Police in St Petersburg have arrested a well-known Russian historian on suspicion of murder after he was found in a river with a backpack containing a woman’s arms.
Oleg Sokolov was drunk and fell into the river as he tried to dispose of body parts, local media said.
Police then reportedly went to his home, where they found the decapitated body of a 24-year-old former student.
Prof Sokolov is a Napoleon expert who has received France’s Légion d’Honneur.
His victim is reported to be Anastasia Yeshchenko, with whom Prof Sokolov had co-written a number of works.
A police statement said a 63-year-old man had been rescued from the Moika river and arrested on suspicion of murder. Officials confirmed to AFP that it was Prof Sokolov.
The historian has written several books on Napoleon and also acted as a historical consultant on several films.
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,” it said in a statement.
“We could never imagine that he could commit such an odious act,” the statement added.
Issep was founded by Marion Maréchal, the niece of far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen and a former lawmaker for the far-right National Front party.