Alexander Yuryevich "Sasha" Pichushkin (Russian:
Алекса́ндр Ю́рьевич Пичу́шкин,
born 9 April 1974 in Mytishchi, Moscow Oblast), also known as
The Chessboard Killer and The Bitsa Park Maniac, is a
Russian serial killer. He is believed to have killed at least 48
people and up to 61–63 people in southwest Moscow's Bitsa Park,
where several of the victims' bodies were found.
Pichushkin committed his first murder as a student in 1992
and stepped up his crimes in 2001. Russian media have speculated
that Pichushkin may have been motivated by a macabre competition
with Russia's most notorious serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo,
who was convicted in 1992 of killing 52 children and young women
in 12 years. Pichushkin has said his aim was to kill 64 people,
the number of squares on a chessboard. He later recanted this
statement, saying that he would have continued killing
indefinitely if he had not been stopped.
Pichushkin primarily targeted elderly homeless men by luring
them with vodka. After drinking with them, he would kill them,
hitting them on the head with a hammer. He then stuck vodka
bottles in their skulls to ensure that they did not survive. He
also targeted younger men,children and women. He would always
attack from behind to avoid spilling blood on his clothes.
He claimed that while killing people he felt like God as he
decided whether his victims should live or die. "For me, life
without killing is like life without food for you" he once said.
"I felt like the father of all these people, since it was I who
opened the door for them to another world". Experts at the
Serbsky Institute, Russia's main psychiatric clinic, have found
According to the documentary, "Serial Killers", Pichushkin,
once apprehended, led police officers to the scenes of many of
his crimes in Bitsa Park. He demonstrated a keen recollection of
how the murders were committed, often acting them out in great
detail, which has been committed to film. He also revealed that
a number of the murders he committed were not done in his
preferred method (hammer blows to the back of the head), but by
throwing his victims down into the sewers underneath Bitsa Park
(although one of his victims did survive the ordeal).
The murder of Marina Moskalyova, 36, in the summer of 2006,
was his last. When a metro ticket was found in her possession at
the time her body was found, authorities were able to view the
last footage of her alive from surveillance tapes of the Moscow
metro system, where she was walking on the platform accompanied
Trial and imprisonment
He was arrested on 15 June 2006, and convicted on 24 October
2007 of 48 (of 49) murders and three attempted murders. He asked
a Russian court to add an additional 11 victims to his body
count, bringing his claimed death toll to 60 and 3 surviving
victims. During the trial, he was housed in a glass cage. It
took Judge Vladimir Usov an hour to read the verdict: life in
prison with the first 15 years to be spent in solitary
confinement. Capital punishment in Russia has been abolished in
practice due to a moratorium established in 1996.
A Russian Serial Killer
By Yasha Levine - The Exile
March 13, 2008
Alexander Pichushkin, the silver-medal serial killer known as
“The Bittsevsky Park Maniac” recently gave the Russian tabloid
Den an exclusive interview, which we’ve translated for
your reading pleasure. Until today, the man who almost bested
Chikatilo had never been given a free platform to air his views,
thoughts, and opinions to the world. Below, we are reprinting
traslated segments of the interview. But first, here's a little
background on Russia's second most prolific serial murderer:
The 33-year-old balding supermarket shelf stacker was caught
back in June 2006 and charged with 49 murders, all but one
carried out over a five year period, all in Bittsevsky Park, one
of many massive parks in Moscow’s outer districts.
True to the FBI serial killer profile, Pichuskin admitted that
he likes toying with cops. Riskier murders made him feel
powerful, more powerful than the State. During the trial, he
vainly bragged about how he carried out of all the murders.
He usually befriended his victims (he knew 20 of them from
playing chess with them in the park) who varied in age and sex,
by offering them to have a drink of vodka to mourn his dead dog,
which he said he’d buried in a secluded area of Bittsevsky Park.
Like Chikatilo, Pichushkin didn't rape his victims. He got his
sexual kicks from sexual substitution. But unlike Chikatilo, he
wasn't about the slashing and cutting. He was more into skeletal
penetration, skullfucking. After he got his victims wasted, he'd
bash their head in with a hammer, then stick empty vodka bottles
and twigs into the holes he’d made in their skulls. "I liked the
sound of a skull splitting," he told prosecutors. But he mixed
it up a bit: strangling a few of his victims, or even trying out
a homemade single-shooter craftily constructed out a pipe. To
get rid of the corpses, he’d dump the bodies into a sewer wells,
sometimes while they were still alive. Many of the victims were
When the police finally caught Pichushkin, he boasted that he’d
killed 62 people, topping Chikatilo’s body count by 8, making
him Russia's most prolific serial killer. The police could only
link him to 49, denying him this eternal fame. Was he angry? If
the way the way he talked about his lawyer is any indication,
then yes. Read on...
When I was brought to prison, I was not in a good mood . Now
it's gotten better, I have completely adapted. They have ideal
water here. It’s so hot, I even have to dilute it with cold
water. For all the time that I have been here, my hair was cut
only once. Do you know how much time they give me to take a
shower - five whole minutes!
Human life is not too long. It is cheaper than a sausage. My
lawyer: I would cut him open like a fish. I would have killed
him like an insect, and I would receive much pleasure from the
process. I would cut him up and make belts out of his flesh. But
as for remembering everyone I killed, who and when and where,
that, I don’t remember. I don’t even care to remember.
RELIGION & POLITICS
I was baptized when I was three-months old. The baptism took
place, but I did not want it. Well, I do not think that someone
... is there. I can also say that I will not either read the
Bible or write an autobiography. I have never prayed to God,
never will. This is a beautiful fairy tale. For the weak, for
those who sacrifice themselves to the State (Russian government).
Men, as they age, increasingly dream that someone is there who
is all powerful. Well, what is it? As for voting, in all my 33
years, I have never missed a chance to vote.
I have nightmares ... A dog. It lived with me
a long time [he lured his victims by asking them to go mourn at
his dead dog's grave in Bittsevsky Park with a couple of shots
of vodka before smashing their heads in]. She died. It was my
fault. I treated it, how to say, not very ... She could have
been saved. It was a bad situation ... it left something in my
Of course I don't write. Only
of dyev, Russian slang for "girls") write. Journalists too, I
First of all, what is a friend? This is not
someone who gives you one hundred rubles or lets you stay over
for a night ... And secondly, my principle: to the grave, and
that's it. Yes, I received more pleasure from killing people
whom I knew personally. But I also found a way to get to
strangers and that is not easy. Their relatives said that they
would never go somewhere with a stranger. But to me they are
flying, despite the difference in age. A youngster, Koryagin [one
of his victims]... I was leaving the police office and I knew
that everywhere was an ambush, but I remained free. Then I spit
and got caught.
No, I do not regret it. So much strength and time spent. Repent?
I do not repent, this is again a dull formality. It will not
change my sentence. Since I was young I dreamed ... Everything
was different back then. And it all turned out the way I wanted
it to. I knew that they had me nailed when they started pressing
me about 12 victims, but then they all were surprised that I
actually killed 60. I watched a show about me on TV. Denis, my
classmate, told the camera: "When we learned that he had
committed these crimes it was a shock." Others said I was a rare
case - killing just for the sake of killing. There is no
motivation: neither race nor sex nor religion. Even someone
wrote: Pichushkin himself doesn’t know yet that the history of
criminology is changed, that it didn’t account for someone such
as him, that he will go down in history forever ...
I have never watched football. No football, no hockey.
I would like to live in Mexico. First, it is warm there, and
secondly, there are forests. Maybe there I could live in a
different way if I was there...
[After the Tvoi Den reporter told Puchushkin that Mexico doesn’t
have forests, he replied:]
Do you want to tell me there are no jungles? Like Freddy Krueger
said, “Elm Street exists in every city."
'Chessboard killer' gets life
Monday, 29, Oct 2007
A man who claimed to be planning to kill enough people to fill
each square of a chessboard has been sentenced to life
imprisonment in Moscow.
Alexander Pichushkin was convicted last month of 48 murders over
the last 15 years in a park in the Russian capital that lent him
his nickname 'the Bittsa Maniac'.
The 33-year-old had said he planned on killing 64 people – the
number of squares on a chessboard – although he later said that
he would have carried on killing if he had not been caught.
In court today the jury said that there were no mitigating
circumstances in the former shop assistant's murders, and
rejected a plea from defence lawyers, who were seeking a 25-year
jail-term, to clear him of 18 killings.
Pichushkin, who claimed to have murdered more than 60 people,
was said to have battered his victims to death with a hammer
before dumping them in a sewage pit. Many were older homeless
men, who he lured to their deaths with promises of free vodka.
He was caught when his last victim, a woman, left his mobile
phone number with her boyfriend.
In his televised confession the killer said that, for him, "life
without murder is like a life for you without food".
Russia has not executed anyone for 11 years, but the Pichushkin
case has seen calls for the death penalty to be brought back.
Custody for Moscow serial killer extended until
June 07 2007
The Moscow City Court extended, until September 15, the custody
for Alexander Pichushkin, accused of dozens of murders in the
Bitsa Park in southern Moscow.
"As of now, Pichushkin is accused of 49 episodes," a court
The court agreed with prosecutors that, Pichushkin, if at large,
may go into hiding, hamper the investigation or destroy
Also, the crime he has been charged with is particularly
Pichushkin claimed at the hearing that he was "a punctual and
law-abiding citizen, who will immediately turn up for
questioning once the investigator summons him."
The defendant denies his guilt.
Pichushkin was detained on June 16, 2006, with media stories
referring to him as a "Bitsa maniac".
Initially, he was charged with the murder of two women on April
11 and 13, 2006, but Moscow prosecutors later ascertained his
involvement in 46 murders.
Moscow Serial Killer Suspect Charged With 49
Counts of Murder
December 15 2006
Moscow prosecutors have charged Alexander Pichushkin, 32,
nicknamed Bitsa killer by the media in a reference to a locality
where he had allegedly committed his crimes in recent months,
with killing 49 people.
“The man has been detained, arrested and charged on 49 counts of
murder,” a top police official told a news conference organized
by the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
Pichushkin has so far confessed to killing 62 people but
investigators say they do not have sufficient proof to believe
everything he says.
When asked whether the suspect was sane and could be held
responsible for his actions, head of the Interior Ministry’s
criminal investigation department Alexander Kshevitsky said the
man was yet to undergo psychiatric tests but added that the
accused was willing to answer investigators’ questions.
The probe into Pichushkin’s alleged crimes was launched several
months ago. Investigators suspect the man does suffer from a
certain mental disorder after all. At times he is very depressed
and taciturn, at times he is quite cooperative and willing to
talk to investigators, Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote.
Alexander Pichushkin, a loader at a small grocery store in
southwestern Moscow, was arrested in June of this year on
suspicion of killing his colleague. Her body was found in Bitsa
Park in mid-June, a day before his arrest.
Pichushkin confessed to killing the woman and said that he had
planned to kill as many as 64 people.
Serial Killer Confesses to 61 Murders on Russian
July 14 2006
Moscow resident’s confession that he murdered 61 people over 14
years has been broadcast on Russian television, the Guardian
daily reported Friday.
Alexander Pichuzhkin, 32, has told police the murders began when
he was 18. If confirmed, they would make him the bloodiest
serial killer in Russian history. Prosecutors say they cannot
confirm his claims, but some law enforcement sources believe
there is evidence that he may have taken part in at least 18
murders. Andrei Chikatilo, the Rostov Ripper, killed 53 people,
many of them teenagers, in the southern Russian town between
1978 and 1990.
Pichuzhkin’s victims, mostly elderly men and women, were usually
found in Bitsevsky park, a patch of dense woodland in southern
Moscow. Most of them — up to ten since September — had been
beaten to death. The Russian media has given grisly details of
the murders, including one in which a woman reportedly had
little sticks inserted into her eyes.
Pichuzhkin said in a police video of the confession, broadcast
on Russia’s NTV channel: “In reality, the Bitsevsky Maniac, as I
was called — it’s me.”
He said he had committed 60 murders “all on Bitsevsky park’s
territory. The first was in 1992 ... it was my college mate.” He
claimed to be able to tell investigators details of the killings
of which they were unaware, and that he knew 20 of the people he
had murdered. “If they [the police] had not caught me, I would
never have stopped,” he said.
He claimed that in February another man was arrested for the
murders. “I was simply hurt, my work attributed to someone
else.” A police source told the Guardian that Pichuzhkin claimed
to have disposed of the bodies of 44 victims in the sewer
Bodies of 2 More Pensioners Turn Up in Bittsevsky
July 09 2006
Police said Friday that the bodies of two elderly men were
recently found in Bittsevsky Park, indicating that a suspect
arrested in late June may not be the serial killer linked to
more than a dozen attacks in the park since December.
The latest victims died after being repeatedly struck on the
head -- the trademark style of the so-called Bittsevsky Maniac,
a police spokesman said. Police found the bodies in the
southwestern Moscow park on June 30, several days after the
The spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he
was not authorized to discuss the case, said that despite the
latest deaths, investigators were continuing to investigate
Alexander Pichuzhkin, 32, who was arrested June 15 on suspicion
of killing two women in Bittsevsky Park several days earlier.
Investigators have said Pichuzhkin confessed to killing 69
people. "Why should investigators suspend the investigation if
Pichuzhkin is continuing to cooperate?" the spokesman said.
Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Friday that the investigation into
Pichuzhkin had been suspended after the latest deaths.
The spokesman refused to provide details about the latest
Pichuzhkin is charged with killing two women in a Bittsevsky-area
grocery store where he once worked as a loader.
Most targets of the other attacks in the park have been elderly
men, suggesting that police have yet to track down the real
source close to the investigation has said that Pichuzhkin is
mentally unstable and might be claiming to be guilty of crimes
he did not commit.
The hunt for the killer has been problematic. On Feb. 20, police
shot and injured an apparently innocent man while combing the
park for the killer. About 200 officers were deployed there
after police received a tip that a man resembling the killer had
been spotted. The officers detained a suspect, but he pulled out
a knife and managed to break free from his handcuffs. He then
tried to flee. Police shot the man in the leg, and he was
Loner confesses to being Russia’s ‘Chessboard
June 25 2006
police manhunt in a Moscow park where 16 bodies have turned up
in the last nine months has ended with the arrest of a man who
could turn out to be the most prolific serial killer in Russian
The suspect, a 32-year-old shop assistant who lives with his
mother, has been nicknamed “the Chessboard Killer” since his
self-confessed aim was to murder 64 people, one for every square
on a chessboard.
According to his own account, which is being painstakingly
checked by the police, he managed to murder “only” 61 people
over 15 years, three short of his target.
He was said to be particularly “excited” by the sight of crushed
skulls and to have sometimes used a hammer to kill.
Identified only as Aleksander P for legal reasons, the man
claims to have been consciously trying to surpass the number of
victims notched up by the former Soviet Union’s most infamous
serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo.
Chikatilo, known as “the Rostov Ripper” or as “the Russian
Hannibal Lecter” raped, mutilated, murdered, and indulged in
cannibalism. He is estimated to have killed 52 women and
children between 1978 and 1990.
Newspaper cuttings relating to Chikatilo were found in a search
of Aleksander P’s flat, as was a chessboard; 61 of its 64
squares were reportedly crossed through, the number of victims
he claims to have murdered. Police also found a large stash of
pornography, much of it violent, though there is no evidence
that he raped his victims.
The shop assistant, an alcoholic loner reported to have never
had any friends or girlfriends, has been quoted by the Russian
media as telling police he killed for sport.
“It was all the same to me who I killed. I killed for the sake
of the process itself. And, for the record, I wanted to kill as
many people as possible and to beat Chikatilo’s record.”
He was arrested after a massive police manhunt for a serial
killer – 16 bodies have been found in the last nine months in
Bitsevsky Park in southwest Moscow.
The killer followed what became a familiar pattern, striking his
victims with a heavy object around the back of the head after
drinking alcohol with them.
Many of those he killed were elderly men and the murderer did
not kill for financial gain, never taking money or belongings.
His calling card was some form of mutilation. He often punctured
his victims’ lifeless skulls once or twice with the murder
weapon after they were dead.
Police got their big break after finding the body of a
35-year-old woman in a river at Bitsevsky Park earlier this
The woman later turned out to have worked in the same shop as
Aleksander P. She had suffered several blows to her head and
small wooden stakes had been driven through her eyes and into
It later transpired that she had gone for a stroll in the park
with Aleksander P that was to be her last. Crucially, she had
left a note for her 15-year-old son beforehand, telling him
where she had gone and with whom.
She had even written down Aleksander P’s telephone number which
allowed the police to arrest him soon afterwards.
Police say they are 100% sure that he killed the woman but
whether Aleksander P really is Russia’s most prolific serial
killer remains unclear.
Though the authorities seem sure that he has murdered at least
10 victims they have yet to gather sufficient proof to back up
his sensational claim that he has killed 61 people. He has been
taken back to Bitsevsky Park where he has successfully
pinpointed where he buried some of his victims but the police
are nowhere near recovering 61 bodies and in some cases have
found only skulls.
There is also a question mark over Aleksander’s sanity, with
reports that he has done a stint in a home for the
Under interrogation, he is said to sometimes become “hysterical”
and parts of his confession are said to be vague and confusing,
stoking police suspicions that he might be deliberately
exaggerating the number of people he has killed, for effect.
Prosecutor’s office brings charges against
suspected serial killer
June 24 2006
MOSCOW, June 24 (Itar-Tass) -- The Moscow prosecutor’s office on
Friday brought formal charges against a serial killer suspect.
“The evidence gathered so far proved enough to accuse the man,
Alexander Pichushkin, of committing at least two murders,” the
prosecutor’ s office said.
Police detectives are now probing into the man’s complicity in
other similar crimes to find out whether he is really the one
whom the general public has dubbed ‘the Bitsevo park maniac.’
Pichushkin was detained on June 14 after years of investigation
into several dozen identical murders committed in the area of
the Bitsevo Park, in the city’s southwest.
Suspected Moscow killer leads prosecutors to
June 23 2006
MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti ) - An alleged serial killer
arrested Sunday on suspicion of committing several murders in
southern Moscow led prosecutors to the remains of an
unidentified man he had confessed to slaying, prosecutors said
Alexander Pichuzhkin is suspected of killing at least ten people
in the Bitsa Park area since 2000. Prosecutors said the latest
discovery adds another victim to the toll.
According to forensic specialists taking part in the
investigation, most of the victims found in the park were killed
with a blow on the head. The latest such murder was committed as
recently as June 15.
Earlier Friday, law-enforcement officials said Pichuzhkin had
admitted to eight killings and that he would be subjected to a
psychiatric examination to assess his sanity.
“Crazy Chess Player” Serial Killer Confesses to
June 21 2006
serial killer detained in Moscow has confessed to killing 61
people of the 64 he was planning to kill — one murder for each
of the chessboard checks.
Alexander Pichushkin, 32, a shop assistant, has claimed to be
the notorious Bitsa Park serial killer, who Moscow police have
been tracking down for more than half a year, Kommersant daily
Pichushkin, who has already been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player”,
said he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each
of the chessboard checks. He also said there were three checks
vacant, thus admitting to have killed 61.
However the police have found only 14 bodies in the Bitsa Park
in the suburbs of Moscow, and the investigators doubt the
detainee’s testimony, since he cannot remember where he had hid
the rest 47 corpses.
Pichushkin was detained on June 18, on suspicions of killing his
co-worker whose body was found in a spring in the park. He
admitted his guilt and gave to the police the hammer he had
killed the woman with.
Another Chikatilo who killed 66 people arrested
June 19, 2006
Chikatilo, the most notorious serial killer, killed 53 people.
However, Alexander P., a 32-year-old Muscovite, has beaten
Chikatio’s “black record.” He has killed at least 66 people.
When detained after his last crime he told the police stories of
all his previous crimes that happened in Bitsev park in the
south of Moscow. His words shocked the police.
When Alexander told the police that he had killed 14 people in
Bitsev park they didn’t believe him. Firstly they thought that
he was telling the story against himself but then he told them
the place of his another crime and they found a skull there.
Alexander spoke in detail about his 52 murders. All of them were
of the same scenario: he approached his victims from behind and
attacked people with an iron bar. He liked to listen to the
sound of crashing skull bone and see the agony of his victims.
According to Alexander’s neighbors he was a quiet man, but then
he changed completely.
“He would leave his flat every morning and come back only in the
evening. He was as drunk as a fish and fell down near his door”
– says Lubov Volkov, one of his neighbors.
Alexander’s father left the family when his son was only 9
months old. Alexander was brought up by his mother and
“I grew up together with Alexander. We had common friends and
spent a lot of time together. Once when we were 15 years old the
boys beat him and after that he became withdrawn and aloof,” –
says Lubov Volkov’s son.
Neighbors couldn’t even imagine that Alexander is accessorial to
the most violent recent crimes. Now they are raving that the
death penalty is canceled.
Alexander’s mother refuses to comment. She cries and tells
neighbors that her son is innocent.
Alexander has never been married. He has never been spotted with
a woman. However, the police found plenty of porn films in his
room. It shows that he was interested in sex, especially in
Michail Vinogradov, psychiatrist and criminal law expert, says
that Alexander most probably has serious problems with psyche.
Perhaps, he has an early stage of schizophrenia. During most
tender, fragile period of his life, when he was 15, he became
very lonesome. He can’t interact with women. He wants them but
is afraid of them. Alexander had no friends and his relationship
with relatives was also far from being perfect. All these
factors made him hate the society and violate all of its norms
Alexander has been drinking for a long time. Alcohol helped him
forget his failures. But when he was sober he felt much lonelier
staying alone together with his fears. It is very difficult for
such a man to assert himself. The crimes that he has committed
made him feel more confident. The more he was killing the more
confident he was growing of his future crimes. When he was
committing the crimes he was gaining sexual satisfaction from
Russian police arrest suspect in serial killings
June 19, 2006
First there was The Wolf of Moscow in the 1920s, then The Rostov
Ripper in the 1980s.
Now Russian police say that they have arrested a man suspected
of being the Bitsevsky Maniac, possibly the most prolific serial
killer in post-Soviet Russia.
They believe that the man has murdered at least ten of sixteen
people, mostly pensioners and homeless people, found dead in
Bitsevsky Park in Moscow since October last year.
But they say that the case could turn out to be even more
gruesome than that of Andrei Chikatilo, The Rostov Ripper, who
killed 53 teenagers and children in southern Russia between 1978
“The suspect is being questioned and is giving evidence,” the
press service of the Interior Ministry said. “By all accounts
the case will be far more serious than the widely publicised
case of the maniac Chikatilo.”
Police gave no further details, but one Russian newspaper
reported that the man, identified only as Aleksandr, had
confessed to killing as many as 60 people since the 1980s. His
arrest on Friday followed the discovery on Wednesday of the
latest victim, a well-dressed young woman, in Bitsevsky Park, a
huge patch of dense forest in southwest Moscow.
The Russian media, which have provided graphic coverage of the
murders, reported that she had been hit on the head with a heavy
object and stabbed in the eyeballs with small wooden stakes.
Most of the previous victims were elderly local men who were
killed by a blow to the head from behind, but they were never
robbed of their money, possessions or documents.
Police believe that the killer would invite his victims to drink
vodka with him in the park before attacking them when their
backs were turned.
Russian newspapers, quoting police sources, said that the
suspect was 32, lived near the park and worked in a local
supermarket with the woman whose body was found on Wednesday.
He was caught because the woman had left a message for her son,
saying that she was going for a walk in the park with Alesksandr
to visit his dog’s grave. She also wrote down his mobile phone
The Moscow prosecutor’s office suggested that he would be
charged only with her murder, and may not have committed the
others. But Moscow police, under pressure to find the killer,
continue to trumpet the capture of a man who has repeatedly
evaded them and terrorised the neighbourhood around the park.
The arrest followed several failed attempts to catch the
murderer. One suspect was a transvestite who kept a hammer in a
handbag, but that person had an alibi for the recent killings.
Chikatilo, the Soviet Union’s most prolific serial killer, was
arrested in 1990, condemned to death and executed in 1994.
Before him the country’s most notorious serial killer was
Vassily Komarov, a horse dealer, who was known as The Wolf of
Moscow, who killed 33 people in the 1920s.