Bitsa Park near Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, is a long dark forest full of trees and streams. It is a favorite spot among cross-country skiers in winter. It stretches from Balaklavsky Prospekt at the northern end to MKAD, a multilane beltway encircling Moscow four miles to the south. The park is huge at over 2,700 acres. (New York’s Central Park covers 843.) Around it, tens of thousands of people live in old, rusty apartment blocks. Many people call this part of Moscow “the donkey of the world”. That area was so boring and rough.
In 2001 – 2002, people started disappearing from the outskirts of this park. Most were elderly or retired men. No one noticed this at first. At other times, people waited for three days and then reported to the police. But the police, known for serving liquor and bribes, did not take any action.
As the disappearances increased, the relatives of the missing came together, but they were helpless as the authorities were unwilling to do anything. They exchanged the information they knew. They wondered about Leoses, Nicholas and Victors who were missing at that time.
“He found work in Khimki”
“He’s an alcoholic”
“Maybe he’s dead”
“Could it have been killed by an escaped mental hospital near the park?”
“It’s the Chechens”
“Behind it is the Mafia”
Rumors of this kind were spreading about the missing persons.
By 2003, the number of missing people was around thirty. Some of the missing were relatives. Some were friends, others lived in adjacent apartments, and many knew each other.
No one expected any significant action in this regard.
Shouldn’t the bodies be found if the missing have been killed? As it was never obtained, everything was left to people’s speculations. People began to suspect each other that one of them was behind it all.
Meanwhile, some other events took place. One of them was a young man who tried to kill a woman, and a man tried to kill a teenager. But the authorities did not care.
In November 2005, a 63-year-old ex-policeman named Nikolai Zakharchenko was found dead in the woods. Sakharchenko’s case was the first to be determined beyond doubt as murder. The most important fact about Nikolai Zakharchenko is that he was the forty-first victim. That means at least forty people have disappeared before this. Then detectives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office began to realize that there was a serial killer in Moscow. The missing victims were also suspected victims of the killer.
Says serial-killer expert Alexander Bukhanovsky. “Before perestroika the police system here was good, there was order. It was clearer and more effective. Now the police don’t know much.”
The Home Ministry took up the case after bodies were found in the forest. People like Andrei Zuprunenko, who actually knew how to track down serial killers, started looking for him.
Sakharchenko’s death was a turning point for the killer.
Starting with Sakharchenko, the police began in early 2006 to gather information linking the disappeared people in the city and on the snow-covered boulevards. By this time terror had begun to ripple through the apartment blocks and metro stations surrounding the park, which was considered a haunted place. Children were not allowed to enter the forest. People walked by talking about hearing cries and screams echoing through the trees. This park in southern Moscow has become viral on the Internet with stories about an invisible monster. Bitzewski then entered the Park Maniac lexicon, national attention, and global news.
At first the authorities only thought that people were missing, but after they started finding bodies, the police soon realized that murder was the secret behind the disappearances. The whole area was filled with detectives and detectives. But only the killer was not found.
One day a doctor was walking with his dog along a stream when he saw one of the pack of wild dogs running away with a bone. Being a doctor, he quickly realized that it belonged to a man. During the subsequent search, the body of a person was found on the bank of the stream in an unrecognizable condition. However, the police could not reach the killer.
In June 2006, 36-year-old Marina Moskalyova, who works in a shop, decided to go for a walk in the park with her co-worker, Pichushkin. Larissa Kulygina, a young woman who worked with her a few days ago, suddenly disappeared. So she was afraid to go to the park, but she agreed to go to the place where Pichushkin’s dog was buried because he said it was the anniversary of his death. Before she left, she wrote her son a note saying she was with Pichushkin and gave him Pichushkin’s phone number.
After some time, the child was upset without seeing his mother. He called Pichushkin and Pichushkin said he had not seen his mother. But the boy became suspicious and informed his father and then called the police.
Moskaliova’s body was found on June 14, 2006 in Bitsa Park. On Moskalyova’s clothes was a ticket from which she had traveled by metro train. An examination of CCTV footage from the station where she bought the ticket also revealed footage of her walking on the platform with Pichushkin hours before her death. This was the moment the police were looking for. Pichushkin was arrested on June 16, 2006. Cops, detectives and forensic experts turned his residence upside down. There they found many evidences. One of the surprises was a log book. It was a chess board. It contained the names of the people he had killed. 62 Names. But the 2 people he thought he killed had escaped.
Alexander Pichushkin was born on April 3, 1974 in Moscow. Alexander’s father left the family when his son was only 9 months old. Alexander was raised by his mother and grandfather. Very energetic and brilliant, Pichushkin’s life turned upside down due to an accident at the age of four. While swinging in the park, Pichushkin fell from the swing and the seat of the swing hit him hard in the front of the head. A part of Pichushkin’s brain, called the frontal cortex, was severely damaged in that one blow. After this one accident, Pichushkin became an introvert and began to show violent behavior for no reason. Because of this, Alexander Pichushkin was really isolated at school.
When he was 15, he was attacked by a group of students. This is also believed to have led to the growth of animosity towards society and humans in general.
Just then Pichushkin’s grandfather comes home to see him. Grandfather realized that Pichushkin was an intelligent child, although he was bad at learning. The boy took Grandfather Pichushkin to his house. There he taught Pichushkin to play chess. Alexander Pichushkin tried to forget all his anger and sadness by playing chess. And so Pichushkin and his grandfather lived happily ever after.
But that happiness did not last long. As if that was the end of Pichushkin’s happy life, his grandfather left his life. That death left Pichushkin completely paralyzed. He returned from his grandfather’s house to his house. He went back to his old loneliness. His pet dog was a small relief from this loneliness. Times have passed. One day his pet dog also died. Pichushkin was completely alone.
Pichushkin lived on Kersamkia Street in Moscow. He lived in an apartment that was a six-minute walk from the northern end of Bitsa Park. The two-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor was occupied by the mother, Natalia Elmoradovna, with her younger half-sister, her husband, and their son.
Pichushkin had gone to play chess in Bitsa Park. He played chess mostly with old people. During this period he took up bullying children as a hobby. He had videotaped children hanging upside down, scaring them away, etc. He watched these videos repeatedly to reaffirm his strength, but this never satisfied his murderous urges.
Pichushkin committed his first murder on July 27, 1992, when he was 18 years old. At this time, the country was going through violent situations following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Pichushkin informed his classmate Mikhail Odichuk that he had prepared a plan to kill 64 people one by one, and invited him to join him.
There was another reason why he chose 64, the number of squares on a chess board. Andrei Chikatilo ( Andrei Chikatilo ) was another terrible serial killer not only in Russia but in the world . He had killed 53 people during that period. Pichushkin was a fan of Chikatilo. He was arrested two years ago (in 1990) in Chikatilo. Pichushkin’s goal was to surpass Chikatilo’s kill number of 53.
Thinking it was a joke, Odichuk agreed to the plan. On July 27, 1992, Odichuk met Pichushkin in the vicinity of Bitsevsky (Bitsa) Park in Moscow, the site of the planned murder. However, when they reached the meeting point, he realized that Pichushkin was not joking and told Pichushkin that he did not want to go any further.
Sensing that his best friend was teasing him, Pichushkin took a hammer out of his bag and struck Odichuk twenty times in the head, killing him. After Odichuk died, Pichushkin buried his body near the sewers in Bitsa Park. Bitsa then returned to her mother’s apartment, about a five-minute walk from the park.
On July 28, 1992, Odichuk’s body was found near the sewers of Bitsa Park. Muscovite police launched an investigation into the murder and identified the body as that of 18-year-old Mikhail Odichuk, who lived in Moscow. According to eyewitnesses’ statements to the police, Odychuk was last seen walking in the direction of Bitsa Park with Alexander Pichushkin.
On July 30, 1992, Pichushkin was arrested at his mother’s home and taken to the premises of a Moscow police station for questioning. When asked about his whereabouts at the time of Odichuk’s death, Pichushkin confirmed that he had been with Odichuk three days earlier, but claimed that he had left Odichuk at the park to be with his mother and sister.
After several hours of questioning, Russian police found no evidence linking Pichushkin to Odichuk’s death. Thus Pichushkin left the police station and returned to his mother’s house without any charges against him.
In September 1992, 18-year-old neighbor Olga rejected Pichushkin’s love. She rejected the relationship with Pichushkin because he was in a relationship with his friend Sergei. Enraged by Olga’s rejection of him, Pichushkin goes to Sergey’s apartment and throws him out the window. Sergey was found dead after falling from a height of several meters. The case is believed to have been committed by Pichushkin, but has not been confirmed, and the police investigation ruled Sergey’s death a suicide.
In October 1992, Pichushkin temporarily stopped killing. Just this month, Andrei Chikatilo’s trial ended and he was sentenced to death. It has been suggested that Pichushkin was afraid of Chikatilo’s execution and did not want to carry out the execution.
In 1996, Russia imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. This rekindled Pichushkin’s interest in murder, and that year he began to take up bodybuilding. He decided to get fat because he wanted to become the most skilled serial killer in Russia.
Maria Viricheva was one of the few who was lucky enough to survive Pichushkin. She was a merchant. He made her believe that he had stolen cameras in his possession. He informed that it was kept in a well near the park. On February 23, 2002, she went to the well with him only to see the trick without realizing it. He asked to lean in. Pichushkin pushed the pregnant Maria Viricheva into the well.
She did not fall down and lay down on the edge of the well. He grabbed her hair and repeatedly slammed her head against the concrete walls. With that, she fell into the well. Believing her to be dead, he left. She wasn’t dead, she climbed up the other side. But she could not come out because the well was covered. Fortunately, a woman heard her cries and saved her from a miscarriage. She reached a hospital and told the police about the attack.
The police asked for Viricheva’s registration papers. Millions of Russian citizens live illegally in Moscow; Viricheva was one such person. Viricheva said that she did not have any papers. The cops said they would ignore her “illegal residence” if she kept quiet about the attack. So Viricheva remained silent. She did not pursue the case.
Another survivor was teenager Mikhail Lobov. On March 10, 2002, Pichushkin brought him to Bitsa Park with the promise of cigarettes and vodka. There he hit him on the head and pushed him into the well. Pichushkin left the place thinking that the child was dead. Fortunately, Lobov’s jacket caught on a piece of metal inside the well, and the hook saved him from falling into the icy water. He somehow managed to get out. Days later, the boy showed Pichushkin to a policeman at a metro station. But the policeman was not prepared to take the words of children like this at face value. He did not bother to catch Pichushkin. This time too he escaped.
“The Era of the Sewers” (May 2001-September 2005)
Pichushkin started killing again in May 2001 after a nine-year hiatus. At that time he was working in a supermarket in Moscow.
On May 17, 2001, Pichushkin was playing chess with 52-year-old Yevgeny Pronin in Bitsa Park. At the end of the chess game, Pichushkin invites Pron to join him because it is the anniversary of his dog’s death and he wants to visit the dog’s grave in Bitsa Park.
Pronin followed him to a secluded area in Bitsa Park, whereupon Pichushkin gave Pronin a bottle of vodka. They made a toast to the dog, after which Pichushkin hit Pron over the head with a bottle of vodka. When Pronin died, Pichushkin threw his body into a nearby well.
On November 15, 2003, Pachushkin invited his neighbor Konstantin Polikarpov for a drink in Bitsa Park. There they hit him three times on the head with a hammer and took him to the well. Again, thinking his victim was dead, he left. Polikarpov miraculously survived and got out, but he suffered a head injury and could not remember anything about the attack. This time, time gave the killer another opportunity to move forward.
Between May 2001 and September 2005, Pichushkin assaulted thirty-six victims; Three of his victims escaped with injuries as stated above. (Detailed list is given at the end)
Pichushkin would approach his victim in the park. Most of them were homeless people. Pichushkin used to befriend the unimaginative old men who were sleeping on the side of the road by giving them alcohol, taking them to secluded places and then beheading them to death and leaving them in ditches.
About 20 of the victims had played chess with him. After drinking, the victim is usually killed by hitting the back of the skull with a hammer or bottle. He always attacked from behind to avoid getting blood on his clothes. The pleasure he got from killing made Pichushkin think of killing people more brutally. Thus he arrived at a style of killing that he later called the “Pychushkin signature style” . Pichushkin used to pick up people pretending to be friendly, hit them from behind with a hammer, make a hole in their skull with a hammer and smash a bottle of vodka into it.
After the murder, he pushed his victims into the sewer. The sewage was treated five kilometers below. By the time they got there, the bodies would have decomposed and become unrecognizable. Often it does not reach there. Therefore, the remains of many victims have not been found. In some cases only the skull was found. All the dead were poor and ordinary people, so neither the police nor the sewage treatment authorities were ready to investigate further. This one circumstance further delayed his capture.
After killing 46-year-old Yuri Kuznetsov on September 28, 2005, Pichushkin stopped burying bodies in the park’s sewers and instead began leaving them in the open. Tired of the serial murders, the press had given up on him. Pichushkin was enraged by this, and after his actions were discovered, corpses began to be found in various parts of the park, prompting a confrontation with the police. According to the FBI serial killer profile, Pichuskin admitted that he liked to play with the cops.
One night he was watching TV with his mother and sister when there was a report on the TV about the Bitzewski Park killer. His sister exclaimed: “This madman, he is so attractive. who is he?” Pichushkin worked hard to earn his keep. He wanted to say that she was sitting next to him.
“Open Period” (October 2005-June 2006)
As Pichushkin later put it:
“The fact that the victims disappeared was not enough to satisfy me; I needed more emotion”.
That is, he wanted everyone to know and discuss that the victims were killed.
He started targeting minor boys, women and children. Ten of his victims lived in the same four-building complex that he lived in.
After his arrest, he claimed that when he was about to kill people, he decided whether his victims would live or die, and that he felt like God on that occasion.
“In every case I killed for a reason. I killed to live, because when you kill you want to live”
Another time he said this.
“To me, a life without killing is like a life without food for you. I felt like the father of all these people because I opened the door to another world for them.”
According to neighbors, “He was calm, but then he completely changed. He leaves the flat every morning and returns only in the evening. He could be seen lying by the door, drunk like a fish” – says one of his neighbors, Lubov Volkov.
Alexander Pichushkin, never married. No one has ever seen him with a woman. But the police recovered many porn images from his room. This shows that he was interested in sex, especially violent sex.
Psychiatrist and criminal law expert Michael Vinogradov says Pichushkin has serious mental problems. Perhaps he has early stages of schizophrenia. During the tenderest and most vulnerable period of his life, at the age of 15, he became very lonely. He cannot interact with women. He wants them, but fears them. Alexander Pichushkyk had no friends, and his relations with relatives were far from perfect. All these factors made him hate the society and break all its norms and rules.
According to the charge sheet submitted by the police in the court, Pichushkin was charged with 49 murders and 3 attempted murders. But Pichushkin denied it in court. He insisted that he had committed 60 murders, not 49. He told the court that he only needed 4 kills to reach his goal. Pichushkin said that even if he reached 64 murders, he would have killed more people if he had not been stopped.
Judge Vladimir Usov took an hour to read the verdict: the first 15 years in prison in solitary confinement.
In late 2007, Pichushkin claimed his sentence was “too harsh” and asked for it to be reduced to 25 years. His lawyer warned that the appeal was unlikely to succeed, but Pichushkin “forced” it. The appeal failed.
In 2016, a woman known as Natalia visited him and the two reportedly got married. Pichushkin spends his days in solitary confinement at the Arctic penal colony “Polar Owl”. It is thought that he will never come out.
- July 27, 1992: Mikhail Odichuk, 18
May 17: Yevgeny Pronin, 52
- May 23: Vyacheslav Klimov, 64
- June 22: “Yuri” (unidentified)
- June 26: Nikolai Tikhomirov
- June 29: Nikolai Filippov, 72
- July 2: Oleg Lvov, 49
- July 13: Gennady Safonov, 61
- July 14: Sergei Pavlov, 44
- July 20: Viktor Elistratov, 45
- July 21: Viktor Volkov, 54
- July 26: Andrei Konovaltsev, 22
- January 29: Andrei Veselovsky, 42
- February 13: Yuri Chumakov, 48
- February 23: Maria Viricheva, 19 (survived)
- February 27, 2002: Vera Zakharova, 48
- March 7: Boris Nesterov, 46
- March 8: Alexey Fedorov, 41
- March 10: Mikhail Lobov, 14 (survived)
- August 24: German Chervyakov, 43
- September 13: Nikolai Ilyinsky, 40
- September 25: Vyacheslav Minayev
- September 30: Sergei Fedorov, 42
- November 2: Alexey Pushkov, 46
- November 12: Valery Dolmatov
- March 13: Alexey Fatkullin, 72
- March 27: Viktor Ilyin
- April 4: Igor Kashtanov, 62
- April 6: Oleg Boyarov
- May 10: Vasily Stanovoy, 40
- May 12: Sergei Chudin, 45
- August 30, 2003: Yegor Kudryavtsev
- October 14: Vladimir Fomin
- November 14: Vladimir Fedosov, 44
- November 15: Konstantin Polikarpov, 31 (survived)
- February 22, 2005: Peter Dudukin, 57
- June 8: Andrei Maslov, 40
- September 28: Yuri Kuznetsov, 46
- October 15: Nikolai Vorobyov, 31
- November 16: Nikolai Zakharchenko, 63
- November 21: Oleg Lavrienko, 36
- November 28: Vladimir Dudukin, 73
- December 6: Nikolai Koryagin, 72
- December 16: Viktor Soloviev, 49
- December 19: Boris Grishin, 64
- December 26: Alexander Lyovochkin, 51
- February 27: Yuri Romashkin, 55
- March 4: Stepan Vasilenko, 68
- March 24: Makhmud Joldoshev, 24
- April 12: Larissa Kulygina, 48
- June 14: Marina Moskalyova, 36
- Unspecified date in 1992: Sergei (surname unrevealed)
- Unspecified date in 2002: Olga (surname unrevealed)
- Note: Pichushkin claimed to have murdered 60 people in total.