Domnikov, 42, a reporter and special-projects editor for the twice-weekly Moscow paper Novaya Gazeta, died on July 16, 2000, two months after being attacked in the entryway of his apartment building in southeastern Moscow.
According to numerous sources, the reporter was attacked on May 12 by an unidentified assailant who hit him repeatedly on the head with a heavy object, presumably a hammer, and left him lying unconscious in a pool of blood, where a neighbor found him.
Domnikov was taken to a hospital with injuries to the skull and brain. After surgery and two months in a coma, the journalist died on July 16 in the Burdenko Neurosurgery Institute in central Moscow.
From the very beginning, Domnikov’s colleagues and the police were certain the attack was related to his professional activity or that of the newspaper’s.
In August 2007, five members of a notorious criminal gang were convicted of murdering Domnikov. They were sentenced to prison terms varying from 18 years to life for the Domnikov slaying and other crimes. Among them were Eduard Tagiryanov, the leader of a criminal group and an alleged organizer of the attack, who was sentenced to life in prison, and Albert Khuzin, who was accused of executing the attack on Domnikov and sentenced to 25 years in a high security prison, media reported.
On March 11, 2015, Sergei Dorovskiy, a former deputy governor of Russia’s Lipetsk region, was charged with masterminding Domnikov’s murder, according to Novaya Gazeta. Prosecutors accused Dorovskiy of asking his business partner, Pavel Sopot, to “take care” of Domnikov after the journalist wrote articles accusing the Lipetsk government of nepotism, corruption, and an inability to carry out effective anti-crime and agricultural policies in the region, according to Novaya Gazeta, which cited court documents. Domnikov had written at least five critical reports about Dorovskiy and the region’s governor Oleg Korolyov in 1999 and 2000.
Sopot passed Dorovskiy’s “request” to Tagiryanov, the case materials said.
In December 2013, a Moscow court sentenced Sopot, an alleged middleman of the murder, to seven years in jail on charges of inciting the attack against Domnikov, and also ordered Sopot to pay one million rubles (US$33,000) in compensation, media reported.
On May 13, 2015, Moscow’s Lyublinsky Court closed the case against Dorovskiy, as the statute of limitations had expired on May 12.
In October 2016, a Moscow court ordered Dorovskiy to pay 1,041 rubles (US$17) a month to Domnikov’s family as compensation for the journalist’s death, Novaya Gazeta reported. In August 2018, Dorovskiy died of a heart attack at the age of 65, media reported.