Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo


The Rostov Ripper
The Red Ripper
The Butcher of Rostov
The Forest Strip Killer
The Mad Beast
The Mistake of Nature
Killer X
The Shelter Belt Killer



Birth Date

October 16, 1936

Place of Birth

Yabluchne, Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Union (now Ukraine)

Date of Death

February 14, 1994 (aged 57)

Place of Death

Novocherkassk, Russia


Telephone engineer
School teacher
Supply clerk


Serial Killer
Spree Killer (briefly)


Varied post-mortem mutilation

Modus Operandi

Varied (usually stabbing)



No. of Victims

52-57 killed
3+ molested/assaulted

Span of crimes

December 22, 1978 - November 6, 1990 (confirmed)

Criminal Charges

53 counts of murder
5 counts of sexual assault


3 months


September 1984 (first)
November 14, 1990


(executed by gunshot)


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'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 Awkward and withdrawn, he was generally a good student, though he failed his entrance exam to the Moscow State University.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

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.