson - Both were serial killers who had parental figures who abused them (Chikatilo was abused by his mother, Jackson by his stepfather) and had a similar M.O. of targeting women, cutting their tongues out, and stabbing them to death.
  • Season Eleven
    • "Tribute" - Chikalito was mentioned as one of the serial killers whose M.O.s were copied by copycat serial killer Michael Lee Peterson. In this crime, Michael murdered a ten-year-old girl (in reference to Chikalito's first victim Lena Zakotnova). Some of the information the BAU provided about Chikalito seem to have been taken from this very wiki.
  • Novels
    • Killer Profile - Reid brings up Chikatilo and BTK as examples of serial killers who were viewed as perfectly mundane family men by almost everyone they knew up until their arrest.


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