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"Kyiv poisoner": the story of the last woman shot in the USSR

'07.04.2022'

Source: Lenta.ru report

Our story is about Tamara Ivanyutina, known to many as the "poisoner of Kyiv". The victims of her experiments with the toxic substance thallium were 20 people, including children. Nine of them died. For these crimes, Tamara Ivanyutina was sentenced to death, she became the third and last woman to be shot in the USSR.

Photo: Shutterstock

Neighborhood

Tamara Ivanyutina (nee Maslenko) was born in the 1941 year in Tula, says Lenta.ru report. The family was large: Anton and Maria Maslenko, in addition to Tamara, raised five more children. Their life in a communal apartment was very modest and often overshadowed by skirmishes with neighbors. The Maslenkos did not write complaints about their offenders, they went the other way - they poisoned their neighbors.

The poison, which was supposedly intended for rats, was supplied to Anton and Maria by a friend, an employee of the Geological Institute. She had access to the Clerici solution, a liquid compound of salts of the highly toxic chemical element thallium, which geologists use to determine the density of minerals. In humans, this solution causes severe poisoning and is accompanied by depression of cardiac activity, joint pain, insomnia, vitamin deficiency and kidney problems - up to death.

For the first time, Maslenko's wife decided to test the action of the poison on a neighbor who turned on the TV too loudly and interfered with the sleep of a large family. Once Maria Maslenko treated a TV lover with poisoned pies - and silence reigned in the communal apartment: a neighbor who had tasted baking died in the hospital. The next victim of the poisoners was a neighbor who reprimanded the Maslenkos for the uncleaned toilet. An elderly woman, like the first victim, died from a treat with a Clerici solution.

Then the anger of Anton Maslenko was caused by a relative who visited the captured Maria in the hospital, and then told Anton that his wife was unlikely to recover from the disease - she had to prepare for a worthy funeral. Maslenko was terribly angry at such a prophecy, but did not show it, but only offered to drink for Mary’s health. The guest agreed - and drank a glass of moonshine, where Anton managed to mix thallium. As a result, the funeral did take place, but they did not betray Maria Maslenko, but the one that promised her a quick death.

By the way, before the death, the woman managed to tell the doctors that she had been poisoned by a spoiled egg - Anton Maslenko offered it as a snack. The dying woman explained that he had peeled the egg, but it suddenly turned black. Then Maslenko put it aside, and a relative, judging that there was no reason to disappear, took this black egg and ate it.

Poison from the wife

Maslenko’s children knew about the dark affairs of their parents, but took what was happening absolutely calmly. From an early age, Anton and Maria inspired them that in life the most important thing is prosperity. The closest thing to this advice was Tamara, who decided to get rich at all costs. Her cherished dream was to buy a black Volga: this car seemed to her the peak of prosperity.

In order to succeed, having reached the age of majority, Tamara took up speculation, but it was extremely unsuccessful: she almost immediately fell into the hands of the police and received a criminal record. However, the details of this case are unknown. After a while, the girl realized: a much more effective way to achieve success is a successful marriage. Tamara rejected the advances of a young, handsome, but poor admirer, and married a truck driver. He made good money, had his own two-room apartment.

Tamara began to poison her husband almost from the first days of her life together: she gradually added the Clerici solution to her husband in food, knowing that the poison tends to accumulate in the body and one day it will do its job. Previously, Tamara tested the effect of the poison on cats and chickens - she studied on them how the poison works.

Soon, Tamara's husband's health worsened: he experienced constant weakness and pain in his legs, his hair began to fall out. Nevertheless, the trucker worked until, during his last trip, he realized that he simply could not go further - his legs did not feel the pedals. His partner got behind the wheel, and Tamara's husband tried to revive himself by swimming in the river, but when he began to wipe his head with a towel, he saw with horror that it was all covered with his hair.

Having hardly returned home, the unfortunate one was hospitalized and soon died. For some reason, the rapid baldness of the patient did not alert the doctors - they considered that a heart attack was the cause of his death.

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Black Widow

Having become the sole owner of the apartment of her late husband, Tamara sold it, moved to Kyiv and soon married Oleg Ivanyutin, taking his last name. The poisoner's new husband, who was seven years younger than her, did not have his own apartment, but his elderly parents owned a private house in the Krasnodar Territory. After their son's wedding in the summer of 1983, they sold their housing and moved to Kyiv, where they also began to live in their own house. Tamara Ivanyutina really liked this property - she decided to organize a pig farm there and make good money on it.

According to other sources, the poisoner simply did not get along with her mother-in-law: she insisted on the appearance of grandchildren, otherwise threatening to disinherit the family. Be that as it may, shortly after the wedding, Tamara Ivanyutina decided to exterminate her husband's parents and started with her father-in-law. The pensioner could not understand why he, a relatively healthy person, suddenly began to suffer from severe pain in his legs and numbness in his feet. Father Oleg Ivanyutin was hospitalized, the doctors diagnosed an exacerbation of polyarthritis, prescribed treatment and sent him home.

Depicting extreme concern about the fate of her father-in-law, Ivanyutina invited her husband to visit her parents - and, once in their house, carefully fed the pensioner soup from a spoon. He ate with pleasure, not suspecting that the soup was poisoned. Oleg's father did not survive the fatal dinner: at night he was taken away by an ambulance, and he died in agony in the hospital. However, like last time, Tamara Ivanyutina remained above suspicion.

She was not suspected even after a scandal at her father-in-law’s funeral, when Oleg’s mother became ill with her heart. The daughter-in-law brought her a glass in which there was allegedly valocordin, but instead of relief, the elderly woman felt severe nausea and blurred consciousness. The widow screamed that Ivanyutina had poisoned her. One woman who attended the funeral confirmed that she saw Tamara pouring something from a strange bubble into a glass.

Seeing the general excitement, the poisoner portrayed anger over an unfair accusation and broke a glass with the remaining "medicine" on the ground. Oleg stood up for his wife, and soon the tension came to naught. Meanwhile, mother-in-law Ivanyutina had the same symptoms as her late husband; a few days later she died. And Tamara, finally believing in her impunity, gradually began to poison her husband.

Hunt for scraps

After the death of the father-in-law, Ivanyutina finally carried out her plan - she convinced her husband to move to their house, brought pigs and hens. Ivanyutin first bought food for her pets in school canteens, but she was soon tired of constantly spending money on it. In 1986, Tamara herself decided to get a dishwasher at school number 16 in the Minsk district of Kiev.

As soon as she started to work, the poisoner began to take her own orders in the school cafeteria: she climbed with advice from the cooks, was rude to schoolchildren and teachers, and the dishes were so badly washed. Predatoryly watching the students have breakfast and lunch, Ivanyutina rejoiced when there were many leftovers on the plates.

According to some reports, sometimes the dishwasher even tried to spoil the dishes so that school staff and students would not eat them up. In the dining room, the refrigerator could “accidentally” turn off for the night: the food spoiled and went straight to feed the pigs.

Ivanyutina took all the waste for herself without yielding anything to the school staff - not to mention the children. The poisoner severely punished those who claimed her "booty": two students, a brother and a sister, became her victims. One day, schoolchildren decided to put the remains of cutlets and chicken bones in a bag and pick them up for their dog. Ivanyutina noticed this, scolded the children, and perceived their act as a personal insult.

The next day, she quietly added the Clerici solution to the schoolchildren's plates, after which the brother and sister were hospitalized with a disease of unclear etiology. Fortunately, the dose of poison was meager, and the young patients survived.

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Deadly dinners

Unlike the students, the party organizer of the school, Ekaterina Shcherban, and the dietician Natalya Kukarenko (according to other sources, Kukharenko) got to the fullest. These ladies often scolded Tamara Ivanyutina for being rude and unprofessional and insisted on her dismissal. The poisoner was not fired from her job just because the dishwasher's salary was meager, and there were simply no people who wanted to take this position. Shcherban and Kukarenko constantly dined in the school cafeteria and made sure that food for schoolchildren was prepared according to the standards, which also made Ivanyutina very angry.

After a while, both women began to feel unwell. In the autumn of 1986, Ekaterina Shcherban suddenly died, and in the spring of 1987, immediately after the celebration at school on March 8, Natalya Kukarenko was admitted to the hospital. The doctors, to whom she complained of pain and numbness of the limbs, treated the patient for heart failure, but her condition only worsened and she soon died.

Three weeks later - on 27 of March 1987 of the year - a real state of emergency occurred: three sixth graders and eleven school staff were hospitalized. After a quick examination, all patients were treated for flu. The symptoms were really similar: fever, nausea, bone pain and even hair loss could be observed with flu. A mistake in the diagnosis cost the lives of four patients: two schoolchildren and two adults - a teacher and a repairman for refrigeration equipment - died shortly after hospitalization.

In the wake of poison

After a series of deaths, doctors convened a consultation with virologists and epidemiologists; Its participants came to the conclusion: the standard treatment regimen does not help, which means that we are talking about some atypical form of influenza. True, one of the experts noted that at the end of March an influenza epidemic is hardly possible, and the symptoms of deceased patients indicate poisoning, so further studies are needed. But colleagues did not listen to him.

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths in a Kiev school became interested in the prosecutor's office. After an unsuccessful check of the school building for radiation, the investigators decided to talk with those who survived the poisoning. Then it turned out that all the victims on their fateful day dined late in the dining room — they ate soup with buckwheat and chicken liver. Those who arrived for dinner on time were not injured. Then the investigation suggested that the poison could accidentally get poison, which poisoned rats and cockroaches.

According to other versions, poor-quality meat was used in the preparation of the dishes, or some mysterious hooligans brought to the dining room and smashed a container with a toxic substance that poisoned food, air or water. All unsuccessful students were taken to the children's room of the police, but they categorically denied any involvement in the poisoning. During the next inspection at the school, investigators asked to call a dietician for a conversation. And then it turned out that this place was vacant, and Natalya Kukarenko, who occupied it, died of the disease with the same symptoms as the last victims. After that, Kukarenko's body was exhumed and sent for examination. The sense of detectives did not disappoint: traces of thallium were found in the tissues of the deceased.

Among those who were questioned in the school poisoning case, was Tamara Ivanyutina. Investigators noticed that the dishwasher behaves very aggressively, does not make contact and in every way prevents the inspection of the kitchen. For example, she followed on the heels of a forensic expert who took samples from kitchen utensils and products. Then it seemed that Ivanyutina was afraid that the expert would not pull something from the kitchen.

Meanwhile, the dishwasher had completely different goals: she was afraid that traces of poison could remain on the kitchen inventory. Initially, the detectives attributed Ivanyutina’s behavior to her disgusting character, but later a very unpleasant fact for the poisoner was revealed: when applying for a job, she hid a criminal record that blocked her way to school.

The mystery of the nightstand

Having studied the biography of Ivanyutina, investigators drew attention to the series of strange deaths of her relatives, and to the condition of her husband Oleg, which was getting worse. By that time, he had become very bad - bald and almost did not get up due to severe pain in his legs. The detectives' interest in Ivanyutina actually saved Oleg's life: his wife did not manage to poison him to the end. Meanwhile, Tamara stubbornly rejected all the accusations in her usual boorish manner, which, however, did not prevent the search in her house.

At first, he did not bring any results. And when the detectives were already preparing to admit their defeat, the expert (the same one that Ivanyutina interfered with in the kitchen) drew attention to a small bedside table. Here the poisoner became visibly nervous and hurried to say that there was a sewing machine in the bedside table, which she inherited from her mother-in-law. During her examination, the expert found a bottle of machine oil and drew attention to the fact that it was too heavy for its contents. Indeed, it was not oil at all, but Clerici's solution.

Soon after, the bodies of Oleg Ivanyutin's parents were exhumed - traces of thallium also appeared in their tissues. Realizing that she had been taken to clean water, the poisoner spoke and with undisguised pleasure told the detectives how she added poison to the victims. It turned out that the soup and liver, due to which the students and school staff were hospitalized, were intended for the head of the canteen. After the death of the dietary Kukarenko, he ordered a lock to be hung on the pantry door, and carried the keys with him. This angered Ivanyutina: she injected thallium into an orange and carried it to the head.

However, he refused the fruit, and the poisoner had a new plan. Knowing that one day the head will take part in the school meeting and be late with lunch, Ivanyutina added poison to the food left after the main distribution of food. But along with the manager that day, schoolchildren were late for lunch, who helped the supply manager drag chairs from the warehouse to the dining room. Ivanyutina calmly watched as children and adults ate a poisoned lunch: the fact that the innocent would suffer did not bother her at all.

Soon after the arrest of the “Kiev poisoner”, the same laboratory assistant of the geological exploration expedition was found, who 11 years ago gave Tamara Ivanyutina and her parents about 0,5 liters of the Clerici solution. According to the laboratory assistant, members of the Maslenko family turned to her for "poison for rats" nine times.

Poisoner bullet

During the investigation, it turned out that Nina, the sister of Tamara Ivanyutina, also actively used poison. With the help of him, she sent her 69-year-old husband to the other world, who had previously registered her in his apartment on Heroiv Stalingrad Street in Kyiv. His death did not alert the doctors - they attributed it to old age. And around the time when Tamara Ivanyutina was under arrest, her mother tried to kill her neighbor - she envied her increased disability pension.

Maria Maslenko presented pancakes with thallium to her neighbor. She was saved by a miracle: according to some sources, she was late with tea drinking, according to others, she had already heard about Maslenko's poisoner daughter and did not dare to try the treat. Be that as it may, a couple of pancakes went to the cat. Watching the pet die in agony, the woman realized that they were trying to poison her. This conjecture was confirmed by experts in the police, to whom the pensioner took the pancakes.

Soon, the Maslenkos and their daughter Nina went to the pre-trial detention center after Tamara Ivanyutina: they did not deny their guilt. Anton Maslenko even agreed to take part in the investigative experiment - the investigators were haunted by the story of the blackened chicken egg. However, the answer turned out to be simple: before picking up the egg, Maslenko held a vial of thallium - and the protein instantly turned black after reacting with the heavy metal. After that, the accused quickly stuffed the poisoned egg into his mouth and ate it, much to the surprise of the detectives.

As the investigation established, 40 people suffered at the hands of the Maslenko family, 13 of whom died. For these crimes, Anton and Maria Maslenko received 13 and 10 years in prison, while both did not live to the end of their terms. Their daughter Nina spent 15 years behind bars and disappeared when she was released. As for Tamara Ivanyutina, she did not believe until the very end that she would be punished. On the contrary, the "poisoner of Kyiv" hoped to pay off the investigators and promised them "a lot of gold."

But when Ivanyutina realized that the detectives could not be bribed, she immediately retracted her testimony and stated that all the confessions had been beaten out of her by force. However, this did not help: in 1987, she was found guilty of 20 cases of poisoning, 9 of which were fatal. The poisoner became the third and last woman in the USSR sentenced to death. Tamara Ivanyutina received her bullet in the back of the head in the Lukyanovsky pre-trial detention center in Kyiv in the same 1987.

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