Vinnichevsky-bar

Russian teenager Vladimir Vinnichevsky (1923-1940) murdered several children and left behind an encrypted note. Can a reader make sense of it?

Encrypted notes from criminals and crime victims have always been among the most popular topics in crypto history. Among the most notable are:

Zodiac-Lego-bar

Debosnys-Hang-bar

Mccormick-Bar

Somerton-Man-Bar

Brucia-Smith-Cryptogram-bar

There’s much more. It would be no problem to fill a whole book with criminal cases involving encryption.

 

The Vinnichevsky case

A case that is not covered in the crypto literature I know is the one of Russian teenage child murderer Vladimir Vinnichevsky (1923-1940).

Vinnichevsky-photo

As it seems, all online information avaiblabe about the Vinnichevsky case is in Russian. Here’s a Russian web-site (you might want to look at it in the Google Translate version).

Vladimir Vinnichevsky was executed in 1940. He had been found guilty of the abduction of 17 children. His victims were between two and four years old. He killed eight children by strangling or stabbings, nine more were seriously injured.

Vinnichevsky-murders

The Vinnichevsky Cryptogram

In Vladimir Vinnichevsky’s possession the police found a piece of paper that is referred to as “encrypted note” on the web-site linked above.

Vinnichevsky-note

According to the web-site, this note represents a numbered list of the crimes Vinnichevsky committed. I haven’t found any further information about this sheet. As it seems, it is not known what the notes mean. The text might be a mixture of words, abbreviations and code expressions.

Can a reader make sense of this cryptogram? Does anybody know more about this murder case that seems to be fairly unknown in the Western world?

Further reading: When Encryption Baffles the Police: A Collection of Cases

Kommentare (27)

  1. #1 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Ich kann den Zettel zwar transkribieren, aber nur z.T. übersetzen/deuten. Der Zettel enthält Abkürzungen; ein Abkürzungsverzeichnis habe ich nicht, daher vorläufig nur:

    I) U.P.K.I.O. dez.
    bei dez. kann es sich um eine Abkürzung handeln, sagt mir aber nichts. Falls der Verfasser Rechtschreibprobleme hatte, könnte es eine Abkürzung für “djetski”, also “Kinder-” sein

    II) dez.

    III) rjad bedeutet “Reihe” … schk. dürfte die Abkürzung für” schkola” also “Schule” sein; dann folgt wieder “dez.”

    IV) sad bedeutet “Garten” (Wenn man dez. als djetzki deutet und vor sad setzt, hieße das “Kindergarten”)
    Es folgt: “.m”

    V) gor. dürfte die Abkürzung für “gorod” = “Stadt” sein;
    dann kommt “Blog” (bei dem g bin ich mir nicht ganz sicher. Bei Rechtschreibproblemen könnte es als “Blok” zu deuten sein, also im Sinne von Häuserblock.
    Es folgt: “.m.”

    VI) uwos kann mit “Entführung” odetr “Abtranspor”t übersetzt werden
    Es folgt “.m.”

    VII) schartatskaja ul.: “ul” ist die Abkürzung für “uliza”, also “Straße”, so dass es Schartatskaja-Straße heißen dürfte

    VIII) pion. dürfte eine Abkürzung für “pionjer”, also “Pionier” sein
    Es folgt “poe . d”.
    “poe” ist wohl auch eine Abkürzung, könnte für “pojesd”, also “Zug” stehen

    IX) wis . d

  2. #2 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    @Thomas
    Danke, das sind interessante Ansätze.

  3. #3 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Ich vermute, dass auf dem Zettel (jedenfalls überwiegend) die Orte genannt sind, an denen Winnitschewski die Kinder angetroffen hatte, die er ermordet hat. Die Schartatskaja uliza ist eine Straße in Jekaterinburg (damals Sverdlovsk). Im Übrigen sind wohl Häuserblocks bzw. -reihen, eine Schule und ein (Kinder-)garten angegeben (wobei eine Schule nicht ganz zum Alter der Opfer passen würde, die höchstens vier Jahre alt gewesen sein sollen).

    Die Abkürzungen “m” (IV, V, VI) und “d” (VIII, IX)dürften maltschik (Junge) und djewotschka (Mädchen) bedeuten.

  4. #4 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Die Abkürzung U.P.K.I.O. konnte ich nicht aufschlüsseln. Leider kann ich nicht auf russisch googeln, weil ich nur einen lateinischen Zeichensatz habe. Zwar kann man in dem russischen Abkürzungsverzeichnis sokr.ru auch lateinische Buchstaben eingeben, diese Abkürzung ist aber nicht enthalten. Es könnte sich vielleicht um eine nur damals gebräuchliche Abkürzung für eine Einrichtung/Institution o.ä. handeln.

  5. #5 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Es war ein Lesefehler: Die Abkürzung unter I) lautet: “Z.P.K.I.O.” und steht für “Zentralny Park Kultury i Otdycha” (Zentraler Park für Kultur und Erholung), also einen Park in Jekaterinburg.

  6. #6 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Super, dann ist ja ein großer Teil des Zettels bereits entschlüsselt.

  7. #7 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Alexander Ulyanenkov via Facebook:

    His notes are not encripted (ciphered) – these are abbreviations. 1-st one is ЦПКИ – Central park of culture and relaxetion (as Gorky park in Moscow). II – most probably “children”. marked as III – near to the schooll (yard) IV – probably kinder garten. V – sity … (need to see more letters). VI- take kid. VII – Shartash (name of the lake in Ekaterinburg). VIII – pioner …

  8. #8 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Korrektur zu VII): Die Straße heißt “Schartaschskaya uliza” (nach dem Schartasch-See in der Stadt)

  9. #9 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Alexander Ulyanenkov via Facebook:

    In addition “м.” – means kid.; ” geц” and “g” – means “детский” (in his notes there is a mistake – “децкий” (used “ц” instead “тс” – very common mistake for people with basic education) – that always means “children”

  10. #10 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Alexander Ulyanenkov via Facebook:

    Sorry “g.” can be also in the meaning “девочка” – girl

  11. #11 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Ergänzung zu VIII:
    “pion.” steht wohl für “Pionerski”, einen 1925 angelegten Wohnbezirk der Eisenbahnerkooperative in Jekaterinburg (russ. Wiki)

    “dez.” sehe ich auch als Rechtschreibfehler (richtig wäre “dets.” für detski = “Kinder-“)

  12. #12 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Elitsa Velinska via Facebook:

    Number 7 is Шарташская улица (Shartashskaya Street)

  13. #13 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Elitsa Velinska via Facebook:

    Number 8 is probably Pionerskii Dvorets – center for Pioneers – communist youth

  14. #14 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Alexander Ulyanenkov via Facebook:

    No. Most probably – Pionerskiy poselok (village).

  15. #15 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Elitsa Velinska via Facebook:

    could be

  16. #16 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Elitsa Velinska via Facebook:

    The murders happened in Yekaterinburg (Свердло́вск – Sverdlovsk at the time) – there is still Shartashskaya street there today. There is also Dvorets detskogo tvorchestva – propably Pionerskii dvorets at the time

  17. #17 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    Elitsa Velinska via Facebook:

    He drew maps of the crimes – I agree with Alexander – these looks like abbreviations of places in town.

  18. #18 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    Can the map be provided in this blog without Facebook-account?

    I agree that “pion.” in VIII) means the Pionerski district (russ. poselok). That could explain “poe.”: “poe” as an abbreviation of “poezd” makes no sense because in Pionerski district there ist no railway station etc. Maybe this was also – like in “dez.” – a spelling mistake and the “s” in poselok was omitted.

    In VI) “uwos” seemes to mean abduction; here no location is mentioned.

    What do you think of “Blog (?)” in IV)? Maybe (spelling mistake) “blok” (a block of houses)? What is “wis” in IX)? Maybe “wisg” = screaming? (According to the article the murderer was afraid of his victims screaming).

  19. #19 Klaus Schmeh
    23. August 2016

    >Can the map be provided in this blog
    >without Facebook-account?
    Yes, I added a new link to #17.

  20. #20 Thomas
    23. August 2016

    The map shows how he took a girl from a shack to a location near the park of culture and recreation.

  21. #21 tomtoo
    24. August 2016

    das ist grusselig :(

  22. #22 Klaus Schmeh
    24. August 2016

    David Heath via Facebook:

    If you translate the comments on the page, it sounds like the consensus is that it’s a list written using shorthand. Bookies sometimes do something similar (as they need to write quick and the obfuscation provides some minimal security – there was some famous crime scene note that people thought was a cipher, but was actually shorthand), and wouldn’t be too uncommon for a teen of 16 or 17 years like poor Vlad was (the case was the same with the other note, a high school or college kid who probably didn’t have too much understanding of ciphers). From gleaning the comments it’s a list of where he met his victims.

  23. #23 Klaus Schmeh
    24. August 2016

    @David Heath:
    I don’t think it’s a shorthand, it’s abbreviated Russian (Cyrillic)

    >there was some famous crime scene note that
    >people thought was a cipher, but was actually
    >shorthand
    I have never heard of this case. Could you please provide me some information about it?

  24. #24 Thomas
    24. August 2016

    Yes, it’s neither shorthand nor cipher, it’s “plaintext” Russian. Some words are abbreviated and might be misspelled so that you have to guess what is meant, that’s the problem:

    I) Central Park of Culture and Recreation children-
    II) children –
    III) near school children –
    IV) garden boy
    V) city block (?) boy
    VI) abduction boy
    VII) Shartashskaya street
    VIII) Pionerski district girl
    IX) screaming(?) girl

  25. #25 tomtoo
    24. August 2016

    jetzt ist mir übel. manch dinge will man garnicht wissen

  26. #26 Jerry McCarthy
    England
    25. August 2016

    #9 or thereabouts :-)

    I just thought I’d mention that Russian handwriting looks quite different from the printed form. Script letters worth a specific mention are lowercase “d” (“д”) which looks like a “g”, and lowercase “t” (“т”) which looks somewhat like an “m”.

  27. #27 Thomas
    25. August 2016

    @ Jerry
    You’re right, there are some lowercase letters in Russian handwriting (not in printing) which are identical to letters in Latin handwriting, but have a different pronunciation: for example: b=v, g=d, m=t, p=r, u=i, y=u.