Misha Glenny

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Glenny in 2016

Michael V. E. "Misha" Glenny[1] (born 25 April 1958) is a British journalist and broadcaster, specialising in southeast Europe, global organised crime, and cybersecurity. He is multilingual. He is also the writer and producer of the BBC Radio 4 series, How to Invent a Country.[2]

Early life[edit]

Glenny was born in Kensington, London, the son of Juliet Mary Crum and Michael Glenny, a Russian studies academic.[3] Glenny described his ancestry as "three-quarters Anglo-Celtic and a quarter Jewish".[4]


He was educated at Magdalen College School in Oxford and studied at the University of Bristol and Prague's Charles University before becoming Central Europe correspondent for The Guardian and later the BBC. He specialised in reporting on the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia. While at the BBC, Glenny won Sony special award in 1993's Radio Academy Awards for his "outstanding contribution to broadcasting".[5] He has published three books about Central and Eastern Europe.[citation needed]


In McMafia (2008), he wrote that international organised crime could account for 15% of the world's GDP.[6] Glenny advised the US and some European governments on policy issues and for three years ran an NGO helping with the reconstruction of Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Glenny appeared in the documentary film, Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits (2011).[7]

Glenny's later books continue an interest in international crime.[8] DarkMarket (2011) concerns cybercrime and the activities of hackers involved in phishing and other activities.[9] Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio (2015) about the leading Brazilian drug trafficker Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes (known as "Nem") in Rocinha ("Little farm"), a favela (slum).[10][11]

From January 2012, Glenny was visiting professor at Columbia University's Harriman Institute,[12] teaching a course on "crime in transition". In an interview in October 2011, he also spoke about his new book, DarkMarket; assessing cybercriminals with Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge; the Stuxnet cyberattack which resulted in "gloves off" attention from governments; and other more recent cyberattacks.[13]

Glenny was an executive producer of the BBC One eight-part drama series, McMafia, inspired by his non-fiction book of the same name (2008).[14]

Glenny is a producer and the writer of the BBC Radio 4 series, How to Invent a Country, [15] also made available as a podcast. An audio book of the same name was published by Penguin Random House in January 2021, consisting of the series' first 28 episodes broadcast October 2011–March 2019.[16]

In 2019, Glenny presented a podcast on the life of Vladimir Putin titled Putin: Prisoner of Power.[17]

In 2022, Glenny presented a five-part series, The Scramble for Rare Earths, on BBC Radio 4. In the programmes he says, “In this series I’m finding out why the battle for a small group of metals and critical raw materials is central to rising geopolitical tensions around the world.” [18]

Personal life[edit]

Glenny is married to British journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Lang and has three children, two by his first wife (their daughter took her own life in 2014)[8] and one by Lang.[3]


  • The Rebirth Of History: Eastern Europe in the Age of Democracy (1991) ISBN 978-0-14014-394-2
  • The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War (1992; revised in 1996) ISBN 978-0-14025-771-7
  • The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804–1999 (1999; revised 2012) ISBN 978-1-77089-273-6
  • McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld (2008) ISBN 978-0-09948-125-6
  • DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You (2011) ISBN 978-0307592934
  • Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio (2015) ISBN 978-0-09958-465-0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
  2. ^ How to Invent a Country webpage, BBC Radio 4 website; retrieved 28 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b Misha Glenny "My family values" Archived 2 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 28 February 2009; retrieved 14 April 2015.
  4. ^ "McMafia- BBC's latest thriller". Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  5. ^ Greenslade, Roy (17 June 2008). "Journalism isn't blogging, and blogging isn't journalism". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 11 February 2021.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers, The Bodley Head, London, 2008 Archived 20 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 14 April 2015.
  7. ^ Raw Opium webpage Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Kensington Communications website; retrieved 14 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b Aitkenhead, Decca (30 December 2017). "McMafia author Misha Glenny: 'I don't want to be moral. I want to show people the way the world works'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  9. ^ Jones, Thomas (1 November 2011). "DarkMarket by Misha Glenny - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  10. ^ Wood, Tony (18 November 2015). "Nemesis by Misha Glenny review – king of the favelas". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  11. ^ Glenny, Misha (13 September 2015). "The day I met Rio's favela master: the drug lord who championed the poor". The Observer. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  12. ^ Speaker bio: Misha Glenny Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Govcert.nl; retrieved 14 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Misha Glenny on his book 'DarkMarket:..." Archived 28 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine (20 m.), Charlie Rose interview, 26 October 2011. Video available; no transcript; details from viewing; retrieved 14 April 2015.
  14. ^ Szalai, Georg (5 April 2017). "MIPTV: 'Drive' Writer and 'McMafia' Author on Teaming Up for BBC/AMC Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 11 April 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  15. ^ How to Invent a Country, BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  16. ^ How To Invent A Country, Penguin Random House UK Audio, London, 7 January 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  17. ^ Sturges, Fiona (1 September 2019). "A new podcast documents twenty years of Putin's forceful presidency". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  18. ^ "The Scramble for Rare Earths". BBC Radio 4. 26 September 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023. This link leads to the first episode in the series, and links to the subsequent episodes can be followed from there. Depending on one's computer settings, one episode may automatically run on to the next. Note that the BBC sometimes allows a programme to be listened to only once by a given IP address, and that subsequent attempts to listen to it again may be "autoblocked".

External links[edit]