Russian Yuriy Gritsenko, known as the “Zelenograd Chikatilo” after a previous Soviet-era serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, preyed on women in Moscow and the Moscow region. In September he volunteered to go to war in Ukraine where he has been serving in a medical evacuation platoon, according to the Russian telegram channel Shot citing sources.

Gritsenko, 62, was due for release from penal colony IK-10 in Mordovia this summer after serving his full 22-year sentence, but volunteered to serve in a Storm Z unit and was released to serve. However, he was found to be unfit for a combat role so was selected for the medical evacuation platoon.

 

According to the media, Gritsenko asked to go to war to earn money on the outside, because, according to Shot, after the death of his mother her apartment in Zelenograd was returned to the state. His contract with the Russian army will end when the war in Ukraine ends, after which he will be released.

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At one time, Gritsenko kept all of Moscow and the Moscow region in fear. A serving police officer he was dismissed from the force for drunkenness. He committed his first murder in 1993, beating his victim to death with a frying pan.

After serving nine years in prison, he was released on parole and committed a series of attacks on women within a year. He attacked his victims with a hammer because, by his own admission, he “liked the dull sound of the blow,” the Shot post reported.

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The maniac, who killed five women and injured ten others, was finally caught by a bus driver who heard the screams of his next intended victim. The bus driver saved the woman and managed to hold Gritsenko until the police arrived.  Before the series of murders, Chikatilo was registered in a psychiatric clinic with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Nina Ostanina, head of the State Duma Committee on Family Protection, proposed developing a special bill to provide legal protection for Russians from former prisoners who commit new crimes after returning from the war in Ukraine.

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“Law enforcement agencies must take responsibility for protecting citizens from such criminals. It is necessary to establish regular control over their movements and provide them with employment assistance,” Ostanina wrote on Telegram.

Last November, a Kyiv Post journalist spoke with Russian POWs currently being held in Ukraine, one of whom, Sergei, said he was one of many Russian soldiers who have been promised release from prison, a pardon from the state, and a salary of about $2,200 a month – almost twice the average salary in Russia.

“Our entire 4th company is recruited from former prisoners,” Sergei, who served two and a half years of the seven and a half years he was sentenced for murder before being recruited into the Russian army, he said.

According to him, some of his fellow prisoners have already had their military contracts expire, but they have not been released.

“It doesn't really mean anything to them. You have to stay in the army until the war is over,” he said.

A report in the Independent news site in April said that in 2023, Russian soldiers serving in occupied Ukraine were charged with more than 20 murders, while more than 100 homicides were committed by returnees in mainland Russia in the same year.

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