Once Upon a Time in Londongrad review

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This six-part series isn’t always as thrilling as you might expect, being rather slow and dense, but it does raise interesting questions about the power of Russian money in Britain and whether or not you believe its conclusions about the murders.

We review Peacock’s documentary series Once Upon a Time in Londongrad, which was released on November 15, 2022.

buzz feed may not be the first page that springs to mind investigative journalism. That is something Once upon a time in Londongrad openly acknowledges as it lays out the work done by Buzzfeed’s UK investigative journalism team to link fourteen UK murders to Russian billionaires. The series shockingly eschews sensationalism to take a close look at how Russian money infiltrated London and (perhaps) managed to avoid legal prosecution as they were involved in targeted murders.

The six-part series, streaming now peacockfollows Heidi Blake and her team, whose work was previously published in the 2019 book From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin’s ruthless assassination program and Vladimir Putin’s secret war against the West. It explores how Putin’s influence stretched as far as London and how he could be linked to a string of 14 murders between 2003 and 2016.

While he focuses on the developer’s apparent suicide Scottish young, the series explores all of these murders – some more suspicious than others. While death in a helicopter crash or train wreck could easily be overlooked, the healthy 40-something who collapses while jogging and the man who allegedly tucked himself into a zip-locked and padlocked holdall are harder to commit suicide or one attributable to natural causes.

The series moves a bit slowly in the beginning, taking its time to make connections and introduce other murders. The first episode devotes itself to investigating the death of Scot Young, who fell from a window in his girlfriend’s London flat, before taking a step back and giving the broader context of Russian billionaires in London in the second episode. In fact, the series is less sensationalist than one would expect from a topic like this, perhaps to demonstrate Buzzfeed journalists’ commitment to serious investigative reporting.

Many of the interviews in the documentary are with Buzzfeed journalists, although Young’s ex-wife Michelle also makes many appearances. Hearing about Blake and Tom Warren’s experiences while working on the story is actually one of the highlights of the series, as they discuss the challenges they’ve faced, like cars parked in front of their homes. (You can read more about her experience in this one Buzzfeed article by Warren.)

Other respondents are more skeptical about the links between the murders and Russia, although the documentary series does a good job of telling multiple sides of the story. The series isn’t particularly interesting to look at visually, nor does the editing stand out, but it’s put together sufficiently well to get its points across.

Whether or not you fully believe in the connection between these murders in Britain and Russia that the series aims to prove, one thing becomes undeniably clear as you watch: there’s something incomplete about this kind of Russian money spent in the British capital exists and the unwillingness of the government and police to consider their involvement in criminal activities. As Warren notes in his aforementioned article, “The deaths are a reminder that Putin’s Russia is as vindictive as it was when he was in office at the turn of the millennium.”

It’s almost incredibly good timing that this series is releasing this week. Especially now that Russia is ranked high on the world stage for its actions towards Ukraine and Poland, Once upon a time in Londongrad is a great watch for questioning what we know about the country’s actions abroad over the last few decades.

What do you think of the Peacock series Once Upon a Time in Londongrad? Comment below.

https://readysteadycut.com/2022/11/16/once-upon-a-time-in-londongrad-review/ Once Upon a Time in Londongrad review


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