Home World Russia There's more to Russians in London than the McMafia gangster stereotypes

There's more to Russians in London than the McMafia gangster stereotypes
There's more to Russians in London than the McMafia gangster stereotypes avatar

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The BBC drama may reinforce negative views of Russia, says the novelist Vesna Goldsworthy

Vesna Goldsworthy

James Norton as Alex Godman in McMafiaNICK WALL/BBC

The much-hyped promise of James Norton — in his role as Alex Godman, McMafia’s English public school-educated baby oligarch — whispering sweet nothings in fluent Russian is enough to make a grown woman tremble at the knees. And I knew from Leviathan, one of my favourite Russian films, that Aleksey Serebryakov, who plays Godman’s retired mafia-boss father, can achieve more depth with his left eyebrow than most actors could with their entire bodies.

Yet as I sat down in front of my TV with a cup of smoky Russian Caravan tea (as easy to obtain in London’s Russian shops as it is in Moscow) I felt increasing anxiety. The series is based on Misha Glenny’s penetrating study of global crime networks, so why are the…

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