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Book Review: Defiance by Alex Konanykhin

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Ever since the Soviet Union crumbled in the early '90s, many first-time entrepreneurs who had exceptional financial success amidst the chaos that followed the collapse of the old way of life found themselves targets of the ruthless Russian Mafia, the KGB, and also the United States government.

This real life story of the author, Alex Konanykhin, is a detailed account that takes the reader from his relatively simple days in college to becoming the “Bill Gates” of Russia; from being one of the most powerful men close to Russian president Boris Yeltsin, to being considered a marked man by the KGB; from a political refugee in the United States to being a prisoner, and then finally to freedom.

Written during his frequent incarcerations, Konanykhin narrates a story worthy of a best-selling spy novel. It proves once again that reality is certainly far stranger than fiction. It tells us even in the free world that as long as there is lust for money, no one can escape persecution.

The book provides insights into the dark world of Russian politics with its influence even reaching U.S. shores and the breadth and depth of the KGB’s clout in the American government. The paperback offers a different and deeper perspective on the conspiracies revolving inside Russia’s political affairs. Many will find this revealing and will understand better what truly happened to the author.

Readers will be shocked at the hidden agenda of governments, including that of the United States. You will be convinced that what is commonly released in the media has more to it than meets the eye. As you read this book, you will also find it unbelievable that the U.S. government is all too willing to help KGB-controlled Russia, the so-called “Superpower of Crime,” catch its political enemies. The book also exposes a part of the Soviet culture that blindly hates capitalism yet it tolerates or sometimes encourages lust for power and wealth among its citizens.

The author, whom the CIA calls “The Kid,” reveals that titles are more important than actual production in a Soviet economy. To get by, one must be well-connected to men in power – it ensures a good job that pays well without having to actually work. It also shows how fear of authority restrains the whole nation from straying beyond the Soviet thinking. And only the brave few will prevail by challenging the status quo.

Appropriately titled, Defiance tells its readers that even in a world such as this, where the author lived in and against all odds, one can triumph. Alex Konanykhin’s memoir is an absolute must-read for anyone – particularly those who are interested in Russian business or politics.

Today author Alex Konanykhin, 39, heads KMGI, a thriving high-tech B2B agency located in New York which services major corporations and ad agencies across the globe.

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