Russian professor questioned by police after severed arms found in backpack

Police in the Russian city of St. Petersburg are planning to question a prominent professor who has been detained on suspicion of killing a female student after he was pulled from a river with a backpack containing severed arms.

Oleg Sokolov, a history professor at St. Petersburg State University and an expert in French revolutionary military history, was found on the weekend in the Moika River with the rucksack.

Police later found the body of his student in his apartment, Russian news reports said.

Lawyer Alexander Pochuev said Sokolov has signed a statement of guilt, the reports said.

Sokolov was hospitalised for hypothermia on Saturday but on Sunday was taken to a police station for questioning.

Russian historian Oleg Sokolov, dressed as Napoleon on horseback during historical re-enactment Source: Associated Press

One of his former students described him as an eccentric figure. Reports said Sokolov had been given France's Legion of Honor award for his work.

He had participated in reenactments of the 1812 Battle of Borodino in the role of Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Oleg Sokolov is suspected of killing a female student whose body was reportedly found in his apartment. Source: Associated Press