Eyewitnesses saw a 25- to 30-year-old man walk up to Ivanov's car and shoot him, according to local press reports and CPJ sources. The killer used a pistol with a silencer and fled the scene on foot. Ivanov's colleagues believe the killing was connected to his work. Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye is well known for its reports on local organized crime, drug trafficking, and official corruption. Ivanov also served as a deputy in the local Legislative Assembly.
Local police have opened a criminal investigation into the murder and are considering several possible motives, though the possibility that he was killed in retaliation for his writing remains the prime theory. At year's end, no further progress in the investigation had been reported.