In one report, Mr. Dorenko portrayed Mr. Primakov as a stooge of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and said that NATO’s goal was “for Putin to resign and to bring Primakov to power.”
By August 2000, however, it was Mr. Putin’s turn to be on the receiving end of Mr. Dorenko’s frank commentary. In a report on the Kursk submarine disaster, in which the vessel sank in the Barents Sea after an explosion, Mr. Dorenko played footage of Mr. Putin trying to explain away the response of Russian officials, who had lied about the incident for days.
After reporting on one misleading official account, a stone-faced Mr. Dorenko — he almost never smiled on the air — told viewers point blank, “That’s not how it happened.”
“The main conclusion is that the authorities do not respect any of us,” he said. “That’s why they lie.” It was his last nationwide television broadcast.
In the 2011 interview, he said that after the Kursk report he was told “that I had gone mad, lost it and was a traitor.”
“Everyone recoiled from me as if I was sick,” he said. “It was a frightening period.”
By 2005, however, he had bounced back again, this time as a radio journalist, for Govorit Moskva, where he was the editor in chief and hosted a morning show.
His death brought tributes from many liberal Russians but also a rebuke from Viktor Shenderovich, a satirist whose puppet show had been pulled off the air after it mocked Mr. Putin. He said of Mr. Dorenko on Facebook, “Scoundrels can be charismatic, there is nothing new in that.”
Mr. Dorenko’s survivors include his second wife, Yulia; their two daughters, Varvara and Vera; and two daughters, Yekaterina and Ksenia, and a son, Prokhor, from his first marriage, which ended in divorce.