Gidon Kremer has already pointed the finger here at the source of political murder in Russia.
Edward Lucas of the Economist had known Boris Nemtsov over two decades. He writes in Weltwoche:
‘Boris Nemtsov was my closest friend in Russian politics. I had known him since the late 1990s when he was trying vainly to stem the sleaze and authoritarianism that eventually brought Putin and his ex-KGB cronies to power. Unlike some Russian liberals, Nemtsov saw through Putin from the beginning. He disliked the new leader’s background as an unrepentant KGB officer, and worried about his murky years spent in the city administration of gangster-ridden St Petersburg.’
Edward points the finger far back – to Stalin’s first political murder:
‘One set of possibilities surrounds the theory that his assassination was ordered by the Putin regime. It could be a simple attempt to silence him. Nemtsov was about to release a report on Russia’s war in Ukraine. I doubt that would justify his murder. …More likely is that the killing was symbolic. The official media, with suspicious unanimity, is taking the line that Nemtsov was murdered by other opposition elements, or possibly their foreign paymasters, in order to destabilise Russia.
It is hard to follow this perverse reasoning, or to find any facts to support it. But as with the Kirov murder in 1934, which gave Stalin reason to purge Soviet life of any dissent, Nemtsov’s killing could give the regime grounds for launching a serious crackdown.’
Read the full, grave assessment here.