Serial killer and rapist Mikhail Popkov, better known as the “Angara maniac” or “maniac policeman”, has been operating in the Irkutsk region for almost 20 years. Over the years, he has ruined more than 80 lives. The vast majority of his victims are young and beautiful women. It was only in 2012 that the maniac was caught, and even then, for the most part, thanks to a stupid accident. How an exemplary Siberian policeman became the bloodiest maniac in the history of modern Russia and received two (!) Life sentences at once – in the material “Secret of the Firm”.
On March 7, 1964, in northern Norilsk, a boy, Misha Popkov, was born into the most ordinary Soviet family. In early childhood, the parents left their son with his grandparents, and they themselves left for 3,000 kilometers to build a better life in Angarsk.
A few years later, little Misha was nevertheless taken to a new home. A happy reunion with parents was overshadowed by cardinal changes in the family and became, according to the investigators, the first psychological trauma for the child (more on this below).
She and four other events in Popkov’s life made a cruel maniac-misogynist out of a small, obedient boy, according to Evgeny Karchevsky, an investigator for especially important cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Irkutsk Region, who led Popkov’s case (and was popularly nicknamed “maniac hunter” ).
After the arrest of the Angarsk maniac, Karchevsky was able to establish psychological contact with Popkov, found out from the serial killer the details of his terrible crimes and was able to bring to court the lion’s share of the episodes in the case of the murderer.
Becoming a monster
Injury one: second place
“The boy lived with his grandmother for several years and was looking forward to meeting his parents. When they finally took their son home to Angarsk, there the child found out about a new family member – he was introduced to his little sister.
Then Misha felt that his parents love his sister more, that she gets more attention and care, and the eldest son, as it were, faded into the background for them. Resentment and this maternal "dislike" made the first in Misha’s head, so to speak, "notch". He remembered all this, although he was still very young, ”investigator Karchevsky said in a conversation with reporters (in an interview on the Redaksia channel with Alexei Pivovarov, who is recognized as a foreign agent in Russia).
Trauma two: a childish picture
The next traumatic experience in the life of the growing Misha occurred a few years later. The boy was sent to rest in a children’s camp and literally forgot about him.
“On the first weekend, no one came to Misha’s camp. The child spent the whole day sitting on the fence, watching how relatives come to other children, bring them various sweets and fruits, spend time with them, but no one came to him, to Misha. The second weekend – the situation repeated itself. Then Misha escaped from the camp and rushes headlong home. The child opens the door to the apartment and sees not a childish picture at all: his drunken father is lying in the room, he is sleeping. And next to him, a drunken mother is having sex with a family friend.
Seen drunken orgy becomes the second "notch" about hatred for women in the head of little Misha, ”investigator Karchevsky shared the details of the life of the Angarsk maniac.
Trauma three: betrayal of a loved one
Misha received the next injury already in his youth: Popkov’s beloved girl did not wait for him from the army and started a new family.
Even before the service, Misha fell passionately in love with a beauty from neighboring Irkutsk. Popkov courted his beloved for a long time and beautifully, regularly went on dates with her, showered the girl with flowers and gifts.
Soon it was time for him to pay back his debt to the Motherland. Misha was taken to the army for two years (1983-1985). After finishing his service and returning home, Popkov found out that over the years his beloved managed to meet another man, get married and even give birth.
Trauma four: disappointment in the younger sister
Another important episode in Popkov’s life follows. His younger sister grew up and moved to Sakhalin. There the girl lived alone and soon went into all serious trouble. The Popkov family found out that the young lady was taking a bottle, leading a wild, parasitic lifestyle – and dating anyone.
According to the investigator, having learned about the adventures of his younger sister, Mikhail independently went to Sakhalin and took the girl home. This situation made a strong impression on the man and strengthened his hatred of women.
Trauma five: cheating wife
At the same time, years passed, Misha grew up and searched for himself. He managed to work as a firefighter, and a locksmith, and a grave digger, and a taxi driver, but the police service became the main specialty of his life. First, as a junior sergeant in the linear department at the Angarsk station, and later as an assistant operational duty officer in the Angarsk central police department (Mikhail retired from service only at the end of 1999 – he retired with the rank of junior lieutenant).
In 1986, Misha got married, a year later his daughter was born. She became the main and most beloved person in Popkov’s life. It would seem – an idyll. But there was another (and, perhaps, the most serious) incident that traumatized Misha, which, according to the investigator, eventually released the genie from the bottle.
In 1992, Popkova was betrayed by her beloved wife. According to Karchevsky, on that March day, Misha was on the day and decided to run home from his shift to have a quick bite to eat.
It was late in the evening. Mikhail Viktorovich was walking past his house, when suddenly he met his own five-year-old daughter at the entrance. March was in the yard, it was, and the time was later – the child was already very cold. The surprised man took his daughter home. Climbing the stairs, the girl said that her mother sent her to walk outside when some uncle came to visit her.
In the apartment, Popkov met his tipsy wife in a very high spirits. Out of operational habit, the deceived husband began to inspect the “accident scene” and found bottles of alcohol and used condoms in the trash can.
The wife did not deny the betrayal and confessed everything.
According to some reports, upon learning of the betrayal, Popkov attacked his wife and almost strangled her. The life of the mother was saved by a little daughter, who heard the abuse of her parents and ran to the screams.
“The betrayal of his wife was the last boiling point. All these little notches-milestones that went up, made the little obedient boy Misha the most bloodthirsty maniac in the recent history of Russia, ”concluded the investigator.
Popkov could not leave his wife. According to one version, the man loved his wife too much. According to another, he stayed because of his daughter, did not want the girl to grow up without a father. One way or another, but inside the policeman acting at that time, a strong hatred of women finally took shape.
“This (the wife’s betrayal) was only one of the reasons, and one should not assume that it is the only one. A woman should be the guardian of the hearth and a strong rear for her man. And far from all of them are like that – and this is wrong, ”the Angarsk maniac caught more than 20 years later will tell journalists.
Just quietly and silently despise the surrounding “libertines” Popkov could not – he went hunting. In subsequent years, the Irkutsk region was flooded with disappearances and brutal murders of young women. It is noteworthy that for a long time the police did not link the murders into one series, believing that each victim is a separate case.
For almost 10 years, the operatives did not see or did not want to see that a maniac was operating right under their noses.
Code of the Maniac
28-year-old Mikhail Popkov committed his first murder in the same 1992. In the next 20 years, there will be dozens more. Almost all of the victims are young women, often tipsy. Sometimes as a couple.
But the Angarsk maniac did not kill everyone in a row. Popkov was very selective.
The monster took the lives of only those women who voluntarily got into his car and agreed to spend time with him. For the Angarsk maniac, this was an indicator of debauchery. In general, women who showed even the slightest initiative in relations with men caused attacks of hatred in Popkov.
The Angaran maniac considered his perverted mission to be the cleansing of the world from fallen women.. Experts noted that Popkov killed women who were dissolute in his eyes, as if as an edification to others, showing that a lady should not walk, drink, cheat on her husband, go to nightclubs. In his head, it all worked like some kind of perverted “pedagogy”. After his arrest, he even got another nickname – “Cleaner”.
However, such a definition is not entirely objective, according to experts who worked on the case of the Angarsk maniac. For example, there were very few representatives of the most ancient profession among Popkov’s victims, although, according to his logic, night butterflies should have been almost the main targets. Basically, ordinary young and beautiful girls, with good jobs and families, husbands and children, perished at the hands of the murderer.
Popkov had a kind of ritual and even a whole exam for a potential victim. On it, the maniac literally decided who to save life, and who, in his opinion, did not deserve life.
Most often, the murders occurred in the following way. In the evening, Popkov got behind the wheel of one of his three cars and went to the streets of Angarsk to taxi. At the same time, the murderer looked out for lonely tipsy girls, stopped next to them and offered a ride. Often Popkov went “hunting” right in a police uniform. The uniform helped him ingratiate himself with women and persuade them to get into the car.
In the car, the maniac conducted an exam: he offered each girl to go for a drive with him, drink wine and continue the evening together. E
If the girl refused the offer and “behaved with restraint”, then the maniac did not touch her. Popkov took such girls home and let them go. There are cases when an Angarsk maniac escorted girls who were decent in his eyes to the very doors, helped them with heavy bags and even waited under the windows until the light came on in the apartment of the failed victim.
But if the girl agreed to spend time together, she “failed” the terrible exam and Popkov sentenced her to death.. The maniac drove the lady to a secluded place, usually in the area of the bypass road outside the city. There he treated the girl to alcohol, entered into an intimate relationship with her, and then brutally dealt with a random mistress with a knife, screwdriver, ax or shovel.
The maniac left the bodies of some victims at the crime scene practically untouched, while the bodies of others were securely hidden, dismembered and even burned.
One of the features of the murderer’s handwriting was the obligatory exposure – almost all the victims of the Angarsk maniac were found half-naked, with the upper part of the clothes pulled up to the neck and with trousers and skirts lowered to the knees.
Since most of Popkov’s victims did not survive the meeting with the maniac, it became impossible to establish the facts of rape in most cases, but he was nevertheless convicted of sexual violence in several episodes. Popkov himself later claimed that most of the girls entered into an intimate relationship with him completely voluntarily.