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Napoleon-obsessed Russian historian loses appeal against 12-year jail term for killing student lover


Napoleon-obsessed Russian historian loses his appeal against a 12-year jail term for shooting and beheading his student lover

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










A Russian military historian and acclaimed Napoleon expert has lost his appeal against a 12-year jail sentence for murdering and butchering his student lover.

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

Appealing for clemency, Sokolov told the court he repented and asked Yeschenko’s parents for ‘partial’ forgiveness. 

He claimed the PhD student had angered him by ‘insulting’ his daughters from a previous relationship, causing him to ‘lose his head’.  

But Yeschenko’s parent’s lawyers accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and called for his sentence to stay the same. A judge upheld the 12-year year term. 

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

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

Sokolov shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, throwing her severed body parts in the Moika River in St Petersburg

Sokolov shot and beheaded Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, throwing her severed body parts in the Moika River in St Petersburg

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

Sokolov told the appeals court the student had 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 deeply and sincerely repent.

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

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

‘I sincerely and endlessly repent. And the court, if it is fair, why not take this into account?’

But the parents’ lawyer Alexandra Baksheeva had told the court: ‘We expect the sentence to stay the same, with his appeal not granted.’

She accused Sokolov of ‘shifting the blame to his victim and third parties’. 

Before being led away to a grim penal colony, an emotional Sokolov (pictured in the court of appeal in September) appeared to be in tears and told the court: 'I deeply and sincerely repent [killing Yeschenko]'

Before being led away to a grim penal colony, an emotional Sokolov (pictured in the court of appeal in September) appeared to be in tears and told the court: ‘I deeply and sincerely repent [killing Yeschenko]’

Yeschenko's parent's lawyers accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and called for his sentence to stay the same. A judge upheld the 12-year year term

Yeschenko’s parent’s lawyers accused Sokolov of shifting the blame to the victim and called for his sentence to stay the same. A judge upheld the 12-year year term

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

The once distinguished Russian academic – who had lectured at the Sorbonne and held France’s distinguished Legion of Honour – killed Yeschenko with whom he regularly took part in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historic regalia.

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

An ‘exhausted’ Sokolov suspected her of cheating on him, and became violent when she told him she intended to go to a friend’s birthday party, according to evidence in the trial.

He was caught when he was found in the icy water of the Moika River trying to dispose of his lover’s arms – chopped off at the shoulder – which were in his backpack.

He was caught on CCTV (pictured) trying to dispose of his lover's arms - chopped off at the shoulder - which were in his backpack, in the Moika River

He was caught on CCTV (pictured) trying to dispose of his lover’s arms – chopped off at the shoulder – which were in his backpack, in the Moika River

The once distinguished Russian academic, who had lectured at the Sorbonne and held France's distinguished Legion of Honour, regularly took part in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historic regalia (pictured)

The once distinguished Russian academic, who had lectured at the Sorbonne and held France’s distinguished Legion of Honour, regularly took part in Napoleonic reconstructions in full historic regalia (pictured)



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