Born in the Ukrainian village of Chervoy to a peasant family, Andrei was nearly seven years old when the Holodomor was at its peak. His father, Trofim, left his family for Kiev in search of food, never to return. Unlike his elder brother Pavel, who was an athletic, serious and pragmatic child, Andrei was clumsy and shortsighted, constantly laying down decks of cards in anticipation of his father's return. When in February 1933 his mother Oksana ordered him to accompany his brother in search of a stray cat, Andrei was overjoyed at being given an opportunity to impress his brother. The cat was baited with a bloody bone, caught in a snare and killed by Pavel, though the victory was short-lived, as he was abducted by Stepan Demidov whilst Andrei went to collect firewood. Noticing his brother's absence, Andrei returned home empty handed, only to be beaten by his mother, demanding to know what had happened. Oksana then relented and told Andrei that Pavel had been abducted by cannibals. Andrei never believed that his brother was truly dead, and lived for the rest of his childhood with his increasingly unstable mother, who often hallucinated that he was Pavel, beating him if she noticed that he wasn't.
He was conscripted during the Great Patriotic War, but was captured by German soldiers. After returning to Russia, he was arrested and interrogated by Soviet security forces, suspecting him of collusion with the enemy. He was released after six months of imprisonment without his glasses, and moved to Rostov. After seeing a photo of his brother (now going by the name Leo Demidov) in a Pravda article, he sought to gain his brother's attention by killing animals in a way reminiscent of the cat they'd killed years earlier; tying a noose to their ankles and eviscerating them, as well as stuffing tree bark in their mouths, as Andrei used to chew on branches as a child to stave off hunger. His first human victim was a young boy he encountered whilst laying a trap for an animal in the woods. After six months of murdering children around Rostov, and realising that Leo was probably a member of the secret service, Andrei got a job as a tolkach at the local Rostselmash tractor factory, a job that would permit him to travel throughout the western Soviet Union in order to inspect the materials sent to the factory by sister companies, though his true purpose was to leave as many corpses as possible over an extended area in an attempt to get his brother's attention. At some point, he joined the Communist Party, thus ensuring he would be considered an unlikely suspect.
At some point, he got married and had two daughters, and lived in a brick hut-house by the river Don on the outskirts of Rostov. There, he turned the house's basement into a private study, where he collected clippings of his brothers' photos and kept a number of cats, which he fed the fried stomachs of his victims. He was a cold, reclusive and strict husband and father, disallowing his wife from showing affection to him in front of the children, and forbidding them to enter the basement or touch the cats. By July 1953, he had murdered at least fifty-seven children throughout the Soviet Union, usually in the woods near the train lines he traveled through. At this point, his instability grew to the point that he nearly killed his eldest daughter Nadya after discovering her hiding in his private study.
On 16 July, Leo finally arrived at Andrei's residence after a grueling investigation. Unphased by his brother's sudden appearance, and accepting that he would be killed, Andrei explained his motivations to Leo, blaming him for having abandoned him and his mother. Shocked upon hearing that Leo was a wanted man for having investigated his crimes and come to conclusions contradicting the official state investigations, Andrei offered to sign a confession, but only after having played a last game of cards with him. The pair were soon joined by Nadya, Leo's wife Raisa, and Leo's former lieutenant Vasili, the latter of which had a grudge against Leo, and intended to execute everyone in the house. Before Vasili could shoot Leo, Andrei fatally stabbed the agent in the back, then begged Leo to end his life. Leo shot his younger brother in front of Nadya, in whose eyes he recognised the same malice as Andrei's.
Unable to accept that Andrei had been a product of Soviet society, the MGB later fabricated a cover story, stating that Andrei had been a Nazi collaborator during the war, and killed children to avenge his former masters. Leo pragmatically did not argue against this evaluation, and used his experience in investigating his brother to form a new Moscow-based homicide department to combat future crimes of a similar nature.
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 5-17, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 443-460, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 356-360, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 313-318, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 342, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 297-298, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 427-431, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
- ↑ Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 461-463, ISBN 978-84739-373-9