Napoleon-obsessed Russian historian loses appeal against 12 years in prison for murdering student lover

Napoleon-obsessed Russian historian loses appeal against 12 years in prison for shooting and beheading his student lover

  • Professor Oleg Sokolov has lost an appeal against a 12-year prison sentence for murder
  • Russian military historian shot, beheaded his student lover Anastasia Yeschenko
  • He then threw the 24-year-old’s severed parts into the Moika River, St. Petersburg


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A Russian military historian and acclaimed Napoleon expert has lost his appeal to 12 years in prison for murdering and butchering his college sweetheart.

Professor Oleg Sokolov, 65, shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, and threw her severed body parts into the Moika River in Saint Petersburg.

Sokolov asked for a pardon, told the court he was remorseful and asked Yeschenko’s parents for “partial” forgiveness.

He claimed that the PhD student angered him by “insulting” his daughters from a previous relationship, causing him to “lose his head.”

But the lawyers of Yeschenko’s parents accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and demanded that his sentence remain unchanged. A judge confirmed the 12-year term.

Professor Oleg Sokolov, 65, (pictured in court during his appeal) has lost his appeal against a 12-year prison sentence for murdering and butchering his college sweetheart

Professor Oleg Sokolov, 65, (pictured in court during his appeal) has lost his appeal against a 12-year prison sentence for murdering and butchering his college sweetheart

Sokolov shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, and threw her severed body parts into St Petersburg's Moika River

Sokolov shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, and threw her severed body parts into St Petersburg's Moika River

Sokolov shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko (24) and threw her severed body parts into St Petersburg’s Moika River

Sokolov told the appeals court that the student angered him by “insulting” his daughters from a previous relationship, causing him to “lose his head” and kill her.

Before being led away to a grim penal colony, the emotional Napoleon expert appeared to be in tears and told the court, “I am deeply and sincerely repentant.

‘I don’t know how to prove it. Can’t you see it? For me, this is the worst pain I’ve ever done.

“For me, the only excuse is that I lost my head. I appeal to Anastasia’s parents so that they forgive me at least in part…

“I have sincere and endless remorse. And the judge, if it’s fair, why doesn’t he take that into account?’

But the parents’ lawyer, Alexandra Baksheeva, had told the court: “We expect the sentence to remain unchanged and his appeal not to be awarded.”

She accused Sokolov of “shifting the blame to his victim and third parties.”

Before he was led away to a grim penal colony, an emotional Sokolov (pictured in the appeals court in September) appeared in tears and told the court: “I deeply and sincerely regret [killing Yeschenko]’

The lawyers of Yeschenko's parents accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and demanded that his sentence remain unchanged.  A judge upheld the 12-year term

The lawyers of Yeschenko's parents accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and demanded that his sentence remain unchanged.  A judge upheld the 12-year term

The lawyers of Yeschenko’s parents accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and demanded that his sentence remain unchanged. A judge upheld the 12-year term

His victim’s severed head was found wrapped in a plastic IKEA bag in his plush apartment, while her dismembered torso and legs had all been dredged from the river.

The once eminent Russian academic – who had taught at the Sorbonne and held the eminent French Legion of Honor – killed Yeschenko with whom he regularly participated in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historical regalia.

After shooting the student and before butchering her body, he held a cognac party with friends while her corpse was stowed under a bed in the next room.

An “exhausted” Sokolov suspected her of cheating on him and turned violent when she told him she was planning to go to a friend’s birthday party, evidence at the trial shows.

He was caught when he was found in the icy waters of the Moika River trying to get rid of his lover’s arms – severed at the shoulder – that were in his backpack.

He was caught on CCTV (pictured) trying to get rid of his lover's arms - severed at the shoulder - that were in his backpack, in the Moika River

He was caught on CCTV (pictured) trying to get rid of his lover's arms - severed at the shoulder - that were in his backpack, in the Moika River

He was caught on CCTV (pictured) trying to get rid of his lover’s arms – severed at the shoulder – that were in his backpack, in the Moika River

The once distinguished Russian academic, who had taught at the Sorbonne and held the distinguished French Legion of Honor, regularly participated in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historical regalia (pictured)

The once distinguished Russian academic, who had taught at the Sorbonne and held the distinguished French Legion of Honor, regularly participated in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historical regalia (pictured)

The once distinguished Russian academic, who had taught at the Sorbonne and held the distinguished French Legion of Honor, regularly participated in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historical regalia (pictured)

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