UTR: Secret Police

2 mins read

4 Mic Rating


Having only launched in April 2022, the Secret Police podcast is relatively new to the scene, but Jack Johannessen is an experienced podcaster having already worked on a medical podcast called Head Cold

Secret Police is, as the name suggests, a deep dive into the Secret Police that are such a key aspect of propping up authoritarian regimes throughout history. As he puts it on his website, “More akin to a paramilitary force than your average cops, secret police enforce the ideology of the State and the personal agenda of a dictator.

So far, the podcast has focused on Russia, the home of some of the cruelest secret police forces over time. The first episode covered the Oprichniki who, decked out all in black and riding black horses, sound like something out of Tolkien but were the all-too-terrifyingly real enforcers of Ivan the Terrible’s reign of terror in the late 16th Century. Then we heard about the Tsar’s Okhrana who were so embedded into the subversive organizations that they were supposed to be spying on that they were virtually indistinguishable from each other. Soviet Russia has spawned a number of different secret police forces and so far, Jack has covered The Cheka and The NKVD.

Jack tells his listeners these often horrific tales with the good humor of a natural story teller—this is not a podcast for the queasy but it is certainly fascinating.


October 2022 Issue

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