Misha Glenny

    is a distinguished British investigative journalist, author and historian, based in London. As the Central Europe Correspondent, first for the Guardian and then for the BBC, he chronicled the collapse of communism and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. He went on to investigate the most dangerous and sophisticated organised crime networks around the world, shedding light on Russian mafia, giant drug cartels, corrupt intelligence agencies and cyber hackers who now pose an increasing threat to global security. Glenny has won several major awards for his work, including the Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting and is the author of six books, including The Rebirth of History: Eastern Europe in the Age of Democracy (1991), The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War, (1992), The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-2011 (1999) His most acclaimed book, McMafia. Seriously organised crime, (2008), which has been turned into a hit BBC TV series, describes in stunning detail the workings of Russian and international organised crime, from gunrunners in Ukraine to money launderers in Dubai, by way of drug syndicates in Canada and cyber criminals in Brazil. DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia (2011) deals with the internet underworld and cybercrime, and his most recent book, Nemesis: The Hunt for Brazil’s Most Wanted Criminal (2015) tells the story of an ordinary man who became the king of the largest slum in Rio, the head of a drug cartel and Brazil’s most notorious criminal, with whom Glenny conducted many interviews at the Maximum Security Federal Penitentiary. “We’re not in that kind of wild, speculative period of financial capitalism of the 90s and the 00s, but the 1% continues to detach itself ever further from the rest of the world. If you look at things like the London property market, even with Brexit, this is still one of the favoured destinations for people from dictatorships or classic organised crime figures. That money is still going through London, and it’s going through London property above all else, but also some of the financial mechanisms. And McMafia culture is visible at the very highest instances of state now, whether you’re looking at the Kremlin or the White House. […] Brexit has thrown everything up in the air – and this is an important point about organised crime. Legitimate business leaders say: ‘What we can’t deal with is uncertainty.’ But for the business of organised crime, the opposite is true. Uncertainty, chaos and disruption are a business opportunity. Some people involved in organised crime are clearly off-the-scale psychopaths who enjoy violence. But that is, in my experience, a minority. Most are simply living in a social structure that is so far away from Shepherd’s Bush, where I live, that it is really hard to go in there and say: ‘That is amoral behaviour.’ So I’m not excusing them. But I don’t want to be moral. I want to show people the way the world works, and for them to make up their minds about what is moral and immoral. I can assure even Daily Mail readers that they would take a turn to the dark side as well if they have no choice. On the whole, I think people are fundamentally good and they do not engage in criminal activity if they can avoid it.”
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