"If you do anything to endanger my team, if you report anything which undermines my authority, if you disobey an order, if you derail a prosecution, if you portray my officers as incompetent, if you make any denouncements regarding my men: if you do any of these things, I'll kill you." - Timur to Leo Demidov[1]
General Timur Nesterov (b. 1913 - 10 April 1956) was a former head of the Voualsk militia who later became Leo Demidov's lieutenant at the Moscow Homicide Department.


Early career

A native of Rostov, Timur fought in Ukraine during the Great Patriotic War, and saw first hand the brutality of the retreating Nazis.[2] After his military service, he joined the Rostov militia and married Inessa, who bore him two sons, Efim and Vadim. He was awarded the Officer of the Month award numerous times, and won several wrestling and rifle-shooting tournaments.[3] In 1949, he and his family were given shoddily built accommodation on Kropotkinsky street in the outskirts of Voualsk. By 1953, despite years of service and amateur home improvements, Timur gave up hope on being given better housing, and was embittered at the thought of being paid less than younger men working at the nearby car assembly plant.[4]

Child 44

On 15 March, Timur was sent to an orphanage to apprehend the mentally retarded teenager Varlam Babinich, who had kidnapped a baby. Timur managed to retrieve the baby safely by promising to let the boy keep the child's blanket. Timur however grew suspicious upon finding a lock of blonde hair in Varlam's possession, as the prostitute Larisa Petrova (who had previously been stalked by Varlam) had been murdered days earlier, and was missing some of her hair.[5]

The next day, after arresting Varlam, Timur met with former MGB agent Leo Demidov, who had been demoted as a low ranking militia officer and sent to Voualsk under mysterious circumstances.[6] The two interrogated Varlam, and while Timur was convinced of the suspect's guilt, Leo proved skeptical, as his examination of the crime scene photos showed that the victim's mouth had been stuffed with dirt, a detail Varlam had no knowledge of.[7] Timur later caught Leo examining the corpse without his authorisation, and accused him of being an undercover MGB agent, threatening to kill him if he ever put his or his men's careers or lives in jeopardy.[8] Timur's suspicions over Leo only grew when the former MGB agent led Timur to the corpse of a boy killed in similar circumstances which he'd discovered earlier. Although Timur conceded that the child could not have been murdered by Varlam, he rejected Leo's theory that the crime had been committed by the same man who killed Larisa, and asserted that it was a separate crime likely committed by a homosexual. Timur subsequently arrested a confirmed homosexual named Aleksandr, threatening to expose his deviancy to his family if he did not cooperate and give a list of all homosexuals in the area. Over 200 suspected homosexuals were arrested, with one, Dr Tyapkin, committing suicide, shortly followed by Aleksandr himself.[9]

Timur was confronted by Leo at his family residence. An argument ensued, resulting in a fist fight. After beating Leo, Timur asked him what his true goal and origins were, learning that Leo had seen a corpse weeks earlier in Moscow with similar injuries to the ones in Voualsk, and that he'd been demoted for having disagreed with the findings of the official investigation, which ruled that the death was accidental. Leo further revealed that he suspected that the murderer was not from Voualsk, and that his occupation was probably linked to train travel, as all the bodies had been located near rail lines. Now convinced of Leo's sincerity, Nesterov agreed to assist him in his search for the real culprit.[10]

Over a ten week period, Timur secretly investigated a series of prior murders around Voualsk, Molotov, Vyatka, Gorky, Kazan, Tver, Tula, Orel, Belgorod, Kharkov, Gorlovka, Zaporoshy, Kramatorsk, Kiev, Taganrog, and Rostov. Combined with information gained from Leo's own investigations in Moscow, the total number of victims was found to be forty four, all distributed throughout the western Soviet Union in a pattern following the train line west of Moscow.[11] During a summer vacation with his family in Rostov, Timur was apprehended by suspicious MGB agents, who accused him of anti-Soviet agitation, telling him that Leo was a Western spy. They forced him to reveal everything and write a note to Leo, instructing him to go to the Voualsk militia headquarters. When Leo arrived, Timur revealed to his colleague that it was a trap, and instructed him to to knock him unconscious and take his car keys before the agents could enter and arrest him. Before Leo carried out these instructions, Timur told him that the killer was most likely a tolkach working for the Rostelmash tractor factory in Rostov, as Voualsk had a car assembly plant that frequently sent deliveries to the factory, and such an employment would have allowed the killer to travel the same train route the murders occurred in.[12]

Over a week later, after Leo had finally solved the murders and thus absolved Timur of any wrongdoing, he and his family were transferred to Moscow, where the former militiaman was given a position in Leo's newly formed Homicide Department.[12]

The Secret Speech

On 14 March, 1956, Timur assisted Leo in investigating the death of Nikolai Borisov, Leo's ex-superior officer in the MGB. The pair discovered that he had been repeatedly harassed by vory sending him photographs of his past victims, then committed suicide after murdering his wife and children for fear that they'd learn of his past. With the arrival of KGB officer Frol Panin, it was revealed that Nikolai was but one of many former MGB members targeted by the vory, emboldened by the dissemination of Khrushchev's newly released speech denouncing the excesses of the Stalin era.[13] After seeing that one of the photos sent to Nikolai featured Lazar, a priest Leo had arrested seven years earlier, it was deduced that the vory were targeting everyone involved in his incarceration. Timur and Leo headed off to the residence of Patriarch Krasikov, who had been the one to denounce Lazar to the MGB, arriving too late to save him from the young vory Malysh. The pair pursued and captured Malysh in the Moscow sewer system, though Timur expressed doubt as to the usefulness of questioning the boy, as his status as a vory gang member made him more willing to die than talk. Malysh escaped their grasp, but only after revealing that his gang was now targeting Leo's wife Raisa.[14] The two learned that Raisa was in critical condition after attempting to prevent the kidnapping of her and Leo's adopted daughter Zoya, and that the vory wanted to meet with Leo alone at the site of the now demolished Church of Sancta Sophia.[15]

Three weeks later, after discovering that the vory gang leader was in fact the wife of Lazar, Timur accompanied Leo on board the prison ship Stary Bolshevik to Gulag 57 in Kolyma, where the two planned to release Lazar and, in exchange, get Zoya back. Posing as a guard, Timur was to hand over a note to Lazar written by his wife, verifying their story. Whilst on board, Timur interacted as little as possible with the other guards, rebuffing the attempts of Genrikh Duvakin to befriend him.[16] The ship was badly damaged during a storm, with the prisoners attempting an uprising resulting in Genrikh firing a machine gun into the hatch containing them. Realising that Leo was also contained there, Timur intervened, allowing Leo and the other prisoners to prevent the water from entering the hatch by stuffing the bullet holes with rags.[17] Upon arriving safely at the port of Magadan, Timur was approached by Regional Director Abel Prezent who, in recognition of Timur's courage during the uprising, ordered him to replace the now deceased Genrikh and leave with the Stary Bolshevik on its return journey.[18] Realising that the mission to release Lazar was at risk, Timur confronted both Prezent and the ship captain, posing as a MVD official sent to report on the application of Khrushchev's reforms. Threatening to denounce them, Timur demanded to be driven to Gulag 57 for inspection. On the way, he was murdered by the guards accompanying him, fearing that his report would put their careers at risk.[19]


  1. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, p. 229, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  2. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 340-344, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  3. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 200-205, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  4. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 271-272, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  5. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 181-185, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  6. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 189-196, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  7. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 206-211, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  8. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 220-229, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  9. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 244-260, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  10. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 271-279, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  11. Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 293-301, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  12. 12.0 12.1 Smith, T. R. (2008), Child 44, Pocket Books, pp. 340-355, ISBN 978-84739-373-9
  13. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 81-89, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  14. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 95-103, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  15. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 121-123, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  16. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 146-151, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  17. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 168-169, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  18. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 183-185, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
  19. Smith, T. R. (2009), The Secret Speech, Simon & Schuster UK, pp. 217-225, ISBN 978-0-85720-409-7
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