Learning about the violent death of Boris Nemtsov on February 27, I felt the same bone-chilling angst I felt in 1978 on learning that former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades paramilitary group.Intelligence analysts and conspiracy buffs will ruminate about the Kremlin’s involvement in Nemtsov’s assassination: Did Russian President Vladimir Putinknow about the murder beforehand? Did he give the killers a green or a yellow light? Will there be a repeat of the Sergey Kirov case in 1934, when Joseph Stalin’s brilliant rival was killed in Leningrad and the regime unleashed a brutal repression?The reality is that Putin has a solid, stern grip on power in Moscow. He enjoys an 86 percent approval rating, ruling with steely propaganda and a Big Brother–like control of the media. He performed a shrewd political somersault to turn international sanctions into feverish nationalism. Whether the killers on the Moskva River bridge were rogue security agents or freelance death squad goons, the political equation does not change.Putin brews this climate of terror against the dissidents and savors the results. Lame-duck, distracted, legacy-obsessed U.S. President Barack Obama spars with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but does not have a strategy vis-à-vis Putin. An oft-quoted diplomatic source confirms that “Obama sees the world in win-win terms, Putin sees it in zero-sum terms.”European ambassadors left flowers on the bridge where Nemtsov was killed, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the first foreign leader to visit Moscow after the attack, promises to do so too. Bouquets are not, sadly, sound strategies. According to a former German ambassador, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come to an unhappy conclusion: “Maybe [Putin] is not interested in restoring order. . . . Maybe his advisers are telling him that Russia is better off in a world without order.”So no, Russia will not change. Anton Chekhov wrote that “Moscow is a city that will have to suffer a great deal more.” He was right.