The Speccie spoils an otherwise excellent piece by Marina Kim with the strapline 'Putin may be mad – but not mad enough to have had Boris Nemtsov killed'. Frankly, I don't think Putin is in the least mad. He's ruthless, he's a killer, maybe even gifted with that cool psychopathy that marks a host of great military and national leaders - including British ones. But not mad in the meaning of mad-insane rather than mad-a good laugh. He's deeply patriotic and prepared to ride roughshod over international law for Russia's sake - but then so is the USA. He believes the trappings of State enhance the status of the nation - but then so do the British. And he imposes a requirement for domestic discipline and obedience that has the Hun panting in jealousy. All of this makes him Bad, not Mad.
I'm no expert on either contract killings or State assassinations, but a killer who fired seven shots only four of which hit the victim and only one of which, to the heart, was fatal seems to me to be a lucky try rather than the work of a professional. I suspect that if Putin had killed Nemtsov his method would have been more subtle and with at least an element of deniability.
The long-legged 23-year old Ukrainian 'model' with him at the time may help shed light on the assassination. No doubt her mobile phone records will be of great interest to the Russian authorities.