Olga Astafyeva with all her EF awards from nationals!


The Belinsky Cannibal

Alexander Vladimirovich Bychkov is a Russian serial killer convicted of the murders of nine men in Belinsky, Penza Oblast, between 2009 and 2012.

Bychkov, who referred to himself as “Rambo”, was so infuriated by homeless people and street alcoholics that he would lure them to either his home, or a deserted area, and murder them with a hammer or knife. He would then dismember the corpses and bury the remains in both his backyard and the city’s rubbish dump.

Bychkov was only 24 years old when he was caught, he was arrested after he broke into a hardware store to steal knives. Police found in his home a personal diary in which he called himself a “lone wolf”, and claimed to be responsible for 11 murders. In the diary he also wrote that he began to murder after being kicked out by his girlfriend, his motivation to kill was a desire to impress her.

Whilst being questioned by police, he admitted to eating the livers, hearts and muscles of his victims.

Bychkov was diagnosed with mixed personality disorder but declared mentally competent to stand trial. He was found guilty of nine murders and a burglary. The bodies of two other victims mentioned in the diary were never found.

On March 22nd, 2013, Bychkov was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Penza Oblast Court.


Russia’s Student Championships are taking place this week. It’s sort of related to Universiade, but isn’t really a trial, so don’t worry about Nabs’s absence.

I’ll post results if they pop up, but obviously Elizarova, Dmitrieva, Spiridonova, and Shelgunova competed. Dasha’s just never going to get a break, lol.


A court in Russia’s Penza region has sentenced 24-year-old serial killer Alexander Bychkov to life in prison for nine murders. In 2012, Bychkov was caught shoplifting and confessed to police that there were six bodies buried in his yard. According to authorities, Bychkov said he ate the hearts and livers of two victims, but this was not proven.

Bychkov’s motivation was a desire to impress a girlfriend who broke up with him. In his diary, Bychkov wrote ”she said I was a wimp, not a wolf … I will show her … Maybe she will stop complaining and understand that I am a lone wolf.” There are no police records to indicate whether the girlfriend changed her mind about Bychkov, who sometimes referred to himself as Rambo.

While trying to be more like a wolf, Bychkov went after easy prey. He mainly killed the homeless, whom he found disgusting. Murdering the homeless and street alcoholics is a common thread among Russian serial killers. Most famously, Andrei Chikatilo would lure homeless women and prostitutes to secluded areas by promising them booze or money. Alexander Spetsivtsev used his mother to invite homeless children and teenagers to their apartment for food, then kill and dismember them. Alexander Pichushkin, nicknamed the Chessboard Killer because he aimed to kill 62 people, one for every square on a chess board, offered vodka to the elderly homeless. He’d drink with them before killing them in various brutal ways.

In addition to the six bodies found in his yard, Bychkov was found guilty of three more murders and sentenced to life in prison.


Alexander Bychkov : The Cannibal who ate 11 People to impress his Girlfriend                  

The investigation of the criminal case, the materials of which can shock even those with nerves of steel. Twenty-three-year-old cannibal Alexander Bychkov is accused of killing at least nine people. The perpetrator was gutting corpses and eating the insides to impress his girlfriend.

The cannibal was killing homeless people. According to investigation, the killings and cannibalistic feasts were taking place presumably in the Penza region. The insane killer buried the remains of half-eaten corpses near the town of Belinsky, in the south-west of the region. To kill the homeless, the murderer used a common kitchen knife. Human remains were indeed uncovered at places of burial during investigation. “In two cases, after the murder he separated the heart from the body to eat the human heart later,” law- enforcement officers said. It was also reported that the perpetrator was eating the livers of his victims too.

The perpetrator “formed a negative attitude towards the people, who abused alcohol and lead a beggary, roguish lifestyle,” experts said.

The cannibal would conduct meticulous preparations for his crimes. He carefully scrutinized criminal literature. Alexander Bychkov “developed a criminal plan, prepared a weapon and studied the examples of similar crimes committed by serial killers.” He also mastered “various strategies and methods to conceal crime traces, including the bodies of the victims.”

In January 2012, Alexander Bychkov broke a window of a hardware store, from which he stole money, kitchen knives and other items in the total sum of about 10,000 rubles ($300). The man was caught; police began to question him about the theft. However, the thief suddenly began to tell officers about the corpses, which he buried behind his house. The cannibal’s diary of crimes was found in his home. The man described all his crimes in detail. According to his records, Alexander Bychkov had killed 11 people, but the remains of two victims have not been found yet.

The cannibal was reading crime novels and watching crime TV shows. He was committing the crimes only during warm months. Alexander Bychkov grew up in a dysfunctional family and was brought up by single mother. His childhood was difficult. The boy grew up and became a cowardly, but a cruel young man. Psychologists say that Bychkov was committing atrocities to gain credibility in the eyes of his girlfriend, Svetlana. According to local newspapers, he said that the killings instilled self-confidence in him. He stopped being shy with his girlfriend, who would often criticize him for his softness and call him a doormat.

According to lawyers, if found sane, Bychkov may well expect a life sentence. Psychiatrist, PhD, Igor Yanushev, told Pravda.Ru: “Such shocking crimes occur on a regular basis, even in much more socially advantaged countries than Russia. Foreign cannibals can be much more sophisticated in their perverted crimes than Russian ones.

In Russia, believe me, cannibalism is much more prosaic, but its scale is more impressive. Every year, police catch several cannibals, and it goes about proved cases only. Usually, cannibals are mentally ill individuals. “In most cases, cannibals get into medical, rather than penitentiary institutions after verdict. A person, when recognized mentally ill, undergoes compulsory medical treatment until he or she is healed – it doesn’t last for life.

After treatment, their case is reviewed again, and that’s when they can face a criminal punishment. “I personally know several cases when mental patients were recognized healed and were released to freedom right from the courtroom – the statute of limitations expired. They can be released to freedom, despite the fact that they may commit their hideous crimes in 80 percent of cases.”

20'li yaşlarda Tolstoy okumak için beş sebep

Kalınlığıyla birçoklarının gözünü korkutan Savaş ve Barış, ilk bakışta 20'li yaşlarda okunacak bir kitap gibi durmayabilir. İvan İlyiç’in Ölümü ve Diriliş de isimleriyle korkutabilir gençleri. Ama aslında Tolstoy 20'li yaşlarda okumak için oldukça uygun bir yazardır. Çünkü bundan 100 yıl kadar önce Rusya’da yaşamış olsa bile kendisi de, karakterleri de günümüze hakim olan hırs, başarısızlık, stres, iyilik gibi duyguları iyi bilir ve her yaştan okura kendi içlerindeki duyguları anlayıp ifade etmeleri konusunda rehberlik edebilirler.

Rus edebiyatının en önemli isimlerinden biri olan Tolstoy’u 20'li yaşlarda (veya herhangi bir yaşta) okumanız için beş sebep:

1. Tolstoy her zaman kendisini geliştirmeye çalışırdı.

Tolstoy 18 yaşındayken günlük tutmaya başladı. Bu günlükle amacı varoluşunu güçlendirecek bazı kurallar yaratmak ve günlerini daha iyi organize edebilmekti. Günlüğünde yazan bazı maddeler şunlardı:

  • Sabah beşte uyan,
  • Aynı anda sadece bir şey yap,
  • Geneleve ayda sadece iki kez git,
  • Tatlı yemekten kaçın,
  • Başka insanların düşüncelerine takılma,
  • Daha az şanslılara yardım et.

Tolstoy’un kendisini geliştirme düşüncesi romanlarında da ortaya çıkar. Özellikle Çocukluk, İlkgençlik, Gençlik kitabındaki Nekhlyudov karakteri büyük ölçüde Tolstoy’u ve kurallarını yansıtır.

“İnsanlığı şekillendirmek ve ahlaksızlığı ve mutsuzluğu yok etmek bize o zamanlar makul gelmişti. Tıpkı kendimizi şekillendirmek, bütün erdemlerde usta olmak ve mutlu olmak gibi.”

2. Tolstoy başarısızlığı da biliyordu.

Tolstoy’un bile bazı planlarının istediği gibi gitmediğini bilmek sizi biraz rahatlatabilir. Hatta planları oldukça nadir istediği gibi gitmişti. Bazı günler koyduğu kurallara uyabilse de bazı günler “hiçbir şey”, “neredeyse hiçbir şey”, “kötü şeyler” yaptı, Gogol okudu veya çok uyudu. Ama yine de, kendisine bu kadar yüksek hedefler koymasaydı belki edebi şaheserler yaratamayacaktı.

“Bu kadar üşengeç olduğum ve belirlediğim şeyleri yapamadığım ikinci gün. Neden böyle oluyor? Bilmiyorum. Ama umutsuzluğa kapılmamalıyım: Kendimi aktif olmaya zorlayacağım.” – Günlükler

3. Tolstoy’un bazı karakterleri bulundukları topluma uyum sağlayamıyordu.

Savaş ve Barış’ın başında Pierre Bezuhov, 10 yıllık eğitimin ardından Avrupa’dan yeni dönmüş 20 yaşında bir genç olarak karşımıza çıkar. Rusya’ya dair çok az bilgisi bulunduğu için Rus toplumunda kendisini rahatsız ve gergin hisseder. Yine de Pierre iyilik için çabalamaya devam eder ve sonuçta da edebiyat tarihinde bunu başarabilen az sayıda karakterden biri olur.

4. Tolstoy kaotik dünyada anlamı ve basitliği bulmaya çalışıyordu.

Günümüzde sosyal medya ve teknolojinin gittikçe daha çok hayatımıza girmesiyle huzuru bulmak, anlamlı deneyimler yaşamak zorlaşmaya başladı. Tolstoy’un Aile Mutluluğu kitabı bu konuda özellikle önem taşımakta.

“Köydeki evimizde iyilik yapmanın çok kolay olduğu, ama bu iyiliğe alışmamış insanlarla birlikte sessiz, sakin bir yaşam sürme, sonra yararlı bir çalışma, sonra dinlenme, doğanın güzellikleri, kitaplar, müzik, cana yakın bir komşunun sevgisi… Daha fazlasını hayal edemeyeceğim bir mutluluk.”

Köye taşınmamıza gerek yok ama Tolstoy’un dediği gibi sosyalleşme, dışarı çıkma, kitap okuma, dinlenme gibi eylemlere hayatımızda daha çok yer verebiliriz.

5. Tolstoy stres ve paniğin nasıl hisler olduğunu bildiği gibi onların üstesinden nasıl geleceğini de biliyordu.

1869’da topraklarını denetlemek için çıktığı Penza gezisi sırasında dinlenmek üzere bir otelde geceledi. Ve gece ikide beklenmeyen bir panik atak geçirip, “umutsuzluk, korku, terör” hisleriyle doldu taştı. Aynı gezide Tolstoy sık sık uzun çam ağaçlarının tepelerine bakarak kendisinden büyük bir şeye hayran kaldı. Tolstoy ve karakterleri için böyle bir anın üstesinden gelmenin en iyi yolu etrafa ve gökyüzüne bakmak. Prens Andrey Savaş ve Barış’ta savaş alanındayken şu ünlü cümleleri söyler örneğin:

“Evet! Sonsuz gökten başka her şey boş, her şey bir yanılsama. Başka hiçbir şey ama hiçbir şey yok onun dışında. Durgunluktan ve huzurdan başka.”

Nilhan Kalkan