The Russian judiciary will decide on Monday whether or not the historian Oleg Sokolov will be detained for the murder of his young partner. The hearing is scheduled for 14 hours local (noon French time). On Saturday, in St. Petersburg, police took the sixty-year-old from the drunk Moïka River. In his backpack, he was carrying an alarm gun and … two woman's arms.
Arrested and placed in custody, the 63-year-old historian confessed Sunday killing and dismembering the former student who shared his life, Anastassia Echchenko, 24 years. According to the victim's brother, who says he spoke to him shortly before his death, "it is jealousy" that is the motive for the crime. "She told him to go to the birthday of a student friend. He beat her, she went out, and she came back … ", Sergei Echchenko told the RBK news website.
Associations see this sordid affair as a new symptom of violence against women in Russia, where they have been decriminalized since 2017. "We must not wait for a victim to be executed, we must do prevention", protests on Facebook a women's rights activist, Alena Popova.
Denouncing a "rotten judicial system that protects violent men until the moment when one has a corpse", she believes that "this murder could have been prevented". For Oleg Sokolov, according to the popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, had already been accused of violence against at least one of his students.
Attached to a chair, threatened with being branded
A petition launched on the website Change.org had even collected 5,300 signatures in a few days, denouncing the inertia of the management of the university, and accusing him of having turned a blind eye to the "monstrous" behavior of the professor.
A student who had an affair with him in 2008 filed a complaint with the police at the time. He allegedly tied her to a chair and hit her face, threatening to brand her with a hot iron because she wanted to leave him, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets, who published the complaint.
The authors of the petition sent their text to Vladimir Putin, a former student of this university, and demanded the resignation of the dean and other officials. No disciplinary action was taken against the teacher. "This is proof of the impunity enjoyed by violent men in Russia," said Alena Sadikova, who heads the Kitej center for counseling women.
Author of several books including some translated into French, Oleg Sokolov held a chair of history at the State University of St. Petersburg. He was awarded the Legion d'honneur in 2003 and worked as an advisor on Napoleon films and documentaries.
He also liked to interpret the roles of the emperor or his generals in historical reconstructions of great battles of the First Empire. Also employed by Issep, the school founded by former right-wing MP Marion Marechal, he was fired immediately on the announcement of his arrest.