Journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, documentary filmmaker Alexander Rastorguyev, and cameraman Kirill Radchenko were killed in July 2018 during an armed robbery, Russian Investigative Committee Deputy Head Igor Krasnov told Kommersant.
“The circumstances we have established in the attack indicate that the killing was conducted for the purpose of committing robbery by residents of the CAR [Central African Republic] and nearby countries who systematically commit violent crimes in the region,” Krasnov said.
As early as January 2019, the Investigative Committee hinted at such an announcement by asserting that the car carrying the three journalists was stopped, and attackers demanded their equipment and possessions. The Investigative Committee believes the three were shot when they refused and attempted to resist.
The Dossier Center, an investigative-journalism nonprofit founded by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, published a report in July 2019 arguing that the evidence in the case does not support claims of robbery. The report claimed that only some of the journalists’ equipment was taken from the scene and that the attack appeared to be professionally planned. According to the Dossier Center, attempts to say the murder began as an armed robbery stem from a concerted cover-up on the part of sources controlled by caterer Evgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s Chef.”