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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Beaten Reporter Dies From Injuries




A journalist working for Novaya Gazeta died Sunday of injuries he suffered when he was beaten on his staircase in May in what his colleagues believe might have been a case of mistaken identity.


Igor Domnikov, 41, who covered culture and social issues, was beaten May 12 when he was coming home from work. Attackers hit him several times on the head with a hammer and left him bleeding on the staircase in the entranceway of his apartment building in southeastern Moscow.


Domnikov died in Burdenko neuro-surgical hospital without ever regaining consciousness, his colleagues said.


Fellow journalists at the twice-weekly newspaper, which is known for its investigative probes and expos?s, believe the real target of the attack might have been Oleg Sultanov, a fellow reporter. Sultanov worked to expose corruption in the oil industry and claimed to have received threats before. Both men lived in the same building, they resembled each other and even dressed similarly.


So far this version "has not been ruled out," said Novaya Gazeta editor Sergei Sokolov. He declined to share the details of the murder inquiry.


"The police are working on a few possible versions at the moment and so far they have established with certainty the reason why Domnikov was attacked was indeed his professional activity," Sokolov said, adding it might not have been Domnikov's professional activity but that of the paper.


A portrait of Domnikov draped in black crepe was hanging in Novaya Gazeta's offices Monday. Sultanov, the editor said, was unavailable to comment due to his "great emotional distress." We all believe "it was all a tragic mistake," Sokolov said.


The editor said the paper has agreed with the police not to comment on the investigation before it is finished. The police in charge of the investigation declined to comment Monday. The files have been sent to the local Lyublinskaya prosecutor's office, where a duty officer said the person handling the case was out of town.


Oleg Panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, was more pessimistic.


"I'm afraid Domnikov's might become another in a long line of unsolved journalist murder cases," he said.