Published: Sun, November 10, 2019

Russian professor questioned after severed arms found in backpack

Russian professor questioned after severed arms found in backpack

Police in Saint Petersburg on Saturday arrested a distinguished Russian historian on suspicion of murdering a former scholar after he was hauled out of a river with a backpack containing a girl's arms, authorities stated.

Oleg Sokolov, an expert on Napoleon, was rescued from the Moyka River in St Petersburg in the early hours of Saturday morning along with the backpack.

They then searched Sokolov's home, where they found the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, a former student at his university with whom he had co-authored a number of works.

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

Sokolov was brought to the hospital, where he is receiving treatment for hypothermia, the outlet reported.

A famous academic who was awarded France's Legion of Honour admitted to killing and dismembering his 24-year old student lover. But Russian media reports note that Sokolov was born in 1956 and suggested that Sokolov had fallen into the river while he was intoxicated.

Anastasia had been in a relationship with the historian, 63, when he "accidentally killed her" following an argument, according to the report which stated he had confessed to police.

His Police statement revealed that Sokolov is believed to have planned to get rid of the body, after which he would have committed suicide publicly while dressed as French statesman and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, local news outlet, 47, reported.

Sokolov has written several books on Napoleon.

Both he and his lover studied French history and liked to wear period costumes, with 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 did not name the man but police speaking to AFP identified him as Sokolov.

Sokolov was also a member of the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences (ISSEP) in Lyons, France, which has been described as a far-right academy.

"We learn with horror. the atrocious crime of which Oleg Sokolov is guilty.", it said.

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

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