Share This Article

In an event equal parts horrific and bizarre, Oleg Sokolov, an assistant professor of history at Saint Petersburg State University, and one of Russia’s most prominent scholarly reenactors of the Napoleonic Wars, has been charged in the murder of one of his former students, Anastasia Yeshchenko.

Sokolov was fished out of the Moika River early Saturday morning, November 9. Drunk and near hypothermia, he was found holding a backpack that contained the severed arms of what is believed to be the 24-year-old Yeschenko, the Washington Post reports.

Yeschenko’s dismembered and decapitated body was found in Sokolov’s apartment after he was arrested. Sokolov’s lawyer told Tass news agency the professor confessed to the killing. In a fit of rage on Thursday, Sokolov allegedly shot Yeschenko with a period piece sawed-off shotgun before dismembering and attempting to dispose of the remains.“He told police that the task made him physically ill, and he drank heavily to keep himself at it. He might have jumped into the Moika, which is shallow enough to stand in, when the backpack didn’t sink, or he might have been so drunk that he toppled in accidentally. Both versions have been reported,” according to the Washington Post.

Even more peculiar, Sokolov, an expert in French revolutionary military history, planned on dressing in his Napoleon Bonaparte costume and taking his life at St. Petersburg’s Peter and Paul Fortress shortly after the murder took place.

 Lawyer Alexander Pochuev said Sokolov has signed a statement of guilt, telling the judge on Monday that he “repent[s] deeply.”