The Rostov Ripper: A Portrait of Unmitigated Evil.

Wess Haubrich
42 min readMar 16, 2020

You’ve likely never heard of him, but Russia’s ‘Rostov Ripper’, Andrei Chikatilo is arguably the most brutal serial killer in the annals of criminal history. Examining just how a meek, scared little boy turned into one of the most gruesome and bloodthirsty psychopaths of all time is fascinating, repulsive, and necessary all at once if we don’t want this kind of history repeated.

The prime catalysts of that transformation included famine, warped fairy tales, ideological and political hubris, staggering indifference to human life, gross miscarriages of justice which cost the life of 2 innocent men, and old fashioned ineptitude of big bureaucracies.

This portrait has been divided into 2 parts — both of which are on this page — because of the sheer amount of pertinent information necessary to understand just how one of the worst serial killers in history came to be.

Listen to the Real Monsters’ podcast of this, Part I of the Rostov Ripper here.

Yelena’s head propelled through the wall of the decrepit house’s front room with a powerful thud.

The man who initiated the blow removed his hand from the knocked out girl for a second. His reptilian tongue lapping up the small trail of his blood left from a stray nail in the wall that nicked him, breaking the skin.

His free hand went from fingering the butcher’s blade in his pocket to positioning it against her flesh.

Hungrily eyeing the bleeding Yelena, the Monster had to steady himself for what he was about to do…

Yelena Zakotnova. Source: YouTube Screengrab.

Yelena (she always went by “Lana”) was walking home after overstaying at her friend’s house that past Thursday. Two 9-year old girls together for an entire night tended to equal a lot of giggling and styling of each other’s dark hair. Especially considering it was a little over a week before one of their favorite times of year: Christmas.

Lana knew despite the depressing and poverty-stricken conditions of her city, Rostov, on the Don River in Russia, her father really tried to make her extra happy every year around this time by giving her pieces of candy he got from their “German Uncle Fritz” from East Berlin. It was 1978 and things seemed to be getting a bit better too. At least, based…

Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.