Stalin's Bloodiest Executioner Killed A Staggering Number Of People

The pages of 20th-century history are tragically stained with the blood of innocents numbering in the hundreds of millions. Between the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, Pol Pot's Cambodian genocide, Stalin's Communist Russia, and however many other tyrannical regimes/subsidiary wars of aggression that became lethally engorged on power and corruption over the past 100 or so years, we are bleakly reminded of how the depravity of mankind can usurp its better nature without proper hindrances laid in place. Absolute power and its vicious capacity to corrupt absolutely — as Lord Acton once warned in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton (per — is something of a tragic constant that has reared its ugly head throughout centuries.

According to International Business Times, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin is estimated to have ordered the deaths of between 20 million and 60 million people. His horrific legacy is instilled in our minds as one of the most heinous and inhuman constructs of cruelty to ever befall our species. Stalin commissioned his own secret police and society of assassins to carry out his perverse deviance while he ruled over Russia between 1929 and 1953. They acted on behalf of his centralized Communist government that seized the means of production and collective livelihood of the nation's citizenship. Millions who resisted died by execution and starvation, as History reports. Among those henchmen who killed without hesitation, one man stands out as the most terrible and cold-blooded of them all: Vasily Blokhin (via All That's Interesting). 

Vasily Blokhin, Stalin's chief executioner

According to History of Yesterday, Vasily Blokhin joined the Cheka (Russian secret police force) in 1921, which would eventually morph into the NKVD and later the infamous KGB. Stalin himself appointed Blokhin the chief of Kommandatura, an execution facility in Moscow where hundreds of thousands would meet their grisly ends. Blokhin was reputed to be a vivacious and effective killer, so he naturally drew the personal appeal of Stalin. Under his command at Kommandatura, farmers, peasants, political enemies, and countless others were brought before the barrel of his own gun and put to death for their malfeasance toward the Communist regime. 

Those who shared in the bloodshed reported Blokhin's disturbingly calm demeanor as he went about his vicious duty. Apparently, he extracted a profound sense of joy from killing that chilled even the most seasoned executioners at Kommandatura to the pallid bone. "An experienced executioner shoots in the neck, holding the barrel obliquely upwards," Blokhin once stated, as if he were describing how to properly wash a dish. "Then there is a chance that the bullet will come out through the eye or mouth," with less blood spilled than other shots. "If you kill 250 people a day, then cleaning the premises becomes a serious problem." That frightening figure is no exaggeration. As All That's Interesting reports, it wasn't unusual for Blokhin and two of his subordinates to execute around 300 prisoners a night while holding post near the town of Ostashkov in 1940. 

Vasily Blokhin killed nearly 20,000 people

Between Blokhin's time at Kommandatura, the Massacre at Katyn (in which he claimed to have shot 7,000 individuals himself over the course of 28 days, per All That's Interesting), and his various other posts as Stalin's bloodiest executioner, historians have attributed around 20,000 deaths to his name. He was granted the Order of the Red Banner after reports of his exploits at Katyn reached Stalin's ears. According to History of Yesterday, Blokhin would methodically kill for 10 hours straight each night and shot a prisoner every three or so minutes throughout those four weeks of horror.

In 1940, Vasily Blokhin was promoted to commander of State Security, as Counting Stars reports. His reign of terror lasted for years and would claim an astonishing number of lives. Even today, in the wake of however many killers of various breeds have come and gone, Blokhin is often labeled the most prolific killer in history.