Russian Historian Arrested After Woman's Arms Found In His Backpack

Nellie Chapman
November 10, 2019

Sokolov's lawyer Alexander Pochuyev told Interfax on Sunday morning that his client had confessed to the murder of his former student.

Sokolov was detained on suspicion of murder while in hospital receiving treatment for hypothermia, but it was later announced that he had entered into a plea bargain agreement, according to his lawyer.

His victim is reported to be Anastasia Yeshchenko, with whom Prof Sokolov had co-written a number of works.

But he was busted by police after he fell in the river while intoxicated, according to the report.

After disposing of the corpse he reportedly planned to commit suicide at the Peter and Paul Fortress, one of the former imperial capital's most famous landmarks, dressed as Napoleon.

The historian, who also taught at the Sorbonne, is the author of books on French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

Students at the university have since described Sokolov as a "freak", stating he would often do impression of Napoleon and would call his lover "Josephine".

He acted as a consultant on several films and took part in historical re-enactments of Napoleonic wars.

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In another development, while search and rescue teams dove into the Moika river in an attempt to retrieve Yeshchenko's body parts, another body was found and a separate criminal investigation has been opened.

Reports say Sokolov liked dressing up as Napoleon and impersonating the former French emperor.

Prof Sokolov reportedly told police that he killed his lover during an argument and then sawed off her head, arms and legs. Local media reported that he was drunk when he was found.

A spokeswoman for the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honour, speaking to AFP, indicated that Sokolov might be stripped of his award.

He was president of the Russian Association of Military History and is now a member of the body's scientific council.

"Sokolov acted under some sort of strong influence, for now we can only make assumptions", Pochuyev said.

"As professor of modern history at the University of Saint Petersburg. awarded the French Légion d'Honneur, we would never have imagined that he could have committed this frightful act".

ISSEP was founded by Marine Le Pen's niece, Marion Marechal.

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