The accused during a hearing in wisdom

Russian historian Oleg Sokolov was sentenced Friday to 12 and a half years in prison in St. Petersburg for murdering his girlfriend and dismembering her body, in a case that reopened the debate over domestic violence in Russia.

Judge Yulia Maximenko said when pronouncing the verdict in a court in the former Russian imperial capital, St. Petersburg, that Sokolov “was fully aware of what he was doing at the moment of the crime.”

As for the defense team of the Oleg Sokolov , it expressed its “opposition” to the sentence specified by the court but pointed out that no position has been determined until now regarding the possibility of appeal.

The trial of the Oleg Sokolov who confessed to committing the crime began in early June on charges of murder and possession of weapons. A professor of history at Saint Petersburg State University and a specialist on the biography of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was arrested on November 10, 2019.

History professor listens to his lawyer before a court session

His victim is forty years younger than him

Anastasia Yeshchenko and Oleg Sokolov
Anastasia Yeshchenko and Oleg Sokolov

The police had pulled the university professor drunk from the Moika River in St. Petersburg, carrying a bag that contained the arms of a woman and a stun gun. Other parts of the victim’s body were later found in another waterway.

The 63-year-old historian quickly admitted he chopped off the body of his 24-year-old former student Anastasia Yushchenko, with whom he was living.

Sokolov said he committed the crime accidentally after he shot his girlfriend “to end an insulting party” following a quarrel between them, according to the Russian RIA Novosti agency.

For their part, the victim’s lawyers confirmed that the crime was premeditated and determined.

The Russian Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested a 15-year prison sentence against Sokolov.

The Public Prosecution demanded his imprisonment for 15 years

Human rights organizations see this case as a new manifestation of the scourge of violence against women after Russia, in 2017, removed the criminal characteristic of domestic and marital violence in most cases.

Sokolov wears a Bonaparte uniform in St. Petersburg
Sokolov wears a Bonaparte uniform in St. Petersburg

This man, fond of Napoleon, according to his students, was a gifted professor who was fluent in French and who could perform the roles of the emperor and his generals. But he also looked “strange”, as he liked to appear as Napoleon, and his partner was called “Josephine”.

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