Police in Saint Petersburg on Saturday arrested a illustrious Russian historian on suspicion of murdering a dilapidated scholar after he was as soon as hauled out of a river with a backpack containing a woman's fingers, authorities said.
It is thought that Prof Sokolov was drunk and fell into the river as he tried to dispose of the severed limbs. Sokolov was hospitalized on Saturday for hypothermia but on Sunday was taken to a police station for questioning.
Police discovered the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, with whom Sokolov had co-authored a number of works, and a blood-stained saw at his home. Police reportedly later found the corpse in his bloodstained apartment.
Sokolov was awarded the Order of Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian decoration, in 2003 by France's then-President Jacques Chirac for his studies on Napoleon.
In May 2018, the Russian outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets published an anonymous story by one of Sokolov's students who accused the professor of beating and bullying her and torturing her with an iron ten years earlier.
On Thursday, Sokolov allegedly killed his purported lover in an act of jealous rage, according to unconfirmed claims, cited by the media. He was well-known for re-enacting historical battles.
He is said to have planned to get rid of the body before publicly committing suicide dressed as Napoleon.
"He has admitted his guilt", Sokolov's lawyer Alexander Pochuev told AFP, adding he regretted what he had done and was now cooperating.
Sokolov was also a member of Lyon-based Institute of Social Science, Economics and Politics (ISSEP).
Attorney Aleksandr Pochuyev said on November 9 that his client, Oleg Sokolov, had "signed a plea bargain deal".
Issep was founded by Marion Maréchal, the niece of far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen and a former lawmaker for the far-right National Front party.