Vladimir Milov has an interesting theory about why Nemtsov was murdered. First, he dismisses the claim that the murder was not ordered by Putin, saying that none of the loyal groups would act without express permission of “the first person” (the chief).
Milov then addresses those who say that Nemtsov’s murder could not have benefited Putin and the Kremlin.
But in the past year, Putin has proved that he has a completely different idea about what is “profitable” and “unprofitable” than idle commentators. He showed that he was ready to go to war, [and risk] losses, sanctions, and international isolation — all for the sake of some “sacred” and “strategic” targets known only to himself. So the “benefits” of certain events can only be assessed by himself alone.
About Nemtsov, in addition to general considerations (to instill fear and eliminate an important communicator among the opposition)… here is what was suggested to me by one influential individual: Nemtsov played an instrumental role in lobbying for Western sanctions, he had a lot of contact with Western leaders and politicians on this subject, the top Russian leaders believe that he was largely “personally responsible” for the sanctions and that he suggested what sanctions (primarily the credit blockade) would be the most potent. In a sense, he can be placed in a similar category as Litvinenko [ed. some think that the Kremlin saw Litvinenko as a traitor] — Nemtsov was not considered to be just a politician playing a role in Russia, but a man, according to the Kremlin, “guilty” in this difficult situation in which the Putin establishment has found itself because of the sanctions. And this is the real reason [Nemtsov was murdered].