All news

Russia's most bloodthirsty serial killers

A list of the worst serial killers in the history of the Soviet Union and Russia

MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee in Irkutsk Region has brought final charges against Mikhail Popkov, notoriously known as the "werewolf," of committing 60 murders. According to the Investigators, Popkov, a former cop, committed no less than 84 homicides in the Irkutsk Region in the 1990s and 2000s. All of his victims were women aged 16 to 40. If found guilty, Popkov will become the worst serial killer who has ever committed atrocities in the former Soviet Union and Russia. In January 2015, he was sentenced to life for 22 solved murders.

TASS-DOSSIER has compiled a list of the worst serial killers in the history of the Soviet Union and Russia. Andrey Chikatilo was the most savage of all. Two men on the list - Anatoly Onopriyenko and Sergey Tkach - committed their first crimes before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Eventually both were convicted in Ukraine.

Andrey Chikatilo Oleg Nederi/TASS
Andrey Chikatilo
© Oleg Nederi/TASS

Andrey Chikatilo - 53 murders

Andrey Chikatilo (1936-1994) committed 53 confirmed homicides over a 12-year period (1978-1990). Among some of his victims were 21 school kids aged 7-17 and 18 adult women. Chikatilo pled guilty to 56 murders. He committed the homicides in the Rostov Region, Krasnodar Region, Adygeya, and Uzbekistan with ferocious cruelty in addition to being sexually perverse. All involved pedophilia, necrophilia and cannibalism. For the first time Chikatilo was arrested on suspicion of murder in 1984 only to be released due to a mistake committed by the forensic expert who tested traces of sperm left on the body of one of the victims. On November 20, 1990 he was arrested on suspicion of killing 22-year-old Svetlana Korostik and eventually confessed to committing many other crimes. In October 1992, he was sentenced to death. He asked President Boris Yeltsin for pardon, however, the plea was rejected. Chikatilo was shot in a Novocherkassk jail.

Anatoly Onopriyenko - 52 murders

Anatoly Onopriyenko TASS
Anatoly Onopriyenko

Anatoly Onopriyenko (1959-2013) committed 52 murders: including nine in the area of what is now Ukraine, together with an accomplice, Sergey Rogozin.

Later, Onopriyenko left for Germany. Upon his return to Ukraine he murdered another 43 people in 1995-1996, mostly during robberies. He was arrested on April 14, 1996 in Yavorov (Lvov Region) after being turned in by a relative to the police. On April 1, 1999 Onopriyenko was given the death penalty (and Rogozin 13 years in jail). Ukraine in 1999 was already holding talks on being admitted to the Council of Europe and a moratorium on capital punishment was already in effect. As a result, the death sentence was never implemented. Onopriyenko died in a Zhitomir jail in 2013.

Aleksandr Pichushkin - 49 murders

Aleksandr Pichushkin (born in 1974) committed a total of 49 homicides (first in 1992 and then in 2001-2006). He preyed on his victims mostly in Moscow’s Bitsevo Park, for which reason he was nicknamed as the Bitsevo maniac.

Aleksandr Pichushkin Yuri Mashkov/TASS
Aleksandr Pichushkin
© Yuri Mashkov/TASS

Most of his victims were men, and only three were women. Usually he murdered someone by delivering a hard blow to the head with a blunt object. Detectives identified Pichushkin after he had killed a female colleague. Before agreeing to accompany the man for a stroll in the park the woman had shared his phone number with her relatives. On June 18, 2006 Pichushkin was arrested and soon agreed to testify. He pled guilty to 60 murders. He had planned to commit a total of 64 killings - the number of squares on the chessboard. On October 29, 2007 the Moscow City Court handed down his sentence on the basis of the jurors’ verdict. Pichushkin was found guilty of 40 homicides and three attempted murders and sent to jail for life. Currently the mass murderer is in a maximum-security prison.

Sergey Tkach - 37 murders

Sergey Tkach (born in 1952), an ex-cop, committed 37 homicides in Ukraine. He claimed responsibility for more than 80 killings. All his murder victims were raped prior to their deaths. The ex-cop-turned mass murderer raped and killed girls aged nine and older. In August 2005 he was arrested after killing a nine-year-old daughter of an acquaintance of his. He was identified by the girl’s friends. On December 23, 2008 a court in Dnepropetrovsk handed him a lifelong jail term. He is serving out his sentence in a maximum-security prison.

Gennady Mikhasevich - 36 murders

Gennady Mikhasevich (1947-1987 or 1988) committed 36 homicides in the Vitebsk Region of Belarus in 1971-1985. All of his victims were women. He used to lure them into his small red car, drive off to a lonely place, where he raped and killed them. Shortly before his arrest he tried to throw police off his trail using bogus evidence. For example, he sent letters to several newspapers saying that a phony association of jealous husbands calling itself Patriots of Vitebsk was responsible. He also inserted a hand-written note into the mouth of one of his victims. Forensic examination of the message identified him as the author. He was arrested on April 14, 1987, tried and sentenced to death on September 25, 1987 (according to different sources, on February 3, 1988) in a Minsk prison.

Luis Garavito
Luis Garavito

World’s most bloodthirsty serial killer Luis Garavito

The world’s worst serial killer is Colombia’s pedophile Luis Garavito (born 1957).

It was proven he took the life of 138 children in Columbia’s different cities, but the investigators suspect the list is much longer - more than 300 names.

All of his victims were boys from poor families and vagabond children under 16 years of age.

All were raped before death. He disposed of the bodies by throwing them into deep pits and wells. In one of them in Pereira the police in 1997 found the remains of 36 children.

Garavito was arrested on April 22, 1999 and on December 17, 1999 sentenced to 52 years in jail.

For consent to cooperate with the investigators and confession the prison term was reduced to 22 years.