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Russia Rising

Russia Rising

Author: Curiouscast

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Curiouscast and Global News present the “Rising” series:

Season 1 - In this series, Host Jeff Semple, the Europe Bureau Chief for Global News, talks to Russian Trolls, looks at Cyberwarfare and Hacking, KGB agents, and The Putin Generation.
Jeff is on the ground gathering stories to form pieces of a puzzle, to separate fact from fiction, and unravel the mystery behind Putin’s Russia.

Season 2 - Hosted by Global News Senior Correspondent Jeff Semple, this ten episode season investigates allegations Beijing is applying pressure and working to infiltrate the upper echelons of power in Western countries, including Canada. The Chinese government is accused of deploying a range of tactics, from disinformation to hostage diplomacy. How should Canada and its allies respond to China Rising?
22 Episodes
Russia Rising is an investigative limited series premiering this Monday January 28th. Hosted by Jeff Semple, the Europe Bureau Chief for Global News, this series will look at Russian Trolls, Cyberwarfare, Hacking, KGB agents, and The Putin Generation. Jeff is on the ground gathering stories to form pieces of a puzzle, to separate fact from fiction, and unravel the mystery of Russia’s rise.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
“Crime Beat” is a new investigative podcast series hosted by Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt. She's been covering cases for over the past 20 years and knows her hometown by the crime scenes she's been to. Journey deep inside some of Canada’s most high-profile criminal cases. Each bi-weekly episode will take you inside the story to give you details you didn't hear on the news.   Here’s a sneak peek from episode 2 of the series…. and while you’re listening, search and subscribe to “Crime Beat” for free at or wherever you’re enjoying this podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Chinese government is accused of aggressively targeting Western democracies… with disinformation and ‘hostage diplomacy.’ From Global News, I’m Jeff Semple and on my new Podcast CHINA RISING, we’ll separate fact from fiction, and hear from accused spies, whistle-blowers, and others caught in the political crossfire;  As the pandemic rages across the world…and incidents of anti-Asian racism are on rise.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the first episode of Russia Rising podcast, we’ll visit the former home of the notorious Russian troll factory in St. Petersburg, which the United States accuses of meddling in its 2016 presidential election. We’ll investigate how those Russian internet trolls operate and whether other countries, specifically Canada, are targeted too. If you enjoy Russia Rising, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN E-mail: Guests: Vitaly Bespalov – Former Russian Troll Andrey Zakharov – Russian Investigative Journalist, BBC Russian Twitter: @skazal_on Dan Treisman – Professor of Political Science at the University of California and author of the book ‘The New Autocracy,’ Twitter: @dstreisman Patrick Warren – an Associate Professor of Economics who has been at Clemson since 2008. Twitter: @plwarre Yaroslav Nilov, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Instagram: @yaroslavnilov Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On this episode of Russia Rising, we’ll take a closer look at the man who has ruled over the world’s largest country for nearly two decades: Vladimir Putin was a poor kid from a tough neighbourhood who became a Russian KGB agent, a billionaire and the country’s longest-serving leader since Stalin. Along the way, he’s also been accused of committing a laundry list of atrocities. To truly understand what motivates Putin — why he does what he does — we need to know where he came from. To that end, we’ll speak with Arkady Ostrovsky, the Russian editor for the Economist magazine and Steven Lee Myers, a Putin Biographer and veteran journalist with the New York Times. We’ll explore Putin’s rapid rise to power in an interview with Jeremy Kinsman, Canada’s former ambassador to Russia. We'll also attempt to answer the question "what is Putin's motivation?" by speaking with a former KGB agent named Alexander Vassiliev. Vassiliev who was recruited by the KGB in the 1980s and attended the same spy training school at around the same time as Putin. If you enjoy Russia Rising, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN E-mail: Guests: Arkady Ostrovsky, Russian editor for the Economist magazine, Author of ‘The Invention of Russia’ @ArkadyOstrovsky Steven Lee Myers, New York Times Correspondent, Author of ‘The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin’ @stevenleemyers Jeremy Kinsman, Former Canadian Ambassador to the Russian Federation Alexander Vassiliev, Former KGB Agent, Co-author of ‘Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America’  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On this episode of Russia Rising, we’ll visit the front-lines of a growing cyber-war, where hackers from Russia, Iran, China and other countries are battling for control of everything from your online bank account to your city’s hydro grid. To understand how these hackers operate, we’ll speak with a guy who used to be one: Alexandr Varskoy is a former Russian hacker. We’ll also explore the underworld of financial crime cyber, by speaking with Nicholas Palmer, the Director of International Business at GroupIB, a private cyber-security firm based in Russia. Finally, we’ll explore Cyber warfare with Satyamoorthy Kabilan a leading expert in cyber security who has advised the Canadian government. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN E-mail: Guests: Alexandr Varskoy, former hacker Nicholas Palmer, the Director of International Business at GroupIB Dr. Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Vice President, Policy at the Public Policy Forum  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On this episode of Russia Rising, we’ll visit Salisbury, England — the historic cathedral city that became the site of the first chemical nerve agent attack on European soil since the Second World War. The poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergey Skripal in March 2018 prompted one of the most explosive and controversial allegations facing the Kremlin today: Were Russian secret intelligence agents responsible for the botched assassination? And if so, how could trained Russian spies have been so careless by leaving a trail of evidence for British investigators to follow? In the search for answers, we’ll return to the scene of the crime and speak with former KGB agent Alexander Vassiliev. Then we talk to Charles Shoebridge, a former British counter-intelligence officer and then we talk to Russian journalist Roman Dobrokhotov, who has spent the past few years investigating Russian GRU activities. We’ll speak with Dobrokhotov and his counterparts at Bellingcat, a British-based investigative news website, about how they uncovered the true identities of the alleged assassins in Salisbury, one of whom apparently used his real first name and birth date on his fake ID documents and had a vehicle registered to GRU headquarters in Moscow. The Kremlin denies any involvement in the Skripal poisoning and President Putin has said that the two Russian suspects are innocent and ordinary civilians. We’ll cut through the contradicting claims and examine the evidence, including what it reveals about Russia’s intelligence operations. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN E-mail: Guests: Alexander Vassiliev, former KGB Agent Charles Shoebridge, former British counter-intelligence officer@ShoebridgeC Roman Dobrokhotov, Editor in Chief of ‘The Insider’@Dobrokhotov Eliot Higgins / Founder of Bellingcat@EliotHiggins Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the fifth episode of Russia Rising, we’ll explore the growing information war between Russia and the West. Whether it's a chemical weapons attack in Syria, the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England or the war in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin often promotes a much different version of events from the one being presented by Western governments. And in an age of fake news, social media and countless alternative online news sources, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction and know whom to trust.    In this context, we’ll speak with Russian analyst Julian Lindley-French, who warns the Kremlin has deployed an effective propaganda strategy known as ‘Maskirovka.’ It began as a Russian military doctrine 600 years ago, but has recently evolved into a political weapon. We’ll explore a number of recent examples of ‘Maskirovka’ by speaking with Rasmus Nilsson, an expert in Russian Politics and Foreign Policy at University College London.    Edward Lucas, a Russia expert at the Center for European Policy Analysis, explains how each time the West accuses of Moscow of behaving badly, the Kremlin responds — not only with denials — but also by promoting numerous different theories and possible explanations. “The main thing is to distract,” he says. “Spread as many different conspiracy theories and alternative explanations as possible, so people think: we don’t really know what’s going on and who’s to know what the facts are.”   And spreading those alternative theories has never been easier, thanks to the internet and social media. We’ll speak via Skype with Lukas Andriukaitis, an analyst with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which tracks fake news online. And we’ll also take a tour behind the scenes of one of the world’s most controversial TV news networks: RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a Kremlin-funded TV channel that’s broadcast outside of Russia to more than 100 countries, including Canada. The United States has accused RT of being a propaganda weapon for the Kremlin and its American subsidiary was forced to register as a “foreign agent.” We’ll put those allegations to the network’s deputy editor in Moscow, Anna Belkina.  Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN E-mail: Guests: Julian Lindley-French, Canadian Global Affairs Institute@FrencLindley Rasmus Nilsson, University College London@RNilsson79 Edward Lucas, Center for European Policy Analysis@EdwardLucas Lukas Andriukaitis, Digital Forensic Research Lab@LAndriukaitis Anna Belkina, Deputy Editor of RT@Anabelle10021 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the sixth episode of Russia Rising, we’ll boldly go where no podcast has gone before. The International Space Station has long been heralded as a beacon of geopolitical cooperation, where representatives from 18 countries have lived and worked together, trusting each other with their lives. And all of them, including Canada and the United States, rely on Russia to hitch a ride to the stars. But that close, interconnected relationship is now being tested, as space becomes increasingly militarized and privatized. But should we believe the hype? Are we really on the cusp on a new space race? To find out what the future of space travel really looks like, we’ll ask the spacemen and spacewomen who’ve been there and back. David Saint-Jacques, Anne McClain and their Russian commander, Oleg Kononenko, and Chris Hadfield, who has flown two space shuttle missions and served as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Guests: David Saint-Jacques - Canadian astronaut@Astro_DavidS Doug Wheelock - NASA astronaut@Astro_Wheels Chris Hadfield — Former Canadian astronaut@Cmdr_Hadfield Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
An estimated 28 million Russian young people who were born after Putin first rose to power two decades ago. Russia’s 66-year-old strongman was first sworn-in back on May 7, 2000, and he has remained in the Kremlin’s seat of power, either as President or Prime Minister, ever since. This week we talk to those young people to find out what the future holds for Russia. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Guests: Anton Fedyashin - Associate Professor and Director, Carmel Institute, Department of History Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this special episode, Niki Reitmayer, host of "This Is Why", and producer of "When Life Gives You Parkinson's" speaks with Jeff Semple about the making of Russia Rising, and gets a few updates on the stories covered this season.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the first episode of China Rising, we'll examine  the Chinese government's practice of detaining political prisoners, by hearing directly from Canadians who've become caught in the crossfire. Christian aid workers Julia and Kevin Garratt lived in China for 30 years before their arrest in 2014, when they were suddenly cast as pawns in a geopolitical chess match. The Garratts’ traumatic experience is eerily similar to the case of the 'Two Michaels,' Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, detained in China since December 2018. Using their stories and others as a guide, we'll investigate how Western countries, including Canada, should respond to China's so-called 'Hostage Diplomacy.' Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Huseyin Celil is a married father of four and Chinese-Canadian who has been imprisoned in China for 15 years. Celil was arrested while on vacation with his family in Uzbekistan 2006. His lawyer says his only crime was speaking out for the rights of China’s Uyghur Muslims. Canada’s Parliament recently called China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority a “genocide” and the Canadian government is fighting to free two other Canadian prisoners in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. But there’s been scarcely any mention of Huseyin Celil’s case. We’ll speak to his wife, Kamila, who believes the coming months could provide a rare opportunity to finally secure his release. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the third episode of China Rising, we’ll explore the Chinese government’s so-called ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’. That term, inspired by the 2017 Chinese action movie ‘Wolf Warrior 2’,’ has recently been used to describe the shift to a much more aggressive and combative style of Chinese diplomacy, cracking-down on descent at home and abroad. How should Western allies respond to an increasingly bold and brazen Beijing? As part of our examination, we’ll investigate the head ‘Wolf Warrior’: Chinese President Xi Jinping. He's one of the world's most powerful men and yet we know remarkably little about him. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In January 2020, a mysterious new virus broke out in Wuhan, China. The Western world watched in horror as China cut-off the city of 11 million people, which scrambled to contain the spread. Within weeks, COVID-19 was everywhere. But before long, Beijing was declaring victory over the pandemic. We'll investigate how Beijing capitalised on the crisis, becoming a top exporter of Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 vaccines. The Chinese government is also challenging the narrative around COVID-19's origin and is accused of pushing disinformation to undermine trust in Western-made vaccines. We'll cut through the noise and hear directly from those of the frontlines of China's pandemic response. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On episode five of China Rising, we'll investigate the mysterious murder of a 41-year-old Chinese woman, Bo Fan, who was found brutally beaten to death in Surrey, B.C on June 17, 2020, not far from where her company had just hosted an event. The murder is raising questions about Fan's employer, a secretive self-improvement organisation from China called Create Abundance International, also known as Golden Touch. We'll also explore how British Columbia has become a hotbed for organised crime and money launderers with connections to China. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Episode 6 of China Rising, we'll hear from Canadians who say they and their families have faced threats, harassment, intimidation and surveillance in Canada for speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party. And we’ll investigate claims that the Chinese government is responsible for the alleged abuse, launching a state-sponsored campaign to crack down on dissent both at home and abroad. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Episode 7 of China Rising, we'll take a trip to Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters are fighting back against a government crackdown. Since Beijing introduced a new national security law for Hong Kong in July 2020, more than 100 pro-democracy activists, lawmakers and journalists have been arrested. Hong Kong is home to 300,000 Canadians -- the largest Canuck community in any city outside of Canada. We'll meet the Canadian expats on the frontlines of the fight for Hong Kong. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Episode 8 of China Rising, we'll explore the growing tensions between China and Taiwan, which are fueling fears of a possible Chinese military invasion and an armed conflict that risks spilling far beyond the island's borders. Taiwan is widely considered by security analysts to be a flashpoint for a confrontation between China and the United States. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province, which it has long wanted to bring under its rule. But public opinion polls show the vast majority of people in Taiwan consider themselves to be Taiwanese – not Chinese; They’re proud of their liberal democracy and do not want to become part of China. We’ll hear from Canadians living in Taiwan who are witnessing Beijing’s growing military aggression towards the island first-hand. And we’ll examine claims from some U.S. military leaders who predict China will launch a military invasion within the next six years. If that happens, how will Canada, the United States and their allies respond? Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Episode 9 of China Rising, we’ll update the story that has cast a shadow over Canada-China relations for nearly three years. September 5th, 2021 marks 1,000 days since Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China. Their arrests are widely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the United States. As Meng’s extradition hearing finally draws to a close and the ‘Two Michaels’ prepare to learn their fate, we’ll hear from the families and friends who are fighting desperately to bring them home. Contact: Twitter: @JeffSempleGN Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (15)


there is plenty of evidence that it was made in a lab.

Jul 7th


china propaganda. how amazing china handle the virus

Jul 7th

Mark H.

The first sentence is an incomplete sentence lol. The 28 million young Russians born after Putin's rise to power....did what?

Feb 14th

Paul Holland


Aug 8th

Hachig Rudolph Alyanakian

And what about Russia?...

Jun 19th

Boris Yoffe

Hey! I'm not sure, but it's not real interview/translation (in the beginning, the "factory" worker). What I hear on translation and what this Russian guy says are not the same. 🤔

Jun 3rd

Just Saying

I expected more evidence or real life examples. The Russians need to Learn from George Soros on how to manipulate hundreds of millions.

May 1st

Moji Taiwo

Intriguing and informative.

Apr 2nd

Emmanuel Sabbah

what's with the extra base in the voice... the audio is as doctored as the info. More fear mongering for the weak minded.

Mar 18th

Philip Macintosh

really enjoying this podcast. looking forward to the next episode.

Mar 3rd

Jordi Mak

This podcast is inevitably going to fail.

Mar 3rd


What I don’t understand about trolls... is how Russia benefits from creating negative (or otherwise) Canadian propaganda? Can someone explain?

Mar 2nd

STOP Bill Browder

Hoax done by the UK

Feb 24th

Denis Avdeev

nothing new or special. just regurgitation of same old cliches and stories cementing the "Canadian perspective".

Feb 19th


This is amazing it tells us about the hidden truth

Feb 14th
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