Renowned Napoleon expert confesses to chopping up lover in Russian Federation

Professor tries to drown severed female hands in Moika River

Russian police say Sokolov's alleged victim may be a postgraduate student of his named Anastasia Eshchenko from Russia's Krasnodar region.

"He has admitted his guilt", Sokolov's lawyer Alexander Pochuev told the outlet, adding that his client was cooperating with authorities.

Sokolov was detained on suspicion of murder while in hospital receiving treatment for hypothermia, but it was later announced that he had entered into a plea bargain agreement, according to his lawyer.

Sokolov was reportedly drunk and fell in as he tried to dispose of body parts.

A historical re-enactor, Mr Sokolov has often appeared in uniforms of the Napoleonic era, and has worked as a consultant on historical reproductions for film and TV.

The scholar was particularly fond of dressing up as Napoleon and had dressed up as the French leader on the night of his arrest because he had planned to take his own life in a very public fashion outside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, according to a suicide letter seen by 47 News.

Prof Sokolov reportedly told police that he killed his lover during an argument and then sawed off her head, arms and legs.

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A spokeswoman for the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honour, speaking to AFP, indicated that Sokolov might be stripped of his award.

Russian state news agencies reported that divers searching the Moika River as part of the investigation had discovered the remains of another person in a bag.

Sokolov was a senior member of the Russian Military-Historical Society headed by Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

He was also a member of France's Institute of Social Science, Economics and Politics (Issep), which on Saturday said it had removed him from his position on its scientific committee.

"We learn with horror.the atrocious crime of which Oleg Sokolov is guilty", the statement said, adding that they could never have imagined that Sokolov, "an academic of such standing" could commit such an "odious act".

In 2003, Red Star, the official newspaper of the defence ministry, gushingly described Sokolov as a "serious historian" whose works were published in France.

ISSEP was founded by Marine Le Pen's niece, Marion Marechal.

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