Boris Jefimovič Němcov (don't you prefer this Czech spelling?) was born in 1959. In 1985, he got a PhD from the Gorky State University (he later became a "candidate" of physico-mathematical sciences) and for five years, he worked as a research fellow in the Gorky Radio Physics Research Institute.
He has actually authored over 60 publications (in Russian journals) in quantum physics, thermodynamics, and acoustics, including some papers about the "acoustics laser" that he invented, along with new designs for space-based antennas.
After the 1986 Chernobyl blast, he became an anti-nuclear activist of a sort. In 1989, he ran for a political office for the first time. His biggest election victory came in 1990. A year later, he met Boris Yeltsin who fell in love with Nemtsov. Throughout the 1990s, Nemtsov has held some important positions, including a governor of a region and a deputy prime minister. At one moment, Margaret Thatcher has praised him explicitly.
He was a guy associated with the Yeltsin's 1990s. In the new millennium, when Putin's star began to skyrocket, he lost virtually all political influence.
Nemtsov was murdered yesterday at 21:31 by four shots, near the Kremlin. Putin has named himself the investigator-in-chief of the terrible crime.
Because Nemtsov became a staunch critic of Putin's as soon as Putin became visible, it is not surprising that Putin or "his allies" are naturally being blamed as possible culprits. Equally understandably, it is being suggested that the assassination was a false flag operation meant to create a "martyr" (or a new propaganda meme to attack Putin).
However, other possibilities are also being thought about, including an execution by the Islamic State. I am not aware of some strong positions he took when it comes to the Islam. Nemtsov once served as a mediator in negotiations with the Chechen leaders.
I changed the previous paragraph to bold face on Sunday March 8th because 5 Caucasian people including a Chechen cop (who apparently confessed) were arrested on that day.
The Russian authorities are also investigating the possibility that the murder was due to jealousy or something romantic – because of Nemtsov's 23-year-old model girlfriend, Anna Duritskaya, who is Ukrainian and who met him minutes before the murder. Duritskaya herself is a suspect and her recent abortion that she underwent in Switzerland doesn't help to clean her name, either. Moreover, she was far from being the only woman in Nemtsov's life.
I have no idea how to support one of these obvious conjectures – or some less obvious ones. I don't even know how to "nearly eliminate" either of them. It seems totally conceivable that the Kremlin could have had a motive (Poroshenko immediately claimed that Nemtsov was planning to reveal some evidence of Russian government's involvement in Ukraine: I have no idea whether this claim is supported by anything at all) – but so could someone very different.
The idea that "Putin did it" generally sounds very strange to me because this event is clearly hurting Putin. It is hard to see the benefits that would exceed the costs. Also, I think that the tendency to see Putin behind any bad event in Russia (and beyond) sounds as naive as to blame Obama personally for any murder or another tragedy in the U.S. Both countries are much larger than that; things usually don't work in this way.
Condolences to his 4 kids and everyone who knew him or liked him. RIP Dr Nemtsov.
Off-topic, a kids' Pilsner patriotic music video from Fall 2013 that I only saw today