JRL NEWSWATCH: “Don’t Drink the Tea: Poison Is a Favored Weapon in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew E. Kramer
“Poison has been a preferred tool of the Russian security service for more than a century, and critics of the Kremlin say it remains in the arsenal today.”
“… [O]ther countries … have targeted killing programs … limited to counterterrorism …. [yet] Russia … has been accused of targeting a wide variety of opponents both at home and abroad. The Soviet Union [reportedly] operated a secret laboratory … research[ing] tasteless … untraceable poisons … tested on condemned gulag prisoners …. After a series of assassinations and attempted assassinations of dissidents, journalists, defectors and opposition leaders in Russia and broad over the past two decades, researchers have concluded [that] the post-Soviet government has turned to its poison arsenal as a preferred weapon. … [e.g.,] radioactive polonium-210; heavy metals; gelsemium, a rare Himalayan plant toxin; and Novichuk, a military nerve agent lethal to the touch. …”
Alexei Navalny is said to have had tea from an airport cafe before his illness. According to Gennadi Gudkov, former KGB colonel and former opposition Parliament member (cited by The New York Times in the same article), it is a simple matter to poison a cup of tea, or meal, with the intention of either assassinating the target or incapacitating them with a long, difficult illness. Said Gudkov, “‘It is easy, and easy to cover your tracks,’ … ‘Any person can use poison.'”
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