Did Putin order Boris Nemtsov’s murder? That question risks missing the point. The Russian state is a collection of financial, political and security interests that will do whatever it takes to protect their position. Instilling fear does not require an order from the top
So “Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest”? Or, “Blow his brains out!” We will probably never know what kind of chain of command was at work in Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin concerning the assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov.
But we do know this. If you take on the Russian state in any meaningful way you must reckon with three potential outcomes: prison, exile, or death.