Considered to be some of the most dangerous men in the world, Eastern European serial killers have consistently competed with each other in atrocities of their acts, pushing the borders of brutal and bizarre each time around. Mostly hailing from problematic families, many of them have had troubled childhood and a delinquent youth which eventually evolved into monstrous adulthood.
Widely known as the Rostov Ripper, Ukrainian native Andrei Chikatilo has been sentenced to death in 1992. for rape, mutilation and murder of over 50 women and children. According to Andrei’s mother and Andrei himself, due to great poverty and hunger, his older brother Stephan was kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbors at the age of 4. A small and timid child, Andrei was the best student in his class and regularly received praise from his teachers. However, he was bullied by his classmates and extremely underweight due to great famine which struck many families at the time. Academically remarkable, Andrei became the editor of school newspaper at the age of 14, and was appointed as the chairman of the pupils’ Communist committee at the age of 16.
Socially involved, he helped organize various events and street marches, eventually being the only child from his village to graduate. His excellent grades earned him an acceptance to prestigious Moscow State University, yet he was denied scholarship due to his father’s criminal record. Disappointed, Chikatilo never again tried to get into Moscow State University, traveling to a city of Kursk instead for a vocational training as a communication technician. Well into puberty, Chikatilo was sexually frustrated as he was insecure and shy around women, which was only worsen by his chronic impotence. Forcing himself on an 11 year old girl at the age of 17, Andrei committed his first sexual assault.
In the following years, Chikatilo had few girlfriends, all of whom left him because of his inability to have a sexual intercourse. Passing professional exams at the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communication, he was known as a hardworking expert in his field. However, his private life was in shambles. After he returned to his native village, his new girlfriend experienced the same issue as all previous ones did. She tried to help Andrei by asking her friends if they knew a way to solve the problem.
However, the story got around and had a major emotional impact on Chikatilo. “Girls were going behind my back, whispering that I was impotent. I was so ashamed. I tried to hang myself. My mother and some young neighbors pulled me out of the noose. Well, I thought no one would want such a shamed man. So I had to run away from there, away from my homeland.”
Leaving Ukraine, he traveled to Rostov-on-Don, where he married a woman his sister set him up with, only 2 weeks after meeting her. Focusing on his studies, he received a degree in Russian literature from Rostov University and started working as a teacher. Timid and shy, Chikatilo was mocked and harassed by his students, yet he committed various sexual assaults on female pupils during this time. Eventually fired from school for his predatory ways, Chikatilo got a job as a supply clerk. His first legally recorded crime was a rape and murder of a 9 year old girl, during which he finally managed to achieve erection and sexual satisfaction. In a bid to repeat the experience, Chikatilo went on to rape, severely mutilate and murder 56 women and children.
Eventually noticed by undercover Rostov officers for consistently initiating conversations with women and children on the street, Andrei was put under surveillance shortly before his arrest. Once the police had enough evidence, they silently arrested Chikatilo in front of a local cafe. Confessing to occasionally drinking the blood of his victims and tearing pieces of their flesh with his teeth, Chikatilo fully cooperated during the trial. Sentenced to death, Chikatilo stated, “I know I have to be destroyed. I was a mistake of nature.” Finally, in Novocherkassk prison in 1994., Andrei Chikatilo was executed with a single gunshot.
Known as the most prolific Slovak serial killer, a former employee of Hotel Carlton in Bratislava, Rigo committed crimes of murder and necrophilia against 9 people. Described as schizoid, sociopathic man with extremely low IQ who seldom spoke, Rigo had a criminal record even previous to committing murders. Coming from a dysfunctional family of Roma origins, he ended up in a youth corrective institution at the age of 14, and was later taken to an orphanage along with his other brothers and sisters. An experienced burglar, Rigo started his killing spree soon after the fall of Iron Curtain, in the cities of Munich, Amsterdam and Bratislava.
Seemingly getting into murders and necrophilia by accident, Rigo’s first victim walked in on him as he was burglarizing her apartment. Murdering her aroused Rigo, who eventually copulated with her corpse he half-covered with a blanket. After discovering how much he liked what he had done, Ondrej Rigo continued to commit crimes in the exact same manner, always targeting women in whose homes he snuck in early in the morning or late at night.
Drinking a bottle of slivovica he found in the apartment of Maria van der W., his third victim, proved to be one of key elements of his conviction as numerous witnesses who knew him from work witnessed Rigo loved to drink this alcoholic beverage. After one of his victims managed to survive the attack, police quickly advanced in their investigation. Only hours after his last murder, Rigo was arrested in the hotel he worked at.
According to an investigator, ‘’He was still in trance, like a snake who just swallowed its prey. There were traces of blood on his shoes and trousers and inside his locker there were jewels belonging to the victim.’’ Initially denying the crimes, Rigo stated he never felt any guilt because of what he’d done. Convicted to a life imprisonment in highest security Slovakian prison, he will be eligible for parole in 2019.
Born in the family of alcohol addicts, Bychkov and his brother were forced to work in a family garden and collect scrap metal as children, severely punished if they came home with no money. After his father committed suicide at the age of 40, Alexander’s brother was attacked by a local gang, suffered severe brain damage and became disabled. In order to take care of his brother, Bychkov left Belinskoye Pedagogical School where he was studying to become a teacher. Harboring disgust and hatred for alcoholics most likely because of his parents, Alexander was obsessed with criminal and cannibalistic literature.
After being dumped by his girlfriend Svetlana, he started to meticulously plan his first murder. As written in his diary: ‘’She said I was a wimp, not a wolf … I will show her … Maybe she will stop complaining and understand that I am a lone wolf.” After a detailed preparation, which included planning the entire ordeal from beginning to the end, Bychkov committed his first murder in 2009., aged 23. Luring his victims, usually male alcoholics to his home with promises of vodka, Alexander butchered them with a common kitchen knife, ate their hearts and buried the remains in his backyard. Among his 11 victims was also his mother’s lover Vladimir.
.’’..and then I stabbed him in the head. I also stabbed him in the back numerous times, just to be on the safe side. After doing that I dragged the body into bushes. I used roofing iron sheet and branches to cover the body. I killed another person in autumn. I slit his throat and when he died I dragged him to bushes. I cut his stomach and chest and extracted his heart. I hid the body but I kept the heart. When I got home I cooked his heart and ate it with ketchup and bread. It was okay, a little bit too greasy, but I still enjoyed it. Everything was great until they started to discover bodies. It was rumored that there is a serial killer in the city and he kills, beheads and dismembers men. Everybody knew about it.
There were a lot of police officers on the city streets. It made news. I figured that it would be smart to take a break for a while.‘’ After breaking into a local supplies store, from which he stole some knives and 10 000 rubles, Bychkov was caught by the police. He admitted not only to theft, but also to murders and cannibalism. On March 22., 2013, Alexander Bychkov was sentenced to life imprisonment in regime colony on the island of Ognenny at the age of 25.
Originating from the city of Niš, located in today’s Serbia, Trifunović was considered to be Yugoslavia’s most feared and by far most intelligent serial killer. Murdering 60 people during his killing spree, Trifunović came from a troubled home, where his alcoholic father would often bring prostitutes and make his mother watch the ordeal. Breeding hatred for the women who brought his mother such humiliation, Trifunović admitted to fantasizing about murdering prostitutes even as a child.
As a young man, he committed a series of sexual crimes, being only fifteen when he raped a twelve year old girl. Well known in Belgrade in the years prior to World War II, Trifunović would stalk parks at night, waiting for couples. His usual practice was hitting a man with a metal bar so he would lose conscience, and raping the woman. However, he committed his first murder in 1948., first raping and then strangling the victim, what became his modus operandi for all subsequent crimes.
A devoted fan of Jack the Ripper and Honore de Balzac, Trifunović wrote poetry which he read to his victims prior to killing them. One survivor witnessed of this, adding he would also complain of how little appreciation people had for poetry and prose. Using a fake beard and costume he stole from an apartment of a well known Belgrade theater actor, Trifunović was extremely difficult to catch. Leading a double life, Stole posed as a calm, loving husband, and a hard working construction manager for years. Among his many victims was also his wife’s sister, which he raped and murdered just like all other victims. His fatal mistake however, was not related to murders, but setting a fire to a cafe of a business partner he had crossed.
Forgetting to remove his fingerprints from the bucket of gasoline, Trifunović was caught and eventually found guilty by his own admission for both setting the fire and rape and murder of 60 women. “Unlike everyone else, German occupation liberated me. It provided me with an opportunity to commit many crimes, for which I would otherwise be caught and sentenced long time ago.” Committing suicide by piercing his throat and heart with two metal bars, Trifunović died in a prison cell awaiting his trial.