This may be one of the most transparent public killings of our time, and yet evidence is hard to come by. Nemtsov was shot four times in the back. Even when there is a smoking gun, there is no smoking gun. In the absence of facts, the speculation about possible culprits says far less about reality than it does about the speculators' worldviews.
The specific motives behind political murders are often less important than the impact those crimes have on the country's larger political processes. It is noteworthy that some observers are already comparing the murder of Nemtsov with the "Reichstag fire" or the murder of Sergei Kirov. The former marked the start of the Nazi terror in Germany while the latter served as a pretext for former Soviet leader Josef Stalin to unleash his political repression.