A 26-year-old TV host for a satellite business channel, Dmitry Okkert, was found dead in his apartment in southern Moscow on Friday, Moscow's chief investigator said.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General's office said the body had a stab wound in the neck, and a murder case was launched. The official cause of death has not yet been announced, however.
"Presumably, he died several days before the body was discovered," Anatoly Bagmet, who assumed personal control of the investigation, said.
It was yet "hard to draw conclusions" so far on if the journalist's death was linked to his professional activities, Bagmet said, adding that the motive for the crime "does not seem to be clear at the moment."
The journalist's account on Russian social networking site Odnoklassniki.ru shows that Okkert last visited the page at 2:13 on Tuesday.
The journalist's neighbor also said the man was missing for at least three days and his body was discovered by his friends - a man and a young woman.
"I woke up at two or three at the morning. They have been knocking on his door. I wanted to call the police, but they went away. [The visitors were] a young man and a woman. The young man rang at my door in the morning and explained that his friend has not answered his phone calls for three days," she said.
Shortly after the news were made public, Russian online media reported of a "brutal killing," saying that there were "dozens" of stab wounds on Okkert's body. A friend who tried to establish contact with him early on Friday and who later discovered the body, dismissed the information.
"There was one stab wound, in the neck," the woman, identified as Alexandra, told the GZT.RU news portal, adding that her friend was stabbed with a kitchen knife she saw in his apartment before. "It seems that he was stabbed from behind, with the right arm."
She said that there were no signs of fight or robbery, as well as no indications that Okkert had a visitor shortly before his death. The only thing missing from the apartment was the journalist's laptop.
"The mouse was in place, but there was no laptop," she said.
Okkert worked as correspondent for the Vesti news program on the state-run Rossiya television channel in 2005, and later - on the private REN-TV channel and the state-controlled NTV channel. Since December 2008, he worked as a news host on the business satellite channel Expert.
"I wouldn't link this tragic event and Dmitry's work. He was a TV host and a news editor on Expert-TV, and there are simply no professional risks," the head of the Expert media holding, Valery Fadeyev, told Russia's Kommersant business daily.
"Professional activity is, of course, the first idea. But he was a news [program] host and did not conduct any [journalist] investigations. We would have known if he did. I have no versions, let police do their job," Pyotr Marchenko, who heads the Expert TV channel, told GZT.RU.
Russia, which has one of the poorest journalist safety records in the world, registered at least two high-profile killings of media workers last year.
Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasia Baburova was shot dead on January 19 in downtown Moscow, together with lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who was acting on behalf of a family whose daughter was murdered by a Russian officer in Chechnya. Markelov died at the scene and Baburova lost her struggle for life shortly afterwards in hospital.
Chechen rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who had been investigating kidnappings and disappearances in Chechnya for the Russian human rights group Memorial, was abducted and murdered on July 15 in the south Russian republic. She wrote articles for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti)