Published: Sun, November 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russia's Napoleon expert confesses to chopping up lover

Russia's Napoleon expert confesses to chopping up lover

Professor Oleg Sokolov was arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder after he was dragged from a freezing river carrying two severed arms in a backpack.

Sokolov was a well-known Napoleon expert, who had previously taught at Paris's Sorbonne 2003, published a book on Napoleonic tactics and history titled l'Armee de Napoleon.

Police discovered the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, with whom Sokolov had co-authored a number of works, at his home.

"He has admitted his guilt", his lawyer Alexander Pochuyev told AFP, adding that he regretted what he had done and was now cooperating.

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

Late on Friday night, Sokolov went to the river to sink parts of the body but could not make the backpack sink, media said, citing investigators.

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

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The scholar was particularly fond of dressing up as Napoleon and had dressed up as the French leader on the night of his arrest because he had planned to take his own life in a very public fashion outside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, according to a suicide letter seen by 47 News.

Investigators opened a criminal case after the man was pulled out of the Moika River, a waterway in the heart of the historic city, early Saturday morning (local time).

Students described Sokolov as both a talented lecturer who spoke French and could impersonate the French emperor and his generals and a "freak" who called his lover "Josephine" and asked to be addressed as "Sire".

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

Sokolov was also a member of France's Institute of Social Science, Economics and Politics (ISSEP), but on Saturday the society announced in a statement that he had been stripped of his position on its scientific committee.

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

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

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