''I Know I Have To Be Destroyed. I Was A Mistake Of Nature.'' | Gruesome Facts & More About The Butcher of Rostov: Andrei Chikatilo | 1970s Serial Killers

 (Andrei Chikatilo. Picture credit: dailystar)

''When I used my knife, it brought psychological relief. I know I have to be destroyed. I was a mistake of nature.'' - Andrei Chikatilo 

I'm often asked who is the most sickest and most vilest of serial killers that I have written about. There is a few names that come to mind and right at the top of the list is this monster, Andrei Chikatilo. They say to never judge a book by it's cover but one glance at this frightening creature and you'd be forgiven for feeling extremely uncomfortable. You only just have to look at him to see that he is deeply disturbed. I remember seeing his face in one of my serial killer books when I was younger and he freaked me out. I could only manage to read a few sentences (which were very graphic) about this man's crimes and that was enough for me, I couldn't continue. Even now, you'd think after all of this time of writing about such horrible crimes and horrific murderers that I would be somewhat immune to some of the nightmarish stories and people that I come across but no, you never get used to it. Every time I write about a case I think it's bad enough but then comes along another story that's even worse than before. 

During my research into Andrei Chikatilo (who is also known by various nicknames such as The Butcher of Rostov, The Red Ripper, The Forest Strip Killer and The Rostov Ripper) I watched some of the footage of one of his court appearances and to say it was disturbing is an understatement. Because of the public outcry and danger to his life, he had to be placed in a cage for his own safety, due to numerous relatives of victims and survivors who wanted to get their hands on him. It was disturbing to watch all of these poor people in such grief, pain and anger at the horrible murders of their loved ones and seeing this pathetic and creepy looking creature in the cage smirking and not showing an ounce of remorse. 

So this is the sixth installment of my serial killers of the decades series. If you have been joining me here on my blog for the past five weeks, you will already be aware that I have focused on six specific serial killers who are known to have been predominantly active in the 1970s. There are so many killers I could have chosen from but I selected six for each decade that I will be covering. For the 1970s, I have covered: 

Rodney Alcala: The Dating Game Killer

Samuel Little: He Murdered Over 90 Women

John Wayne Gacy: ''I'm The 34th Victim''.

Pedro Lopez: The Monster of The Andes

The Many Faces Of Ted Bundy

And in this post the focus will be on Andrei Chikatilo. As I mentioned before, Andrei is responsible for some of the most horrific crimes in history and is often considered to be the most evilest serial killer in Russia's history. 

So let's get into the case of Andrei Chikatilo and his horrendous crimes. 

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on the 16th of October 1936 into some very harsh and difficult times in the Ukraine under Joseph Stalin's regime. Poverty was rife and he lived with his family in a one bedroom hut on some farm land where his parents worked as laborers. Instead of money his parents were given permission to grow their own crops which was not very much. The family lived on very small portions so hunger was a part of life. Andrei claimed that he had never eaten a slice of bread until he was twelve years old. One of his older siblings was apparently murdered by his neighbours because they were so hungry they cooked and ate him. This horror story was repeated to Andrei by his mother and stated as fact all through his childhood and beyond. It was hellish circumstances and physical and sexual abuse was common place. His childhood was pure hell in every aspect and it was very much the ideal beginnings in the making of, what he would go on to be, a complete and utter monster. 

Andrei's home life was horrific but the outside surroundings were no better. Everyone around him was living in extreme poverty and occasions of people resorting to cannibalism was something that people were used to. To try and stave off the hunger, Andrei and his family would resort to eating grass and leaves. His father joined the Red Army and the family tried to survive in his absence. It was during World War II when the Nazis had occupied the Ukraine and his father was reportedly captured by the Nazis. Growing up at the time, Andrei was exposed to all of the horror around him which was carried about by the Nazis. What he had witnessed left a scar on him for life. 

Andrei would sleep in the same bed as his mother but this would always cause conflict because he would constantly urinate during the night. His mother would beat him every time this occurred but he still had difficulties controlling this habit. 

Whilst his father was away Andrei's mother mysteriously became pregnant and this was reportedly as a result of being r*ped by Nazi soldiers which was witnessed by Andrei. 

At school, Andrei was quite sensitive, shy and would often be bullied for how thin and pale he was. He was often collapsing due to extreme hunger and fatigue. Despite all of the difficulties he was enduring, he was a good student and had a determination to do something with his life and had a desire to get the respect and proper treatment that he felt he deserved. His life was a struggle and other kids would laugh at him, he wanted to change all of that and become something and get out of that harsh way of living. 

(Andrei Chikatilo. Picture credit: dailymail)

As a teenager he showed promise, being heavily focused on his studies and had become a dedicated communist. He was so dedicated to communism that he read every book that he could get his hands on and even arranged protests and marches. He saw himself as a leader and seemed to have developed from a shy, fragile boy into a confident young man. However, things were not as quite as they seemed. He was becoming confident academically but was struggling with other areas of his life. He took a shine to a girl who worked with him on the school newspaper and desired to ask her out but never got the courage to do so. Girls were becoming a problem because he didn't know how to act around them and he'd stutter and become shy and socially awkward, he hated this part of himself and it only seemed to get worse as he got older. 

Andrei graduated from high school and was supposed to go on to university but there was an issue which he claimed was down to his father's involvement in World War II (his father was suspected of being a traitor because he was captured by the Nazis in 1943 and it was believed that he gave up information in order to be released). It turned out that his lack of entry into this particular university was not down to his father but simply due to his performance in an exam where other students had scored higher than him and only a select number of places were available. He decided to do some laboring work for a few months to make some money and put himself forward for a vocational course. 

During studying towards a communication technician qualification, he met and fell in love with a girl which was a major boost to his confidence at first until he realised that he could not perform sexually. It seemed to be that every time he was with his girlfriend, trying to get intimate, he couldn't keep an erection. It was a source of frustration for the couple and the relationship didn't last. He was left with a feeling of embarrassment and inadequacy at not being able to have full sexual intercourse with a woman. 

Andrei had partaken and completed various courses in engineering and in 1957, he had a stint in the Soviet Army. After this he returned to live with his parents and worked alongside them on the farm land. Another romance was blossoming but again this was short lived due to Andrei's difficulty at sexual relations. The woman told her friends about why the relationship had ended and word soon got around. Andrei was humiliated with people pointing and laughing and it was especially painful because it was women and girls who were laughing at him. He attempted to take his own life which failed. He decided he had to leave his hometown and start fresh somewhere else. 

He left town and managed to get a job and a little apartment to which his sister had moved in with him. His relationship with his sister was a pretty normal one and she could see how depressed that he was becoming due to his lack of love life. She decided it would be a good idea to set him up with a woman named Feodosia. The pair were an odd couple and seemed to just accept each other. Both had difficulties finding romance so it was a sort of settlement for both of them. Andrei seemed to be at peace in this relationship because Feodosia didn't expect anything from him, she was just happy to have a husband and he provided for her financially. Their sex life was non-existent but again. Feodosia was accepting of this and when it came to a decision to have children together, Andrei would masturbate and insert his semen into her vagina with his fingertips. 

Andrei and Feodosia had a daughter (born 1965) and a son (born 1969).

Despite now considered to be a hardworking family man, Andrei could not cope with his lack of sex life. He realised that the only way he could gain an erection was to fantasize about children and people in pain (I have to be careful how I word this because it's horrendous). There was an incident when he was a teenager where he was able to maintain an erection and had managed to ejaculate on to a younger girl's dress. He'd fallen on the girl and she was in pain and he realised that this creepy and disturbing encounter actually turned him on. 

He was not satisfied with what he had been able to achieve since his days of extreme poverty. Other people may have looked at him and thought that he'd done quite well for himself especially growing up in such circumstances but it was all for show. Andrei was not a happy man, he was not sexually satisfied and saw himself as a failure. Through the courses, jobs and married life, he was constantly looking for that self satisfaction and self acceptance that he was never able to find. Nothing was good enough so he decided that becoming a teacher would give him the proper respect he felt he deserved and the ability to be comfortable with himself. 

Andrei took various courses and spent some time teaching thinking he would be respected and admired. This was a disaster and reminded him of his childhood. The students thought he was a joke and sensed his fear. He struggled to control the classroom and kids would sit in front of him smoking cigarettes because they didn't respect him. He hated the whole experience and this plunged him further into depression and anger. His conduct was completely diabolical, he started to inappropriately touch his female students and various complaints were made. His colleagues reported that they had seen him masturbating in the classroom on various occasions and often in full view of the students. For some unbelievable reason, instead of calling the police and reporting his disgusting behaviour, he was simply given the options of being fired or to voluntarily resign. This wasn't a problem for Andrei because he found another teaching job. 

He later claimed that he had an obsession with seeing girls naked and would hang around public bathrooms in the hopes of being able to spy on children. He would try and gain trust by trying to have conversation with young girls and offering them bubblegum. Using this manipulative method he was able to assault quite a number of girls. 

His new teaching role didn't last long because he'd been accused of sexually assaulting both male and female children. It was clear that his behaviour was getting more worse and worse as time went on. The red flags were all there for all to see but the country as it was, things were done in terms of police investigations was very much behind with the times. 

His first reported victim was a nine year old girl by the name of Yelena Zakotnova. The child was taken to a filthy hut which he had previously bought with the intention of using it for the purpose of harming children in privacy. He attempted to sexually assault her but failed to get an erection, he then proceeded to stab the child and it was through this sickening act that he was able to ejaculate. The child was then strangled and dumped in a river. Instead of being horrified and remorseful at what he had done, this only gave him a sickening taste for more. 

For the murder of Yelena Zakotnova, another man was to take the fall. Aleksandr Kravchenko was accused by the police to be responsible after blood stains that had been found on his wife's jumper had matched Yelena's blood type (both Yelena and Aleksandr's wife had the same blood type), he was sentenced to death after the police had forced him to confess. Yelena's family were determined to see him put to death especially when there was talk of his sentence being changed to a life sentence instead. He ended up being executed by firing squad in 1983. Aleksandr had a history of sexual assault and murder of a young girl in the past to which he served time in prison for. Any sympathy for him just flies out of the window but still, Andrei should have been held to account for this horrific crime. 

Andrei Chikatilo realised that he had enjoyed and took pleasure in Yelena's murder and it wasn't long until he struck again. He lured a 17 year old girl to a wooded area with promises of alcohol and subjected the poor girl to a horrific attack. The monster had thrown her to the ground, ripped her clothes off and attempted a sexual assault but he couldn't achieve an erection so became even more angry. He shoved mud down the girl's throat in an attempt to quiet her screaming. It was a sickening and vile attack and got sicker and more evil as he continued. He didn't have a knife so he tore apart her body with his teeth and a stick. It was just nightmarish and when he was finished his disgusting ordeal, he beat and strangled the poor girl to death. He fled the scene and the girl's deceased and mutilated body was found the next day. 

More victims were added to his sick list, each suffering a horrendous ordeal of torture, mutilation and sexual assault. He would often gouge his victim's eyes out and investigators believe that this was due to an old Russian superstition that the last person a victim sees before death stays imprinted on the eye. In his twisted and sick mind he may have thought he was helping to cover his tracks by removing the eyes or that he simply enjoyed the mutilation. As well as stabbing and strangling victims, they would be subjected to horrendous torture, he would bite off their noses, their ears, their nipples. He wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible. The more pain the victims suffered, the more turned on that he got. 

(Some of the known victims of Andrei Chikatilo. Picture credit: Victims of Crime)

The victims were both male or female and had been subjected to a savage attack and murder by Andrei Chikatilo. He would sometimes use weapons to kill his victims but often he took their lives by his own hands, teeth, sticks and whatever object he could find. He would literally rip off skin, genitals and tongues  with his teeth. He also ate parts of his victims flesh and organs but would state to investigators later that he only 'nibbled' them. He also said that he enjoyed tasting his victim's blood and would sometimes kill his victims by sitting on their chests until their hearts stopped beating because it gave him a sense of calmness and pleasure. 

His horrendous killing spree went on for 12 years and in that time it is impossible to know how many deaths he is responsible for. He'd been arrested in the early 1980s for lewd conduct and theft from a previous employer but served only three months and was back on the streets again to continue his murder spree. He managed to slip through the cracks so many times and continued to move from job to job. 

The police were finally on to him in 1990 after investigations into the various murders, the lewd conduct and the sexual assault claims by his former pupils, it was all finally catching up with him. He was put under surveillance by the police where they observed him trying to talk to young girls. They finally arrested him and at first he claimed that he was innocent but eventually after knowing all of the evidence that he had stacked up against him, he confessed after nine days of being put under continuous interrogation. 

(Andrei Chikatilo. Picture credit: criminalminds)

He originally admitted 36 murders but later confessed to 20 more. Investigators believe that he was responsible for more murders. He led the police to where some of his victims were buried.

When he appeared in court, he had to be placed inside a steel cage for his own safety because the victim's families and survivors were so determined to get their hands on him. Emotions and anger ran high, especially as he seemed to find everything so humorous and didn't have a shred of remorse. He painted a freak-like figure with his skinny frame, wide eyes and shaved head (his hair was shaved off as a precaution because lice was often rife in Russian prisons). He was quite frightening to look at and it was clear that this individual was deeply disturbed. 

At his trial, the disturbing details of what he had done to each of his victims was fully revealed and it was incredibly horrific and heartbreaking for the families to hear. His behaviour at times was often erratic and he had to be told to be quiet by the Judge on a number of occasions. Andrei gave a two hour statement going on about his life and his crimes, the relatives were howling and shouting obscenities at him but it didn't phase him. On a couple of occasions he would stand up, pull his trousers down and expose himself to the packed courtroom. He would sing and shout out random comments about not being homosexual, he even claimed to be pregnant at one point. On one occasion when the court took a break, he was let out of the cage and the brother of a victim had manged to throw a chunk of metal at his chest, when the police tried to get a hold of the young man, the other relatives protected him and told the police to back away. 

He was eventually found guilty to no surprise and sentenced to death. His reaction to this was to kick his chair across the cage, shouting and making a spectacle of himself. The relatives of the victims were relived to see some justice done although I'm sure they would have preferred to serve him their own kind of justice after the sickening things he had done. 

Andrei had the nerve to appeal his sentence but it got thrown out and he had to accept his fate. The Russians didn't mess about when it came to his execution, he was simply led into a room on the 14th of February 1994 (Valentine's Day) and shot once in the back of the head. No suffering, no lingering pain just quick. A relief that he was gone form the earth but I'm sure in some ways that the relatives of the victims felt somewhat cheated because his death came quick whereas, their loved ones had went through hell. 

There is the possibility that Andrei Chikatilo could be responsible for as many as 100 murders, we can never know for sure considering his thirst for killing and the length of time that he was able to carry out his crimes. His victims were not only young children but people who lived on the streets, homeless people, sex workers and random people he would follow from bus stops and train stations. Some people were reported missing, others were not. Some remains were found and a lot were never discovered. He was a pure monster and one of the most evilest creatures (I don't know how else to describe him) that I have ever written about. 

(Andrei Chikatilo. Picture credit: mirror)

So I close this decade of the 1970s with the horrendous story of Andrei Chikatilo, it's unbelievable to think that such evil exists in this world. Chikatilo may no longer be on this earth but we know the reality that there are others out there just like him, possible operating right now, undetected, slipping through the cracks. There will always be serial killers as there has been ever since time began. We continue to study these people to try and find answers and another frighting thing is, sometimes there are just no answers. There's lots of theories as to why Andrei turned out the way that he did, his poverty stricken background, his abusive mother, the lack of a satisfying sex life, the feelings of inadequacy and never being taken seriously. The list goes on. He could have sought help for his intimate problems, he had a wife and children who were clearly there for him, he had achieved things in his life despite the difficult start, he could have made something positive of his life. I don't have the answers but I know that the story of Andrei Chikatilo continues to haunt people to this day and nobody can forget that frightening, evil and sadistic face or his terrible crimes. 

RIP to all of the known victims of Andrei Chikatilo and also to the victims who we may never know the names of but are equally as important and hopefully one day will be identified so that their families can have some sort of closure. Prayers and thoughts also to the families of the victims. 

Further Reading & Sources: 

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers | Book by Michael Newton

The Big Book of Serial Killers | Book by Jack Rosewood & Rebecca Lo

The Killer Book of Serial Killers | Book by Tom Philbin & Michael Philbin

Andrei Chikatilo: Article | Britannica

Andrei Chikatilo: Article | Daily Mail

Andrei Chikatilo | Wikipedia

Andrei Chikatilo | Murderpedia

Andrei Chikatilo: Article | Daily Star

Andrei Chikatilo | Biography

Andrei Chikatilo: Article | Victims of Crime

Andrei Chikatilo: Article | Mirror

Andrei Chikailo: Documentary | Youtube

Andrei Chikatilo: Footage | Youtube

I know this was a difficult post to get through and I thank you as always if you have been able to reach the end. I will be moving into the 1980s next, so I hope you will join me for my next post where I will be delving into another serial killer and this is another one that you may be very familiar with. 

Take care & see you in my next installment x 


  1. Good evening Jo,

    I just finished reading your latest intalment of you True Crime serial killers series. Masterful work Jo !!!

    Andrei Chikatilo was right when he was saying that he had to be destroyed. He was a disgusting evil sadistic monster. Right from his picture, you can feel how creepy and sick this monster was. An horrendous creature, he didn’t even look like he was human.

    Everyting that he has done to these children make me sick to my stomach. Every case that involved children are heartbreaking. In my opinion, Andrei Chikatilo has to be one of the sickest individual to ever live. His fantasies were so disgusting and what he has done can’t be described.

    All the savage murders that he has committed, the mutilation, the act of pure violence on these poor innocent children. This monster has no remorse at all and he was taking pleasure in his horrendous crimes.

    I couldn’t agree more with you Jo, this cruel and vile monster was so frightening to look at.

    My thoughts are with the families of the victims, it must have been hell from them.

    RIP to all the victims.

    I am looking forward to read your 6 upcoming cases about the serials killers from the 80’s.

    1. Thank you so much for checking out my latest true crime post in this series. I hope you will find the 1980s series interesting.

  2. After reading this a quote came to mine "Evil Begets Evil..." and the reason that came to mind is this monster (literal monster) was born into a time and place where some of the most horrific moments in human history were taking place. The front lines of the Nazi battles with the Soviet Union were some of the most brutal and harshest places on earth and is often dismissed by the sheer brutality of the Nazi Regime. If there was ever a hell on Earth, that front line was the place.

    However, that being said we have seen the triumph of the human soul and mind to rise above those atrocities and flourish to do great things and survive, or... as in this case become one of the most sadistic and terrifying monsters to have ever walked this earth. The sheer ferocity, the terrifying brutality and the sickening fact that he got such a thrill from the way he committed his murders in my opinion goes far beyond anything I was familiar with from other serial killers.

    Having read all your posts over the years and seeing the pictures that accompany those posts of various killers and monsters, I have to say Andrei's pictures are some of the most disturbing I've ever seen in my life. If a picture is worth a 1000 words than his pictures would be 1000 ways to define one single word... psychotic!

    To be able to get away with such crimes in a country that is notorious for it's spying and intel on it's own civilians goes to show that he was incredibly crafty and able to cover his tracks quite well. To be able to operate for as long as he did and commit the sickening acts that he did for so long says a lot about both the detective work and his ability to remain undetected is mind-blowing.

    I can't say enough and there's so much more to be said about this monster but I don't want to take away from the power that this post has. Your True Crime Cases are phenomenal and this series has been intense! I can't rave enough about how brilliant you are and how amazing your work is.

    1. Wow! You've blown me away with this comment as usual. I love your comments, always detailed and I know you are a talented writer yourself. Thank you so much for the support and for taking the time as always, to read and comment x