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“Russian historian & Napoleon enthusiast” gets 12 years imprisonment for murdering his young lover

Saint Petersburg:  Saint Petersburg court convicted a Russian historian and Napoleon enthusiast to 12-and-a-half-years in prison for killing his young student lover last year. The ordeal, which prompted activists to express extending outrage over domestic vitriol in Russia, began in June after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oleg Sokolov, a history lecturer who acquired France’s Legion d’Honneur in 2003, came to the courtroom in a grey suit and a white shirt, an AFP journalist following the trial conveyed. Sokolov strode back and forth in a glass cell as Judge Yulia Maximenko convicted him to “12 years and six months in a strict regime penal colony” on charges of murder and the illegal custody of firearms.”He was conscious of his actions at the time of the crime,” Maximenko said as she read out the judgment, counting that the objective to murder emerged”suddenly”.

Sokolov was captured in November 2019 after he was toted out of the freezing Moika River in Saint Petersburg while intoxicated and holding a backpack having a woman’s arms. The historian begged blameworthy to the charges of killing a 24-year-old Anastasia Yushchenko but said he executed the crime in the heat of the moment during a dispute with his ex-student and lover. Sokolov’s lawyer Sergei Lukyanov said the defense “does not agree” with the verdict but will determine whether to plead after acquiring a copy of the judgment.

Last week the court attended the final arguments in the case and prosecutors bid a 15-year-term. Yushchenko’s parents followed the sentencing on Friday. Their lawyer Alexandra Baksheyeva told reporters that, even though “nothing can bring their daughter back”, the family does not plan to appeal the judgment to bid a harsher sentence. Sokolov taught history at Saint Petersburg State University, President Vladimir Putin’s alma mater, and was proximate to the authorities.

The adorned historian penned several books on Napoleon Bonaparte and often instructed historical re-enactments of the French emperor’s 1812 Russian crusade. The cruel killing scandalized Russia after many of his students said Sokolov had indicated improper conduct in the past and urged that management at the university be examined. Every year, nearly 16.5 million women across Russia fall victim to domestic violence, according to activists. However, measures to lobby for a technological law against violence and protect victims have failed.

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