Sergei Burkotov's Toyota Camry was making a turn on a highway south of Moscow toward his country house in the village of Lopatino when it came under automatic gunfire at about 10 p.m. Moscow time (7 p.m. GMT).
The attackers first killed the driver, Dmitry Samokhvalov, and then peppered the car with bullets when it stopped, media reports said.
Villagers heard the gunshots and called the police, who found the imprints of two bodies in the snow, presumably made by the gunmen as they lay in wait, and two Kalashnikov assault rifles. The suspects' tracks led to the nearby Simferopolskoye highway, where a car was apparently waiting for them, the daily newspaper Kommersant reported.
Eyewitnesses said they saw two people running toward the highway, but could not describe them, as it was too dark.
Investigators said the killing could have been related to Burkotov's "professional activities."
The official was known to have had several run-ins with developers working in the Cheryomushki borough without the necessary permits.
In 2004, just after Burkotov was appointed local government head, he shut down several construction projects, Kommersant said. Conflicts with some developers continued to simmer to date, costing them millions of dollars in losses.