Yuri Gagarin – the first human in space

9.07 a.m., April 12, 1961. A top-secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile – originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead – and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to … Read more

Soviet Tours

Soviet Tours is a Berlin-based tour operator focussed on off-the-beaten-path destinations across the globe. Their core area, as the name suggests, lies mainly in and around the former USSR. From the mystic forests of Central Siberia to the austere peaks of the High Caucasus, from the scorching deserts of the Soviet Stans to the windswept … Read more

An evening with Kim Philby

  Ben Brown is the writer of A Splinter of Ice, a play that portrays the meeting in Moscow in 1987 of one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Graham Greene and his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby, one of Britain’s most notorious spies… and a traitor.  Graham Greene never divulged any details of … Read more

The Happy Traitor – The Life of Soviet Spy George Blake

  I talk with acclaimed author and journalist Simon Kuper, has written The Happy Traitor, the story of British spy and Soviet Union double agent George Blake, the last major British traitor of the Cold War. A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.’ … Read more

Advanced English studies in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s

Vadim was at school in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s. He attended an Advanced English Studies School where all subjects were taught however, the focus was on English. He provides us with insights into the setup of Soviet education as well as the school life, teaching methods, and pop culture. We hear how the … Read more

Sovietisation of Estonia

Michael Zdanowski was born and raised in the UK, but his interest with the Cold War goes back generations.  His grandfather having emigrated from Poland to the United Kingdom during the second world war and was a distinguished member of the RAF in the battle against Germany.  Many of Michael’s relatives remained in Poland during the Cold … Read more

Détente – the chance to end the Cold War

    Today we speak with Richard Crowder, the author of “Détente – the chance to end the Cold War”. Help support the podcast by buying the book here Between 1968 and 1975, there was a subtle thawing of relations between East and West, for which Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev coined the name Détente. The … Read more

I was a deep cover KGB spy – Part 2

This is part 2 of our chat with Jack Barsky who spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States. He is the longest surviving known member of the KGB illegals programme that operated during the Cold War. In this episode we talk about his first days in the US, his mission … Read more

I was a deep cover KGB spy – Part 1

  If you’ve seen the TV drama series, “The Americans” you’ll be fascinated by this episode. Albrecht Dittrich was an East German graduate student and a true believer in the Communist cause when he was recruited by the KGB in 1970. He spent ten years as an undercover KGB agent in the United States. He … Read more

In Cold War Skies – NATO & Soviet airpower 1948-89 (142)

  Today’s episode is brought to you by Osprey publishing and we’re speaking with Michael Napier, the author of “In Cold War Skies – NATO and Soviet airpower 1949-89”. Michael also flew the Tornado during the Cold War and served during the 1980s at 14 Sqn and 31 Sqn at RAF Brüggen in  West Germany … Read more