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Russian Napeolonic reenactor found in river with bag carrying woman’s severed arms: reports

WATCH ABOVE: Russian man facing murder charge after being found drunk with severed arms in backpack

A prominent Russian history professor was charged with murder after he was found in a river with a backpack allegedly containing a woman’s severed arms.

Oleg Sokolov, a 63-year-old history professor at St. Petersburg State University known for his reenactments of Napoleon Bonaparte, was pulled out of St. Petersburg’s Moika River early Saturday.

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Russian media reports citing authorities allege that he either stumbled into the river while he was drunk, or had jumped into a part of the river shallow enough for a person to stand, in an attempt to dispose of the body parts in his bag.

Passersby along the riverbank heard his cries in the early morning, alerting police to what would become a gruesome discovery.

At least 52 inmates dead, 16 decapitated during prison riot at Brazil jail
At least 52 inmates dead, 16 decapitated during prison riot at Brazil jail

The arms allegedly found in Sokolov’s backpack are suspected to be those of his former student and lover, 24-year-old Anastasia Yeschenko.

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Authorities say they found her decapitated head and body in Sokolov’s apartment — just a few houses down from where he was taken out of water.

(FILE) – Members of military history clubs wearing 1812-era Russian military-style uniforms march take part in a historical festival to mark the 180th anniversary of the Moscow Triumphal Gates in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Oct. 13, 2018.
(FILE) – Members of military history clubs wearing 1812-era Russian military-style uniforms march take part in a historical festival to mark the 180th anniversary of the Moscow Triumphal Gates in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Oct. 13, 2018. EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

After recovering from hypothermia in the Mariinsky Hospital, Sokolov was questioned by police Sunday, reports say.

Russian media, citing his lawyer Alexander Pochuev, said that he has since signed a statement of guilt, confessing to the killing.

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Sokolov told authorities that he had shot and killed Yeschenko over an argument Thursday, hiding the body behind a closed door while he entertained guests the following day, according to the Washington Post.

Yeschenko’s head, arms and legs were also dismembered in an attempt to dispose of her body much easier — an act that Sokolov told police made him so physically ill that he had to drink heavily in order to keep going, the Post went on to report.

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Sokolov then planned to make his way to the Peter and Paul Fortress, a popular tourist destination, in an attempt to dramatically commit suicide Sunday dressed as Napoleon, according to the Guardian, which cited local reports.

A picture of Oleg V. Sokolov and Anastasia Yeshchenko, dressed in period costume.
A picture of Oleg V. Sokolov and Anastasia Yeshchenko, dressed in period costume. via Vk.com/against_tartuffe

An author of several books detailing Napoleon’s military conquest, Sokolov was known particularly for his work on French military history. He has previously been awarded France’s Legion of Honour for his work.

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His students told AFP that he was a talented lecturer, but was also a “freak” who asked his lover to address him as “sire.” Both he and Yeschenko enjoyed wearing period costumes, with Sokolov frequently dressing up as Napoleon.

According to CNN, Russian news agencies also reported that divers investigating the case found the remains of another person in the Moika River.

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Rescuers examine the bottom of the Moika River where the remains of a student killed by Oleg Sokolov were found in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 10, 2019.
Rescuers examine the bottom of the Moika River where the remains of a student killed by Oleg Sokolov were found in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 10, 2019. EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Russian news agency TASS said that the newly discovered remains have not been identified but are presumed to belong to a man. It is still unclear if they are related to Sokolov’s case.

— with files from the Associated Press