World Fifteen years in prison required against Oleg Sokolov, the...

Fifteen years in prison required against Oleg Sokolov, the historian tried for dismembering his companion

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Russian historian Oleg Sokolov is on trial for having killed and dismembered his companion. – Alexander Demianchuk / TASS / Sipa U / SIPA

The Russian prosecution requested fifteen years in prison on Monday against historian Oleg Sokolov, tried since early June in Saint Petersburg for having killed and dismembered his companion. The man, a professor at the State University of the second city of the country and a specialist in Napoleon, was arrested on November 10, 2019.

In a state of intoxication, he had been taken out of the Moïka river by the police who had found in his backpack two woman’s arms and an alarm pistol. Other fragments of the victim’s body were later found in another stream. The 63-year-old historian quickly confessed to killing and dismembering one of his former students, Anastassia Echtchenko, 24, who shared his life.

A premeditated act?

During a hearing in mid-October, the historian claimed to have killed the young woman by accident by shooting her to “put an end to a deluge of insults” during an argument, according to the Ria Novosti press agency . For their part, the victim’s lawyers said Monday that Oleg Sokolov had premeditated his act after an argument, notably looking on the Internet for possible places to get rid of the body. “Sokolov did everything not to get caught,” said lawyer Alexandra Bakcheïeva.

Very famous, the State University of Saint Petersburg had been blamed for its inertia while Oleg Sokolov had already been accused of violence. A student, who had an affair with Oleg Sokolov in 2008, filed a complaint, claiming he tied her to a chair, punched her in the face and threatened to brand her with a hot iron because she wanted to leave him , according to Russian media. No disciplinary action had yet been taken against the historian.

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