Women’s History #4–Saltychikha

A look into history from the perspective of the Old Professor….

Let’s go to Russia who has had a wealth of “evil” men…..like Ivan the Terrible and Stalin…..how about women?

History has its “Bad” women…..those that tell the starving to eat cake…or those that worked as guards in prison camps……but for this post I would like to write about Russia’s evilest woman….Daria Saltykova of 18th century Russia.

When one thinks about serial killers, it’s usually male figures that first come to mind. But history knows no shortage of cruel women – just remember the famous Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who killed hundreds of young women between 1585-1609.

Well, a noblewoman with a similar inclination also lived in Russia in the 18th century. Her name was Daria Saltykova, but the people referred to her simply “Saltychikha”, pointing to her notorious nature, which turned her into a somewhat mythical figure in the collective Russian mind.

It was proven that, in 1756-1762, she killed at least 38 of her serfs, with the number likely being a lot higher. Witnesses spoke of 138 deaths in total, but her involvement was never confirmed. Among her victims were mainly young women whom she would beat with whips, bats and logs, tear their hair, burn with a hot iron, starve, freeze or drown to death.

Even when she was still alive, people used to spread scary stories and rumors about her taking baths in victims’ blood and eating babies.

So who was this woman and why had the authorities failed to capture her for so many years? And, most importantly, what drove her desire to kill and mutilate?

https://www.rbth.com/history/331778-saltychikha-story

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