There is always a good part to a person, the difference is where it is, and how hard someone must search to find the good. Within history, there are multiple instances where something good is hidden beneath terrible actions against humanity. When something bad happens that affects millions of people, whoever began that terrible action is set to have everyone against them for the rest of the time earth is alive. For Russia, it was the red scare. The steady spread of communistic ideals around the world. Russia was the leader of this spread through its use of terror, and war. Although, part of the Russian history that is not well-known is the hunting of the Rostov Ripper during 1978-1990. It is this time frame that laid the foundation for the creation of the 2015 movie Child 44. Child 44 was not completely correct within the context of the information on the serial killer but rather showed how culturally and politically Russia is repeating history, and how it may cause a repeat of terrible events.
Child 44 is set in the time of the Rostov Ripper, and followed a runaway orphan turned USSR MGB Agent Leo. Through the course of the movie, Leo meets and marries Raisa, then follows orders to find and extract a man labeled a traitor. It is here where the first instance of humanity is seen as he attacks a lower officer for the unnecessary killing of two people in front of their children. From here, the first murder takes place and it happens to be Leo’s godson. He is forced to lie to the parents about the detail of the case which causes a downward spiral. Leo’s wife was named a traitor, and they were forced to move to Rostov and were told to stay out of Moscow. It is here where more murders take place, and Leo, as well as his new general, take it upon themselves to find and stop the serial killer. In the final battle, there is a show of unrelenting evil paired with the will to do good. The killer and evil soldier against the man who wanted nothing more to protect the children.
Culturally, Russia from the movie context of the 1978-1990 time period was not much if any different from that of 2015 in which the movie was released. As outlined at the beginning of the movie though the statistics of children in orphanages, and the use of Leo a runaway orphan, many children in the year 2015 were facing terrible lives (Child 44, 0:00-10:00). In 2015, as stated by the BBC, “The currency has already lost 40% in value this year.” Russia was once again in a period of financial difficulty, and more people were unable to stay afloat, therefore losing their jobs, food, and possibly even their lives. This common occurrence in Russian history appeared to be almost identical between the two previously stated periods. This decline leads to the rise in crime, the more extreme the soldier’s violence, and a decline in pride. More and more people began to lose faith in Russia as they struggled to survive but knew to remain silent just like they did in the movie Child 44. Those who spoke out about the injustices that were occurring were labeled as traitors and were typically forced to name others and then executed. As outlined in the brief synopsis of Child 44, Leo being a soldier within the USSR was forced to find these traitors, but never spoke out, even if the injustice was blatantly obvious. Citizens feared what would happen to them if they made a single comment against what was occurring, whether it be from 2015 or 1978 through 1990. Russian citizens were faced with what appeared to be a never-ending silence. There would be no change, and certainly no revolt. As citizens, the people were forced to deal with whatever was thrown at them with no questions asked. As regular humans, this angered some people, and their lack of choice led them to commit crimes they otherwise would not have committed. All the previous factors outlined, combined with a never-ceasing need to kill set the ground for the birth of a heinous serial killer. The Rostov Ripper was a serial killer who targeted women and children due to his inability to hold an erection.
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was the hidden terror within the terror and was the basis for the serial killer in Child 44. Although, Child 44 highlighted his crimes against young male children, glazing over his impotence and crimes against women. The movie focused on showing how the time allowed for this killer to keep killing, rather than why he killed. The outlined reason in Child 44, was the lack of political interest. The cases of each murder in Moscow were being covered up, and Leo knew it. He did not want to be labeled a traitor, so he kept his mouth shut, but that all changed when his life was altered by the declaration of his wife Raisa (Child 44 35:00-38:27). The use of Andrei’s real-life crimes appeared to be used to show that setting up the same situations as in 1978 through 1990 sets Russia up for another intense crime streak. According to Knoema, in 2015, the homicide rate went up by “0.87 %”. These rising rates continue to create more fear, which in turn tends to lead more people to do more crazy things. It is during this intense time of misfortune and crime that allows for killers like Andrei to go on sprees as long as twelve years.
Politically, the leaders of Russia appear to be the same. In 2015, Forbes stated when talking about the world’s most powerful people, “Russian President Vladimir Putin (No. 1) takes the top spot out of 73”. Once again, the Russian president was looking and/or succeeding at being some of the most powerful people. During 2015, there was fighting Russia against the west, such as Ukraine and Syria. Although, the greatest difference is what the presidents hope for out of the fighting. As stated by Andrew Carey 2015, “what the Kremlin wants abroad is weakness and division. A divided Ukraine will go nowhere fast.” The difference then is that the leaders during the years 1978 through 1990 were not stable, and were chasing continuous power rather than achievable safety. As shown in the movie Child 44, Leo was faced with the unfortunate orders from above that lacked care for human life and humanity. Leo was sent to lie and extract as well as torture and kill others to get what the political leaders wanted. The farther a country is crashing, the more political leaders would try to hide things from the country which can lead to dangerous openings for hidden serial killers. Therefore, while politically Russia seems to have improved, there is still room for regression as well as unfortunately hidden motives.
Overall, the movie Child 44 sets the grounds to show how repetitive Russian history is. The unfortunate realities of the receding economy, forcing more and more difficulties such as hunger, job loss, and so much more. The more problems that arise due to these issues force people to do more to try and get themselves back to a better place. As illustrated previously, this leads to rising crime rates, especially in homicides. This rate allows for serial killers to go under the radar, thus allowing more killings to occur, not to mention, the fact that hiding something that dramatic and terrifying is better for a political leader, rather than being open and honest about it. This being analyzed previously, showed that Russia is repeating its history again and again. This known fact could, in turn, lead to more and more unfortunate and dangerous situations. These could lead to unnecessary murders, the creation of more serial killers, and a decline in Russia’s citizen’s ability to survive. While some repeats are inevitable it is of greater importance to improving, rather than blindly hope for the best. Child 44 best outlined the truth of how Russia is repeating history, then used an altered version of the Rostov Ripper to show the terrible outcomes that will occur if Russia continues to repeat. The outcomes could be far more gruesome than could be anticipated, but Child 44 correlates Russia’s past to it’s already repeating present.