The Russian Werewolf prowled the dark streets of Siberia, racking up an insane death count, making him one of the world’s most evil serial killers. He wasn’t a werewof, but he was something much worse! Check out our new worst serial killer video and see if you agree that The Russian Werewolf ranks at the top of the list.
The Russian Werewolf prowled the dark streets of Siberia
It’s a bitterly cold night in the Siberian city
of Angarsk. Bars are emptying out; people say
their goodbyes and diverge in the snow-filled
streets. A woman, her name is Khristina,
crosses the road ponderously. She’s had a few
too many drinks. Shivering, she takes her scarf
and wraps it tightly around her neck. She is
about to come face to face with “The Werewolf”,
a man who’ll soon become known as Russia’s worst
ever serial killer, and perhaps, one of the most
demented and cruel men that ever walked the
Earth. He pulls up beside her in his police
car, just a concerned officer of the law helping
out a slightly drunk, obviously cold, female in
the middle of the night. The maniac gives her a
reassuring smile. Khristina gets in the back of
the car, not knowing she’s sitting just inches
away from an array of instruments of torture.
What we just described is based on a true story.
In fact, it’s based on many, many true stories
that happened between the years of 1992 and 2010.
This serial killer was so prolific it’s hard to
imagine he had much time to do anything else but
murder. He was so brutal in the way he murdered
it’s hard to fathom how his mind worked. What’s
shocking, is that he was never caught during the
time he committed those murders. He almost got
away with all of his utterly depraved crimes.
He was a cop after all…and by all
accounts, a great father and husband.
Ok, so what do we know about Popkov the kid? Did
he have some of the traits of some serial killers
to be: childhood abuse, extreme trauma, hurting
animals, arson or substance abuse? We can’t say
for sure. We know that he was born in Angarsk
on March 7, 1964. There is little said about
his childhood, although he’s claimed at times that
he suffered abuse by his mother. One thing’s for
sure, he had a problem with women, a big problem.
We know that this bad lieutenant, the so-called
cannibal cop, married a woman named Elena, and
we know that they had a daughter named Ekaterina.
To them, Popkov was a doting father
and a loving husband. He was kind,
dependable, sweet. Although, much like America’s
notorious Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway,
he lived a double life. He’d be at his
daughter’s school musical performance one minute
and tearing a woman to shreds the next….Popkov
killed his daughter’s music teacher by the way.
He was a career cop with a family. He had a wife
who called him “a perfect husband and father”
and who after his arrest refused at first to
believe he was a killer. He was the guy next door,
the guy you appreciated living next door to
because he was a trusted member of law enforcement
that could be called upon in times of need.
But something snapped when he was 28-years old,
1992, the year he committed his
first murder. Why did he do it?
That’s a difficult question, but it seems it was
because he suspected his wife had cheated on him.
One day he found two used condoms in their trash,
and this sent him over the edge. He wanted to get
back at loose women, rather than hurt his own
wife. After his arrest he said this, “I just had
some reasons to suspect her. I’m not looking for
excuses, but this was the impetus for my future.”
He started killing and doing
it in the most horrific ways.
On October 28, 1998, 20-year old Tatiana
Martynova and 19-year old Yulia Kuprikova
went out to a concert. They didn’t return home.
Their bodies were found the next day, torn apart,
showing the signs of abuse. They’d been drunk,
looking like they were having a good time.
For Popkov, this meant they were promiscuous, not
womanly in the way he’d like to see women act,
and so he raped and slaughtered them.
At times he’d pick on prostitutes. As a
“missionary” type of killer he told himself he was
purging his small part of Siberia of bad people.
It’s the kind of excuse many of these types
of killers give so they can derive thrills
from their unbounded sadism. This is what
he once said about the women he murdered:
“They abandoned their husbands and
children at home and went out to party
as if it was the last day on earth.”
Indeed, at times he would play a game,
a game of live or die. He’d get them in his police
car, a Lada 4×4, and ask them if they (A) wanted
to return home or (B) carry on the party somewhere
else. If they chose answer B, he’d take them
to a secluded place and do his worst. He once
said the women he chose were usually the ones
that showed him no fear. To him, they were the
most immoral. If they wanted to drink with him,
God forbid sleep with him, he killed them.
“Not all women became victims,” he said,
“but those of a certain negative behavior,
I had a desire to teach and punish.”
Most of his victims were women just having a good
night out, enjoying the springtime of their life.
As we said, one of his victim’s
was Katya’s music school teacher.
When his daughter came home and asked him for
money to go towards her teacher’s funeral,
he gladly gave some to her. How messed up is
that, helping to pay for your victim’s funeral.
Over the years, mutilated bodies were being
found in Angarsk and the Irkutsk Oblast region,
but police never managed to secure a lead.
They were after all seeking one of their own,
a man who knew very well how to evade arrest. It
didn’t make matters any easier that his murders
may have covered some 2,423 miles (3,900 km).
It wasn’t easy catching him.
For 18 years the bodies piled up. One time the
police found a woman whose head was missing.
Another time the victim’s heart had been torn
out (he later denied that). Some were stabbed
over a hundred times. Some victims were covered in
bite marks. This was a monster, make no mistake.
What seemed evident was the man used a
number of tools to kill and mutilate his
victims. We now know that those tools were
baseball bats, screwdrivers, knives, axes,
a hammer, and of course, his own snapping
incisors – hence the name, “The Werewolf”.
During the 1990s the cases piled up, but
there were also two cases in which women
managed to escape Popkov’s grasp. They each gave
statements to the Russian police, but still,
he wasn’t caught. He could have been, so easily.
When he murdered 35-year old Maria Lyzhina and
37-year old Liliya Pashkovsaya he made a mistake.
After ditching the bodies his police ID fell out.
He went back to get the ID. It was there,
but so was a woman still breathing. “I was
shocked by the fact that she was still alive. I
finished her with a shovel,” he later testified.
Then there was Svetlana Misyavitchus, a 17-year
old survivor who Popkov saw walking alone one
evening. She said the day was bitterly cold,
and so when a police officer pulled up close
to her to offer her a ride she was grateful
and got in. Her heart sank and her pulse raced
when Popkov drove past the turn to her house.
He just kept going, driving towards the
wilderness. The next thing she remembered
was him smashing her head against a tree,
for what she later said felt like an eternity.
She was naked, cold, bloodied, semi-conscious,
but she still managed to get away from him.
She ran and ran, a naked girl in the snow,
but unbelievably when she screamed
at passers-by no one helped her.
His dreaded car caught up with her. He got out and
beat her senseless, leaving her for dead. The next
day she woke up in a morgue. In her own words,
“I felt so cold. I woke up, sat down, and spotted
a label on the toe of a corpse next to me.”
Later she identified Popkov in a photograph,
but after questioning, police took the
matter no further. His wife provided
a solid alibi, which of course was a lie.
Misyavitchus and one other victim are the only
people to survive a Popkov attack. Her hair turned
gray and she developed a stutter after her ordeal,
such was the shock. Not only that,
she had some brain damage, frostbite,
and she was put on medication for syphilis.
After the attack, she developed what is called
a conversion disorder. The psychological trauma
led to motor disturbances and she couldn’t walk
very well. She recovered, but on seeing Popkov in
court some years later her legs failed her again.
This is an important part of the story, because
Misyavitchus was a virgin before that attack.
What that meant was that Popkov was infected
with syphilis from someone he had killed.
We know that he got out of the police
force in 1998, but the murders didn’t
stop then. He started working in security for
Angarsk Oil and Chemical Company, but didn’t
stop killing for at least another two years.
That’s what police originally thought anyway.
It was first believed he stopped the killing in
the year 2000 because his syphilis infection had
made him impotent. That’s one hypothesis, but
it must be remembered that he didn’t assault
all his victims. We should also say
that more recent reports state that
he carried on killing until the year 2010.
What we do know is that in 2012 police were
onto something. They discovered that close to
many of the places where the bodies had been
dumped there were tire tracks, and often
those tracks belonged to a Lada Niva 4×4.
This kind of vehicle was often used by cops in
Siberia, so investigators asked 3,500 retired
and current policemen for DNA samples. It was all
downhill for him from there. He’d stopped killing,
thought he’d gotten away with it, and then
one day there was a knock on the door.
How many people did he kill?
In his own words, “I can’t
say exactly, I didn’t keep a record.”
First, he was convicted of 22 murders,
and he went down for them. But then there were
many more cases. In fact, he confessed to 59
more murders, the ones he could remember
doing. He took cops to the scene of the crime,
where he dumped the body, and gave them all
the details he could. Things all added up.
At 83 murders, he is said to be the worst serial
killer in modern times in Russia. The worst of all
time was the wealthy 18th century countess and
peasant killer, Saltichikha’, Darya Nikolayevna
Saltykova, who confessed to 138 murders.
His tally makes him the third worst in the
world behind Colombian Luis “The Beast” Garavito
who murdered 138 children, and another Colombian,
Pedro Lopez, the “Monster of the Andes”, who
killed 110 people. Both men are suspected to
have killed many more. We should also say the
former British doctor, Harold Shipman, killed
at least 219 people, although medical murders are
sometimes said to be a different class of killing.
Popkov, the family man and devil next door,
was described by many people after he was
given a life sentence. One investigator
said of him, “He is charming and sociable.
Women like him but he is a beast inside,
and it is always hard to fight a werewolf.”
One person that worked with him on
the police force said she nearly
choked on her food when she saw his face in the
newspaper. She said he seemed like a decent man;
he liked to run biathlons, and he was even praised
for shooting a rapist while on the job. Another
person said he was the life and soul of the party.
So, let that be a warning to us all. The organized
type of serial killer is often not what you’d
expect. They might be well educated like Ted
Bundy was, or they might hold down good jobs,
have loving families and look like Santa Claus,
like Richard Cottingham, aka, The Butcher of
Times Square. There’s an old saying they have
in Northern England that goes, “There’s nowt so
queer as folk”, meaning, people can be strange,
stranger than they let on. No kidding.
When his daughter was in her late twenties
she didn’t believe he did those things, or
was even strange. When he was behind bars,
she said, “We walked, rode bikes, went to
the shops, and he met me from school. We both
collect model cars, so we have the same hobby.”
She said she wanted to become a criminologist, so
for a long time she read books on serial killers,
their classification, their various signatures,
how they worked, and she knew her pop couldn’t be
a killer. “I do not believe any of this. I always
felt myself as ‘Daddy’s girl,” she said, “Daddy
doesn’t fit any of these classifications – he
doesn’t look like some maniac.”
Looks, as we’ve pointed out, can be deceiving.
Now go watch this, “The Most Evil Person in
the World – The Bikini Killer.” Or, watch this,
“How Serial Killer Profilers
ACTUALLY Catch Serial Killers.”