Cliburn winner’s wife is indicted for two murders

Cliburn winner’s wife is indicted for two murders


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2016

Sofya Tsygankova, 32, estranged wife of Vadym Kholodenko, has been indicted in a Texas court for the capital murder by suffocation on March 17 of their two daughters, Michaela and Nika, aged five and one year old.

She pleaded not guilty and was returned to jail, with bond set at $2 million.

Report here.


Kholodenko, in a Los Angeles interview, said he finds meaning in the music of Scriabin, who also suffered the loss of several children. ‘His personal tragedies and the way he kept going through them are perfect examples of a strong spirit inside the man, and I thought about that a lot during the past few months. In any case, I believe that music is not necessarily obliged to express feelings in our human sense. Playing the music of Scriabin has a different meaning for me, and I don’t implicate here my own intrinsic feelings and experience. Everyone has his own path of life, and we all should go through whatever life gives to us with dignity.’


  • John says:

    Good. Let’s hope she suffers for murdering her children.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      I can think of no greater crime than murdering one’s own children.

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Most likely she is mentally ill. She was taking an antipsychotic medication. I hope she gets the help she needs and somehow comes through on the other end, but Texas is a harsh state.

      • John says:

        Are you actually trying to justify the murders of two children? Disgusting.

        • Cyril Blair says:

          Nope. Just saying there may be mitigating circumstances.

          “mitigating circumstances. n. in criminal law, conditions or happenings which do not excuse or justify criminal conduct, but are considered out of mercy or fairness in deciding the degree of the offense the prosecutor charges or influencing reduction of the penalty upon conviction.” (

          • Marilyn Quinn says:

            I agree with you. Thanks for your compassion and sympathy. It is a tragedy for all.

        • John says:

          No. You were saying you hope she ‘comes through on the other end’, i.e., gets away with murdering her children.

          • Cyril Blair says:

            You think you are a mind reader, but you’re a bad one. That’s not what I meant. What I meant was I hope she isn’t utterly destroyed by this. Either she gets a sentence that takes into account her mental illness and treats it, or if she is found guilty and not insane, that the state doesn’t kill her.

          • John says:

            So you hope she doesn’t get the punishment she deserves…

          • Marilyn Quinn says:

            The real punishment should be for the miserably inadequate system of providing mentally ill people with the care they need. After closing all the mental health hospitals a few decades ago, which had been allowed to become full of problems, the government did not and still does not have adequate facilities for in-patient care and monitoring for out-patient patients.
            It is always hard to think about reducing punishment for people such as this poor woman, because of the terrible act she committed in a delusional state. She will one day know what she has done and be punished by that. In prison she might get better health care, since we now lock many of the mentally ill in prisons. But will that be the best solution? It is of course the easy solution. The U.S. needs to reform its prisons as well as its mental healthcare. (Getting an appointment with a psychiatrist can be frustrating…. often making people wait a week or two.)

    • George Porter says:

      I suppose it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the killings took place while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

      According to the Daily Mail (March 23):
      “Tsygankova had a history of mental illness and had visited a Mental Health and Mental Retardation facility in Fort Worth on the day before her daughters were discovered, says the affidavit.

      She was found kneeling on the floor wearing a blood-stained nightgown and ‘rocking back and forth,’ the affidavits say. She had wounds on her wrist and chest, and a butcher knife was found near the home’s patio.

      An empty prescription bottle of anti-psychotic drug Quetiapine – used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – were also found inside the home.”

  • Esfir Ross says:

    Scryabin A. left his wife and four children and didn’t help them much.

  • Respect says:

    Poor babies. Such a fate. Yes, Texas will no doubt put her on the execution list.

  • Dave T says:

    All this talk about Texas-this and Texas-that, and psychoses, and such, but not a word of sympathy for Mr. Kholodenko? The man just lost his daughters, now he has to face the fact that his wife is either a felon or insane.

    Poor guy.

    • Marilyn Quinn says:

      I feel for him, but he probably had some idea that his wife had serious problems. I wonder if he had tried to do anything to make it safer and beneficial to all. If she has either bi-p olar or schizophrenia, then she probably has exhibited symptoms, and he probably knew about it all. These two diseases are exceedingly hard to treat. I doubt if most law-enforcers have any clue. There are many issues at play here and many victims.

  • If a y of you really care about this family and what happened to them why don’t you help us stop this insanity before more die? I have given everything I have time, money, literally everything for 25 years working to put an end to this. This was caused by Zoloft and Seroquel like so many others in this database we have built http://www.SSRIstories.NET. She clearly stated she remembered overdosing on a suicide attempt (a listed side effect of both drugs). The problem is that when you overdose on these drugs the brain basically dies before the body and you do things you would never do. This is why she has little memory of what happened. It can produce a sleep disorder, REM Sleep Disorder, in which you act out nightmares and known to include both out of character murder and suicide. These are very deadly drugs and without them these little girls and many more children would still be alive.

    • Marilyn Quinn says:

      She was clearly mentally ill. Unless you have actually suffered from depression, it is hard to describe and understand such tragedies. It sounds like she might be suffering from postpartum depression. She shouldn’t have had the second child, as it seems to worsen with every succeeding pregnancy. Zoloft gave me a new life after months of depression. I have been on it for about 16 years. There are others in my family who have also benefited from either Zoloft or Prozac. One of the problems in the U.S. is the lack of mental health coverage by insurance, so that many who are suffering do not see a psychiatrist. A really good psychiatrist monitors closely and makes sure the initial side effects are treated… and this could mean at least 30 days of waiting. I felt instantly better, but a bit of agitation went away. It is a crime not to make these drugs available, but also the lack of good treatment is at fault.

  • George Porter says:

    Beware quacks.