Russia, as it happens, has a long history of infatuation with poisons. The infamous murder of Alexander Litvinenko by poisoning his tea with polonium being one of the more high-profile examples.
It turns out it’s not easy to secretly kill a person using poison. The producers cite numerous cases of Russians who were poisoned multiple times before a dose proved fatal.
So it was that when a crew from CBS' "60 Minutes" interviewed a Russian dissident who was twice hospitalized with near-fatal poisoning occurrences, they were a bit skeptical until they found that poisoning is easier said than accomplished.
“What we found is the Russians have been obsessed with poison for centuries, definitely for at least a hundred years,” Bar-On says. Russian history and literature is rife with stories of poisonings.
“Poison is a very big part of the Russian psyche,” Bar-On says. “We’ve got our love of guns in this country. Russia has its love of poison.”
Perhaps the stealth factor is what provides much of the Russian attraction to poisons; guns, after all, aren't stealthy at all - you get shot, people know it. And perhaps Russians find the slow death by poisoning, which gives the victim time to contemplate what is happening, more satisfying than a quick gunshot death.