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St Petersburg university historian suspected of murder

Sources with law enforcement agencies said that Oleg Sokolov is being questioned in hospital

ST. PETERSBURG, November 9. /TASS/. Police are questioning a lecturer of St. Petersburg State University, a founder of the battle reenactment movement in Russia, Oleg Sokolov, who is suspected of murder, sources with law enforcement agencies told TASS on Saturday.

"At the moment, the suspect is being questioned in hospital," the source said.

A source with the investigative bodies added that human remains were recovered in the scientist’s possessions and flat. Sokolov is being treated for hypothermia in hospital.

St. Petersburg’s investigative department of Russia’s Investigative Committee reported on its site that a man born in 1956 was rescued from a river on Saturday morning. Two female arms and a traumatic pistol were found in his backpack. St. Petersburg investigators set up a criminal inquiry under Article 105 Part 1 of Russia’s Criminal Code (murder).

"The university is shocked by the news. We offer deep condolences to the family and friends of the murdered woman," a spokesperson for St. Petersburg State University told TASS in comment.

Oleg Sokolov, who has a PhD in history, was born in 1956 in Leningrad. He is an associate professor at the New and Modern History Department of St. Petersburg State University. Sokolov has authored a series of monographs on the Napoleon-ruled French military and the personality of Napoleon Bonaparte, according to the information on the university website. In 2003, then French President Jacques Chirac signed a decree awarding Sokolov the Order of Legion d'Honneur, France’s highest decoration, for his studies and enormous contribution to popularization of the history of France and its army.

In 1976, Sokolov founded the first group of battle reenactors in the Soviet Union, which laid the foundation for contemporary historical reenactment in Russia. The Russian Military History Movement, which unites military history clubs in 52 Russian regions, was founded in 2006 under Sokolov’s leadership.