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We are both killers, you and I. Tell me, are there not children on your conscience, Leo? You knew what you were doing, and you chose to do it. But me, I can't help it!
~ Vladimir Malevich explaining himself to Leo Demidov.
I bet you like sweets, don't you?
~ Vladimir Malevich luring a young boy into his clutches.

Vladimir Malevich is the main antagonist of the 2015 thriller film Child 44, which is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Rob Smith. He is a pedophile and serial killer who preys on young boys in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. He is loosely based upon the late serial killer Andrei Chikatilo.

He was portrayed by Paddy Considine.

Biography

Early life

An orphan, Malevich grew up in poverty during the Holodomor famine, when Joseph Stalin's regime purposely starved millions of Ukrainians to death. He survived by eating insects, rodents, and cats he hunted in the forests. It is also implied that he resorted to cannibalism.

He served in the Russian Army as a surgeon during World War II, and was captured by the Nazis and held as a prisoner of war for two years. After the war, he became a tractor factory worker, but led a secret life as a serial killer of young boys.

Child 44

Malevich trolls railway stations after work looking for runaways and homeless children who will not be missed. After approaching his victims, he drugs them with candy laced with sedatives, and then sexually abuses, mutilates, and murders them. Afterwards, he subjects himself to a crude form of waterboarding both as a means of punishing himself and as sexual stimulation. By 1953, he has murdered 44 children, killing with impunity because the Soviet government refuses to acknowledge that serial murder could occur in a Communist "paradise".

While he terrorizes the USSR for years as a serial killer, he is a nobody in his everyday life, socially inept and ignored by virtually everyone he knows, especially his wife and son. It is implied that he preys on children because he finds adults too intimidating,

After Malevich murders the son of Ministry of State Security (MGB) investigator Leo Demidov's old friend Alexei Andreyev, Demidov becomes obsessed with finding the killer, to the point that his superiors demote him for challenging the official account of the boy's death as an accident. He nevertheless persists in hunting the killer, covertly aided by his superior, General Nesterov. Demidov theorizes that the killer lives and works in Rostov-on-Don, where most of the bodies were found, and investigates the factory where Malevich works. He identifies Malevich as the killer after cross-referencing workers' travel assignments with the location and date of the murders.

Malevich senses that Demidov is on to him, and flees his workplace, with Demidov and his wife Reisa in pursuit. They corner him in the nearby woods, where he claims that he cannot control his homicidal urges, and calls Demidov a hypocrite for condemning him as a murderer when he himself has killed in the line of duty. Moments later, MGB investigator and Demidov's nemesis, Vasily Nikitin, shoots Malevich dead to prevent the presence of a serial killer in the USSR becoming public knowledge.

Afterwards, Demidov's superiors give him and Nesterov high-ranking positions in the newly formed Ministry of Internal Affairs. In return, they tow the official line that the Nazis had "turned" Malevich while holding him prisoner during the war, and ordered him to murder Russian children as part of a plot to undermine the Soviet state.

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