(The Youtube video above is in Russian, but auto-translated English subtitles are available in the settings.)
Unfortunately, Russia’s seen its share of brutal serial killers. For example, in the 1980’s, Russia suffered terror at the hands of Andrei Chikatilo. Known as the “Butcher of Rostov”, Chikatilo was convicted of 53 murders and sentenced to death.
Shortly after, Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, a.k.a the “Chessboard Killer”, followed Chikatilo’s reign of terror by infamously killing 49 people between 1992 and 2006.
How does a madman top the “Butcher of Rostov” or the “Chessboard Killer”? Well, with a werewolf of course.
The most recent madman to take his place in the Russian serial killer record book is Mikhail Popkov, known as the “Werewolf” for the cruelty by which he dispatched his victims.
Popkov was convicted this year of murdering 22 people, with dozens more still under investigation and set to go to trial next year. Altogether, Popkov may be responsible for 61 or more deaths, surpassing Chikatilo.
Mikhail Popkov was a former police officer in Russia. Well-liked, he was known to give people rides when they needed help. Unfortunately, for some, that ride would be their last. His victims had no idea they were in the midst of “the Werewolf” serial killer.
Although Popkov was married and had a daughter, he began killing after suspecting his wife was having an affair. With a feeling of betrayal in his heart, he went out at night in search of victims who he believed were being unfaithful; subsequently slaughtering them like cattle.
Reportedly, “the Werewolf” killer cut the heart from one victim and beheaded another. Grisly, visual poetry of a madman, who had apparently lost his humanity at the suspected betrayal of his wife. Popkov’s wife claims she never had an affair, insisting a neighbor came over with his date.
Popkov claims to have quit his murder spree back in 2000; some 12 years before his arrest.
We don’t know if there’s more (fur and teeth perhaps) to Popkov’s clever moniker beyond a way for the media to sensationalize the murders and sell more papers. However, with the savagery in which he ravaged people, one could argue that maybe it was a bit of both.