Friday, 03 July, 2020

Russian Napoleon-expert found drunk in river with student’s severed arms

Russian Napoleon-expert found drunk in river with student’s severed arms Russian Napoleon-expert found drunk in river with student’s severed arms
Deanna Wagner | 10 November, 2019, 22:43

Saint Petersburg State University professor Oleg Sokolov, 63, was arrested Saturday at the Moika River when he tried to dispose of the remains of his 24-year-old former student Anastasia Yeshchenko, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Sokolov's lawyer, Alexander Pochuyev, told Russian news agency Interfax that he had acted under "some sort of strong influence".

Mr Pochuyev said Prof Sokolov - who has been receiving hospital treatment for hypothermia - may have been under stress.

Reports said Sokolov had been given France's Legion of Honour award for his work. But Russian media reports note that Sokolov was born in 1956 and suggested that Sokolov had fallen into the river while he was intoxicated.

Sokolov reportedly told police that he killed his lover during an argument and then sawed off her head, arms and legs, the BBC reported.

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

Some students said he was a "freak" who called his lover "Josephine" (Napoleon's first wife) and asked to be addressed as "Sire".

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.

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Both he and Ms Yeshchenko studied French history and enjoyed wearing period costumes, with Prof Sokolov dressing up as Napoleon.

It added that law enforcement officials were also looking into media reports that Mr Sokolov beat some of his students.

Investigators didn't title the person however police chatting with AFP recognized him as Sokolov.

Sokolov was a senior member of the Russian Military-Historical Society headed by Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

"We learn with horror. the atrocious crime of which Oleg Sokolov is guilty", the institute said in a statement.

"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 terrible act".

ISSEP was founded by Marion Marechal, the niece of Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party.