14 episodes

The story of the biggest theft in history: the resources of the biggest country in the world, Russia, by its own government.

It’s the story of two men. One a rising star in business and the head of Yukos - a huge oil company: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The other a former KGB officer who rose through the ranks to become President of Russia: Vladimir Putin.

With very different ideals, the two were destined to clash, and there could only be one winner. Vladimir Putin put Khodorkovsky in jail for ten years, stealing his company and becoming the richest man in the world.

In The Big Steal, Gavin Esler tells the story and examines Russia’s journey from democracy to kleptocracy, as the Putin regime attempts to erode democracy across the globe.

Produced by Fresh Air Production

The Big Steal Fresh Air Production

    • True Crime
    • 4.3 • 155 Ratings

The story of the biggest theft in history: the resources of the biggest country in the world, Russia, by its own government.

It’s the story of two men. One a rising star in business and the head of Yukos - a huge oil company: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The other a former KGB officer who rose through the ranks to become President of Russia: Vladimir Putin.

With very different ideals, the two were destined to clash, and there could only be one winner. Vladimir Putin put Khodorkovsky in jail for ten years, stealing his company and becoming the richest man in the world.

In The Big Steal, Gavin Esler tells the story and examines Russia’s journey from democracy to kleptocracy, as the Putin regime attempts to erode democracy across the globe.

Produced by Fresh Air Production

    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.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 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
    9. The Big Steal – Epilogue

    9. The Big Steal – Epilogue

    Gavin Esler talks to experts on Russia and its complicated political and economic landscape, to attempt to pull all the threads together and answer some of the questions that run through "the Big Steal".

    Gavin asks Vladimir Kara Murza how long Putin’s grip on power could last now he has effectively fixed things so he could be in power for as long as he lives. Can anything or anyone stop him? He asks Anne Applebaum if Russia will meddle in the US presidential election again this year? And what are the chances that Putin and his Kremlin cronies will ever be held to account?

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
155 Ratings

155 Ratings

hanginaround ,

can’t subscribe bc “Play Next” column covers ‘subscribe’ button

FIX IT PLEASE, APPLE

Kyle Smith (Charlotte) ,

Another Blue Anon Podcast

Yet again, another podcast that attempts to “shed light” on the Russian conspiracy theories that are on mainstream media. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, steer clear of the faux concern of people and podcasts such as this. It can all be summed up with American exceptionalism and “Russia bad”. Instead of this podcast, research the actual history of modern Russia instead of this Red Dawn esque propaganda.

nickel bay nick ,

🥰🤤😍

I’ve heard about the Russia 🇷🇺 and Ukraine 🇺🇦 stand-off. Last time I looked they have over 120,000. Just insane insane insane

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