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Surveillance, Sex, And Espionage. Russian Spook Shares Story In New ‘To Die For’ Podcast.


For the first time, an alleged Russian Federal Security Service-trained seduction agent has agreed to tell the full story of her training, techniques, targets, and missions. And she is doing it in a podcast. Journalist Neil Strauss is behind the forthcoming To Die For series, produced by Tenderfoot TV in partnership with iHeartPodcasts. 


The series brings listeners into a world of nablyudeniye (surveillance), kompromat (blackmail), and love traps. A world where a seemingly harmless date can end in abduction, blackmail, or death. “Imagine you were a fly on the wall at a dinner between the mafia, the CIA, and the KGB. That’s where this unprecedented podcast and revelatory confession begins,” according to press materials. The podcast is based on a first-hand story of a former Russian citizen who claims to be an FSB-trained sex spy—or “swallow.” 


The result is a series that explores not just the targets of sexpionage, but what the creators say are the other victims: the seduction spies themselves. The creators say while To Die For is a story of trauma, the podcast takes listeners into a dangerous world and demonstrates resilience too.


“Anyone I’ve told my story to is dead,” says the Russian source who the podcast episodes revolve around. “I'm ready to share my full story of overcoming lifelong trauma on a platform that can reach many other women at once who have faced similar challenges. There is a power that comes from our experiences, and I hope my story will inspire other women to find their voice and use their experiences to shape a brighter future."


To Die For is the latest podcast project for Strauss, a ten-time best-selling author, a former New York Times reporter, and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. Strauss has also been recognized for his role in the critically acclaimed podcast To Live & Die in L.A.


“These were not just interviews but an education," Strauss says. "And I hope the podcast can help raise awareness of not just the clandestine techniques used for brainwashing, honey-trapping, and abuse of power, but also healing for those involved.”


To Die For premieres Tuesday March 26. The producers say they will simultaneously make all eight episodes available to binge. Listen to a preview HERE.


Tenderfoot And Audacy Team Up In New Slate


To Die For is one of six new and returning Tenderfoot TV series set for release this spring. Next month it is partnering with Audacy to release a new podcast, Status: Untraced about survivalist and world traveler Justin Alexander, who in 2016 went missing in the Parvati Valley while on a spiritual trek into the Himalayan Mountains. The 10-episode journey explores what really happened to him.


Also next month, Tenderfoot and Audacy are releasing a new 12-episode season of Radio Rental. Since the Rainn Wilson-led show launched in 2019, it has had more than 45 million downloads. The scripted horror and comedy mashup features first person accounts of real-life horror stories–from bizarre crimes to paranormal activity.


Also set for release is a true crime podcast called Truer Crime that Tenderfoot says will talk about real people — murdered, missing, misled — with more nuance, more context, and more questions.


There is also the upcoming third season of the narrative podcast Culpable. The show has had 40 million downloads during its first two seasons, and in the new season titled “Case Review,” a new format will be embraced as each episode will feature a different case. The series is also produced in partnership with Audacy. The two companies are also working on a new series called Lords of Death. The true crime series will focus on a 1995 murder in Dayton, OH.


Meantime, Tenderfoot TV and Audacy say they have seen a solid launch for the latest season of the Up and Vanished franchise. Hosted by Tenderfoot cofounder Payne Lindsey, the season produced in partnership with Audacy, subtitled “In the Midnight Sun” is set in Alaska as it uses one case to shine a spotlight on the grim reality of the high rate of missing and murdered Indigenous people in the U.S., specifically Native Alaskans. Up and Vanished’s new season has had nearly 500,000 downloads per new episode, and more than five million series downloads in the last 30 days.

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