A leading Russian military historian and acclaimed expert on Napoleon was jailed for twelve-and-a-half years today for murdering and dismembering his student lover.
Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, throwing her body parts in Moika River in St Petersburg.
Her severed head was found wrapped in an IKEA plastic bag in his plush apartment, while her torso and legs were all dredged from the river.
Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, throwing her body parts in Moika River in St Petersburg
Anastasia Yeschenko was murdered by the Russian military historian in St Petersburg
Police recovered a weapon they believe was used to kill the young student
The once distinguished academic – who had lectured at the Sorbonne and held France’s distinguished Legion of Honour – has admitted his life is now in ruins as he is sent to a strict regime prison colony.
He remained impassive in a mask as he was sentenced by a St Petersburg court.
Historian Sokolov, a professor at Vladimir Putin’s former St Petersburg State University, and his PhD student lover Yeschenko took part in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historic regalia.
‘He shot her, then tried to strangle her, but she continued showing signs of life so he shot her again,’ said the judge, Yulia Maksimenko.
He killed his lover with a total of four shots – one through the right eye – from a sawn-off Soviet-era TOZ-17 stylised as a 19th century cavalry gun.
Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, right, was photographed with Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, at a ball before her brutal murder
After killing her and before butchering her body, he had a party with friends.
‘His friends visited him, they all drank cognac,’
At the time her corpse was stashed under a bed.
Later he beheaded and dismembered the corpse in the bathroom of his plush apartment.
Sokolov used a saw and knife to dismember the body in his bathroom, according to the judge, who said the academic was mentally sane and ‘lied’ in his account of the murder.
He was caught when he was found in the icy water of the Moika River trying to dispose of his lover’s arms – chopped ff at the shoulder – which were in his backpack.
An ‘exhuasted’ Sokolov suspected her of cheating on him, and became violent when she told him she intended to go to a friend’s birthday party.
She had told him her ‘freedom must one respected’, but the judge said the partners with a 40 year age gap were fiercely jealous.
This triggered an argument that led to her death, during which she shouted: ‘I hate you.
‘Get out of the way, let me go.’
Sokolov used a saw and knife to dismember the body in his bathroom, according to the judge, who said the academic was mentally sane and ‘lied’ in his account of the murder
He claimed she had ‘insulted’ his children from earlier relationships, and attacked him, but the judge denied she ‘posed a threat’ when he shot her.
Earlier Sokolov had told the trial: ‘I want to express deep and complete remorse for what I have done.
‘I not only believe that I must be punished, I want to be punished to atone for the crime I committed.’
He said Anastasia was ‘the love of my life’ and that if her mother was present in court he would offer to bend on his knees and allow her to shoot him.
She was given permission by the judge not to attend the trial due to the harrowing evidence.
After he killed her, Sokolov bought a new IKEA mattress to hide Yeschenko’s blood stains on the old one.
The academic had relationships with at least two other female students who testified to him being ‘controlling’ with an ‘extreme temper.’
The victim’s remains were identified by her father Oleg Yeschenko, said the judge.