Alexander Viktorovich Solonik was born on 16 October 1960, in Kurgan, Soviet Union. As a child he showed great interest in martial arts and firearms. When finishing school, Solonik was conscripted into the Soviet Army and was assigned to a tank regiment, a part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. After his conscription ended, Solonik joined the OMON police agency and eventually received training at the Gorkovskiy Institute. However, after 6 months he was expelled for extreme violence towards suspects, and upon returning home, Solonik obtained a job as a gravedigger at the Kurgan cemetery. Soon after returning to Kurgan he married, and his wife gave birth to a daughter, but they eventually divorced. Solonik remarried another woman with whom he had a son, and in 1987 he was charged with rape and sentenced to 8 years in prison. During a farewell meeting with his wife before he was imprisoned, Solonik escaped by jumping from the second floor of the building. After several months he was apprehended 120 miles (190 km) north of Kurgan, and taken to the prison.
In prison Solonik was designated to solitary confinement because he served on active duty and had some police training, but later was transferred to serve his jail time among the other general population of the prison. When it became known to the other inmates that Solonik had worked for the police, he was marked for death. According to rumor, Solonik took on as many as 12 inmates at a time, earning the respect of his fellow prisoners. After 2 years of imprisonment, he escaped again.
Solonik went back home to Kurgan, joined the local criminal organization and started work as a hitman. Solonik's first target, the leader of a rival organization, was murdered in 1990 in Tyumen. After this hit, Solonik traveled to Moscow with other members of the Kurgan organization to seek work. In 1992, Solonik assassinated Russian thief in law Viktor Nikiforov, and six months later he murdered another important Russian Mob boss. This time the victim was thief in law Valeri Dlugatsj, who was shot in a crowded nightclub despite the fact that he was surrounded by bodyguards. In 1994, Solonik eliminated Vladislav Vinner, Dlugatsj's replacement. It was reported that in 1994, Solonik tried to extort money from another Russian mobster, who made a phone call to settle the extortion. Solonik immediately identified him as Otari Kvantrishvili, one of the most powerful mobsters in Russia. Apparently, Solonik was unable to extort money from Kvantrishvili, and several weeks later murdered him in an act of revenge. However, the story is doubtful as other people from a gang unrelated to Solonik were convicted in 2008 for Kvantrishvili's murder, and rumors spread that he was supported by the Chechnian groups.
By this time, Solonik had become infamous among the criminal underworld and law enforcement figures in Russia. Law enforcement took a special interest, and made several attempts to apprehend him. Solonik and a fellow criminal were apprehended by Moscow police when they were having a drink at a marketplace, but the police failed to check Solonik thoroughly, and he opened fire in the police station with a small automatic weapon which he concealed under a raincoat. Three policemen were struck and Solonik ran outside, where he shot two more police officers. Solonik was also shot (it is said that the bullet hit him in the kidney) and was cornered, but managed to hold back the officers. Eventually he was overpowered and surrendered, being sent to a Moscow prison and underwent an operation to remove the bullet in his kidney. In 1995, Solonik escaped prison yet again when his jailer, Sergey Menshikov, rumored to be a mob sleeper agent, provided him with a pistol and climbing equipment. Having placed a mannequin under the blanket of his bed to delay pursuit, Solonik escaped using the climbing equipment to rappel down from the prison roof. This time Solonik had very limited hiding places in Russia, as his name and face were known to the authorities and general public, but he managed to disappear without being re-apprehended.
Eventually Solonik surfaced in Greece with a fake passport, which he secured from the Greek consulate in Moscow. In Greece, Solonik set up his own organization of around 50 men, which dealt in drug smuggling and contract killings, and bought several villas in an Athens suburb. Solonik's reputation now grew to legendary proportions with the public, and he was featured in Russia's top ten "Most Wanted" list.
In February 1997, Greek newspapers published articles that claimed a Russian Mob boss had been found dead 15 miles (24 km) from Athens. The body of the mobster was found strangled to death and had no identification documents, though the authorities nevertheless identified the body as Alexander Solonik. In the weeks after Solonik's body was found, Greek authorities raided the villas belonging to Solonik's organization and found an arsenal of weapons. They also discovered that Solonik had been hired to carry out a "hit" in Italy before his death.