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Poisonous Relations

Joshua Foust, one of our favorite Central Asia bloggers over at Registan.net, has begun dropping in more regularly on Steve Levine’s Oil and Glory – this time reviewing Boris Volodarsky’s book on KGB/GRU/FSB obsession with poisons as a method of assassination.  Do they do it for the cruelty?

And what a poison it is: The particular hallmark of Russian poisons, besides their creativity, seems to be their relatively long kill time. A victim will languish for weeks, even months, in sheer agony before either barely surviving or dying. Volodarsky describes this tradition while tracing Soviet and Russian poisoneers (for lack of a better term) through early uses of merely unusual plant extracts to the industrial development of unique compounds. The resulting potions are engineered specifically to mimic other problems, usually some form of gastritis, so that by the time doctors eventually realize what’s happened, it’s too late to fix.

Oddly in his lede, Foust comments that it’s “difficult to stand out in the somewhat crowded field of Russian scare-books.”  You mean like this book?