Gennady Mikhasevich: A Murderous Career
We all know that there are killers out there, and one thing we do to get sleep at night is to think that we know what they look like. For example, we don’t usually picture vicious serial killers as family men. We don’t think of them as sober husbands. We try really hard not to think of them as police officials.
After decades of criminology and the apprehension of human monsters that kill those weaker than they are, what we have found instead is that people who kill other people blend in with their surroundings with masterful certainty. Gennady Mikhasevich certainly did.
Mikhasevich was born in 1947 in the village of Ist in the former Soviet Union. By all reports he was a normal young man who eventually went on to join the army. He served uneventfully, and was discharged without problems in 1971. Upon his discharge, he was shocked to discover that his girlfriend at the time had not waited for him as she promised. Instead, she had married another man.
Mikhasevich went into a deep and dark depression. He decided to kill himself, and had even created a noose so that he could hang himself. However, the very night that he was set to do the dark deed, he missed the bus that would take him to Polotsk, his parents’ hometown. Instead, he found a lone woman walking by herself and strangled her instead.
When he was caught, Mikhasevich spoke about the rage that he felt when he saw the woman, and how he suddenly realized that he could relieve that rage by simply unleashing it all on her. He killed her with the rope he had bought for his own suicide, and left her body hidden in an embankment when he was done.
Mikhasevich continued on his way, relieved of his maddened urges for a short time. However, just a few short months later, the urge came over him again. Once again, he killed a woman. He strangled her, rifling through her pockets for anything valuable before he continued on his way.
This started a pattern with Mikhasevich, one that seemed oddly divorced from his real life. In many ways, he was a normal man. In a few years, he completed a technical degree and went on to work at a state farm. He was reputedly a good worker, and he drew the attention of a young woman in Ist, where he had moved. They married, and they went on to have two children.
This picture of pleasant domesticity was unmarred by Mikhasevich’s dark habits. He would kill a few women every year. Over the time he spent doing this, several innocent men would be caught in the nets cast by the police. They would be beaten into confessing, and often killed, though the fact that new bodies kept turning up would show that they had the wrong man.
Mikhasevich served as part of a volunteer police militia force, something that put him close to the heart of the action. He could see the police becoming increasingly frustrated, and increasingly more invested in finding him. He stayed away from police capture for many years, but he finally tipped his hand in 1985.
Concerned about capture, he sought to mislead the police by writing letters to the local newspaper, supposedly from the “Patriots of Vitebsk,” a militia group that called for the eradication of traitors and loose women. Unfortunately for Mikhasevich, people matched the writing in the letter to the paperwork he did at the police station, and he was finally arrested.
After prolonged questioning, Mikhasevich took police to the place where he buried some of the remains. It was further revealed that he had some of the jewelery and wallets of the women he killed at his home; he had given them to his wife.
Mikhasevich was confessed to 43 murders, though the number is probably closer to 55. In addition to that, 14 men were wrongly convicted for his crimes over his murderous career. He was executed by firing squad in 1987, bringing an end to a terrible time.