The Cold War Atomic Spies

  On 29 August 1949 at 7:00 a.m. the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! The test stunned the Western powers. American intelligence had estimated that the Soviets would not produce an atomic weapon until 1953, while the British did not expect it … Read more

Discovering your husband is a KGB spy

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! The second part of Svetlana’s story starts shortly after her arrival in West Germany with her husband Oleg who is the Chief Editor of the Russian Service of Radio Liberty a CIA-financed station beaming Western propaganda into the Soviet Union. To Svetlana’s horror, Oleg … Read more

The Bridge of Spies spy

  On 10 February 1962, Gary Powers, the American pilot whose U2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, was released on “The Bridge in Spies” in Berlin by his captors in exchange for one Colonel Rudolf Abel, aka Vilyam Fisher – one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of the Cold … Read more

Cold War number stations

You might remember listening to short wave radio during the Cold War and coming across weird transmissions of metallic voices reciting random groups of numbers through the ether.  These are number stations, shortwave radio stations characterised by broadcasts of formatted numbers, which were being sent to spies operating in foreign countries. Number stations were used … Read more

My father the KGB spy

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! In 1978, Ieva Lesinska was a university student in Soviet Latvia with dreams of becoming a writer. She had just spent a heady month in New York visiting her father, Imants Lesinskis, a Soviet translator working at the United Nations. He was an employee … Read more

The Gouzenko Affair – the start of the Cold War

Igor Gouzenko exposed Soviet intelligence’s efforts to steal nuclear secrets as well as the technique of planting sleeper agents. The “Gouzenko Affair” is often credited as a triggering event of the Cold War,  with historian Jack Granatstein stating it was “the beginning of the Cold War for public opinion” and journalist Robert Fulford writing he … Read more

Ethel Rosenberg

  Ethel Rosenberg is a controversial figure with polarising views varying from an innocent mother caught up in Cold War hysteria to a willing and ruthless accomplice to her husband’s Cold War espionage betraying secrets to the Soviets. Anne Sebba’s new book “Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War tragedy” (“An American tragedy” in the US) … Read more

Codename Hero – Soviet Cold War double agent Oleg Penkovsky

  In August 1960, a Soviet colonel called Oleg Penkovsky contacted the West to offer to work as a ‘soldier warrior for the free world.  MI6 and the CIA ran Penkovsky jointly, in an operation that ran through the showdown over Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He provided crucial intelligence, including photographs of rocket … Read more