SAINT PETERSBURG: A prominent Saint Petersburg-based Napoleon expert has confessed to murdering his young lover and former student and dismembering her body in a grisly crime that sent shock waves across Russia.
Oleg Sokolov, a 63-year-old history lecturer who received France’s Legion d’Honneur from Jacques Chirac in 2003, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of murder after he was hauled out of the icy Moika River with a backpack containing a woman’s arms.
“He has admitted his guilt,” Sokolov’s lawyer Alexander Pochuev said, adding he regretted what he had done and was cooperating. A court on Monday will decide whether to arrest the historian, who was being treated for hypothermia in a hospital.
Sokolov was reportedly drunk and fell into the Moika, a tributary of the Neva, in central Saint Petersburg as he tried to dispose of body parts near the offices of investigators.
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.
Sokolov teaches history at Saint Petersburg State University, President Vladimir Putin’s alma mater, and was close to the Russian authorities.
Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019