15 Gruesome Facts About Andrei Chikatilo, The Rostov Ripper

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (also known as the Rostov Ripper, the Forest Strip Killer, the Butcher of Rostov, and the Red Ripper) was a serial killer active in the former Soviet Union who killed 56 people between 1978 and 1990. He is one of several well-known Soviet serial killers, and inspired the Chessboard Killer. His 12-year killing spree was one of the longest in history.

Upon his final arrest, Chikatilo confessed to his crimes, showing little remorse for his victims. In fact, he seemed proud of his crimes. As he put it while on the stand, "I was like a crazed wolf. I just turned into a beast, into a wild animal."

Chikatilo was born in the Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) in 1936. He was sentenced to death in 1992, and killed in a death chamber by a single gunshot wound in 1994. 

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  • He First Experienced The Thrill Of Murder After Killing Nine-Year-Old Yelena Zakotnova

    Every serial killer starts off with a first victim that usually sets the tone for the rest of the murders that follow. In the case of Andrei Chikatilo, that first victim was Yelena Zakotnova. She was only nine years old when Chikatilo managed to lure her into his house. There, he tried to rape her but failed, so he began to stab her in the abdomen. As he did so, he ejaculated onto her body. After this, he strangled her to death and then tossed her body into the Grushevka River. Chikatilo only became more gruesome and violent after this. 

  • He Mutilated Larisa Tkachenko With His Teeth After Beating Her To Death

    He Mutilated Larisa Tkachenko With His Teeth After Beating Her To Death
    Photo: Nonexyst / via Wikimedia Commons

    Larisa Tkachenko was a 17-year-old student when she was approached by Andrei Chikatilo at a bus stop. She became his second victim. He talked her into going with him to a secluded area for some quiet time talking and drinking alcohol. However, once the two reached a forested area near the Don River, Chikatilo attempted to rape Tkachenko. He was physically unable to follow through with his plans, so he beat her to death with his fists, strangled her, stuffed mud into her mouth, and then mutilated her dead body with a stick and his teeth. In the process, he bit off one of her nipples. Then, rather than bury her body, he covered her with leaves and the pages of newspapers he was carrying on him at the time. 

  • He Stabbed Lyubov Biryuk 22 Times And Gouged Out Her Eyes

    Lyubov Biryuk, Andrei Chikatilo's third victim, was only 13 years old. She was walking home past a secluded bus station when he attacked her, dragging her into a heavily wooded area along the path. There he ripped off her clothing and proceeded to stab her to death. She was stabbed at least 22 times in her neck, head, chest, and pelvic area. The coroner found wounds in her eye sockets as well, proof that Chikatilo had gouged out her eyes. Apparently, the first stab wounds - those to her neck - were done from the back. Chikatilo didn't waste any time in killing her once he had her alone. 

  • He Disemboweled 10-Year-Old Olga Stalmachenok

    He Disemboweled 10-Year-Old Olga Stalmachenok
    Photo: Nonexyst / via Wikimedia Commons

    Witnesses claimed to have last seen Olga Stalmachenok walking off of a bus with a middle-aged man. He was "innocently" leading her by the hand, and the two looked like your typical father and daughter, except that she was actually on her way to her parents' house, and he was a serial killer. Chikatilo led Stalmachenok to the isolated farming area of Novoshakhtinsk, where he killed her. He stabbed her over 50 times, disemboweled her, and ripped open her chest before abandoning her body where it lay. She was his ninth victim. 

  • His Other Victims Were Also Slashed And Mutilated

    As with most serial killers, the murders committed by Andrei Chikatilo followed a pattern - all the victims were stabbed and slashed in very gruesome ways. Some had their eyes gouged out, while others were disemboweled. All of the bodies were found in isolated areas, usually the wooded outskirts of town, within a decent walking distance of bus and train stations. Also, only a half-hearted attempt was made to bury or hide the bodies. These were all Chikatilo's "calling cards" that made it easy for law enforcement to connect the deaths. 

  • He Admitted To Killing 56 People

    Andrei Chikatilo's official body count stands at 56, according to his confession. Although most of his early victims were young girls, he was not overly discerning at the end, and killed young boys and a number of women as well. He was charged with 53 deaths - 18 women, 14 girls, and 21 boys. His oldest victim was 29-year-old Tatyana Petrosyan, while his youngest was seven-year-old Igor Gudkov.