15 episodes

The Big Steal tells the story of Vladimir Putin and his violent assault on human dignity, rule of law, democracy and truth – in Russia, its neighbours and across the West.

A former KGB officer, Putin climbed his way to the presidency of the world’s largest nation, and put in place a mafia state that steals from its own people to cause havoc abroad. When he stole the country’s most successful energy company, Yukos, he gave a clear warning of what was to come. Since then, Western enablers in politics, business and the law have helped Putin on his way.

Gavin Esler speaks to the people who have challenged Putin, tried to understand him, or simply hoped to survive. He takes us through to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a new and dangerous world that is opening up, and asks the question: where do we go next?

Produced by Fresh Air Production

The Big Steal Fresh Air Production

    • True Crime
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

The Big Steal tells the story of Vladimir Putin and his violent assault on human dignity, rule of law, democracy and truth – in Russia, its neighbours and across the West.

A former KGB officer, Putin climbed his way to the presidency of the world’s largest nation, and put in place a mafia state that steals from its own people to cause havoc abroad. When he stole the country’s most successful energy company, Yukos, he gave a clear warning of what was to come. Since then, Western enablers in politics, business and the law have helped Putin on his way.

Gavin Esler speaks to the people who have challenged Putin, tried to understand him, or simply hoped to survive. He takes us through to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a new and dangerous world that is opening up, and asks the question: where do we go next?

Produced by Fresh Air Production

    Russia Invades Ukraine

    Russia Invades Ukraine

    In the early hours of 24 February 2022, Russia launched a brutal invasion of its neighbour, Ukraine. True to his yearslong strategy of lies and disinformation, Vladimir Putin said he had launched a “special miliary operation” to “denazify Ukraine”. “It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory,” said Putin.

    Ukraine is now under siege, bombarded from all sides. Cruise missiles and cluster bombs have targeted civilians – and a Holocaust Memorial. In this first episode of a new season and a new world, we hear from Ukrainians on the ground in Kyiv as they prepare to fight for their survival, their families and their nation. And we hear from people in Russia. It seems that few beyond Putin have any appetite for war, least of all nuclear conflict. Kira Rudik leads a Ukrainian political party: she tells us why she’s taken up arms. Back in Westminster, Chris Bryant MP explains how this invasion was always on the cards, and what on earth is happening inside Vladimir Putin’s head.

     

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    • 38 min
    Russia On the Brink?

    Russia On the Brink?

    With tensions continuing to grow between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and NATO, is President Putin’s endgame finally coming into view? A massive military build-up on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine suggests an invasion is likely, but what would the ramifications for the surrounding region, and the wider international community be? If Russia invades Ukraine is a war that spills out of the region inevitable? And meanwhile, we explain how the dirty money flowing from into the London from Russia impacts the UK economy and the cash in your own pocket.

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    • 51 min
    A New Breed Of Autocracy

    A New Breed Of Autocracy

    The Kremlin’s lies can be seen almost everywhere across the globe  and show no signs of abating.

    In fact world leaders are even adopting Putin’s tactics as a new breed of autocracy is on the horizon.

    So what can be done to stop the erosion of democracy and ensure that voting remains the great equaliser in polarized societies around the world?

    Gavin Esler explores the worldwide rise of an “authoritarian mindset”: angry and highly divisive politics stretching from Trump’s America to Brexit Britain, Orban’s Hungary, and to Poland, Brazil, the Philippines, India and elsewhere. All seemingly following the lead of Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    And he asks ‘How does America under the Presidency of Joe Biden, begin to stand up to a Russia actively flexing its foreign aggression muscles?’

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    Protests and Police Raids

    Protests and Police Raids

    In this episode Gavin Esler explores the theft of democracy itself in Russia. President Putin holds elections regularly, but for what reason, considering that his ruling party always wins?

    In recent years, youngsters have taken to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval of their lack of rights. Most famously, Olga Misik was arrested by Russian riot police for reading the section of the Russian constitution that states she is allowed to take part in peaceful protest. Gavin Esler discovers what the current feeling is amongst Russians living under an authoritarian regime where speaking out against Putin can lead to a police raid on your home.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 47 min
    While You Were Shielding

    While You Were Shielding

    The Big Steal returns with a new series exploring Russia's continuing journey towards an autocratic kleptocracy. 

    Whilst the world has been gripped by a global pandemic, President Putin has maintained his grip on power at home by clamping down on anyone who disagrees with him. 

    The leader of his main opposition, Alexei Navalny, has been poisoned and remains in prison. This is what becomes of someone who attempts stands up to the Kremlin in 2021. 

    And with a leader who's main concern is to line his own pockets, in this series we ask what's next for those 140 million Russians who are living under Putin's power. 

    Hosted by Gavin Esler, featuring Mark Galeotti, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Kara Murza, Evgeny Feldman, Oliver Carroll & Anne Applebaum

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 44 min
    SERIES 2 NEWS + 'Taking Apart Terror' Taster

    SERIES 2 NEWS + 'Taking Apart Terror' Taster

    Gavin Esler brings us news of the upcoming Series 2 of The Big Steal. A new 3-part series coming later this month.

    Plus - a sample of 'Taking Apart Terror' - a new podcast series from the same production team exploring the world of international terrorism. How do terrorist organisations work, how are they financed, and how are we fighting them?

    And the Taliban's recent takeover in Afghanistan make the world a more dangerous place? We hope you enjoy this short sample, and to listen to the full series please search for 'Taking Aaprt Terror' in your podcast app.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

KassieStep ,

Hugely informative and interesting

As a Russian, hearing the full scale of what Putin has done to this country is painful, confronting and infuriating. A brilliant job of speaking to different sources and telling the story in a clear and understandable way.

Anna M. makora ,

The Big Steal

This is a brilliant podcast.
Highly recommended!

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