My abbreviated CV


2007 onwards. Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford), on the Natural Gas Research Programme (see here). I have published widely on the development of natural gas markets, and changing consumption patterns, in the former Soviet Union. I edited and contributed to two major multi-author books, and wrote or co-wrote a series of research papers on the Ukrainian gas sector and natural gas markets in the Caspian region.

In 2017-19, while completing and publicising my book Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption, I switched to a Senior Visiting Research Fellow's contract, and resumed as a Senior Research Fellow in June 2019.

From 2012 to 2017 I taught courses on "Russia and the Soviet Union, 1861-2000: revolution, continuity and change" and "The Russian revolution 1917-1921", to undergraduate students in the history department of Canterbury Christ Church University. I have worked as a sessional lecturer at the university since 2008, lecturing on modern European history and occasionally on environmental history. Here are the Russia History Pages that I wrote for my students. 

2006. PhD from the University of Essex (History Department) for my dissertation, The changing political relationship between the Moscow workers and the Bolsheviks 1920-24.

1997. Graduated with BA (Russian Studies) degree (first-class honours) at London University (School of Slavonic and East European Studies).


2007 onwards: Although I work mainly as an academic researcher, I continue to contribute occasionally to specialist business publications, including Emerging Markets, Gas Matters and Italian Gas and Power.

1998-2007: I wrote mainly on energy, business and finance in the former USSR, and occasionally on wider international business issues. I contributed to the financial magazines Emerging Markets, Trade Finance and Project Finance and various industry journals. I wrote occasionally on Russia for the Guardian, the Observer, Financial News and Economist Intelligence Unit publications. I worked as Associate Editor of Emerging Markets from 2006 to 2011.

I have worked on media freedom projects in the former USSR supported by the International Federation of Journalists. I co-authored three reports, issued by the IFJ in 2004, 2005 and 2007 on the case of the murdered Ukrainian journalist Gyorgy Gongadze.

1997-98: Assistant editor at Metal Bulletin, the business information service for the metals industry.

1988-97: Freelance sub-editor and journalist. I worked at the Sunday Mirror from 1989 to 2000 as a part-time staff sub-editor, on the Guardian business pages (1991-1997) and the Observer business pages (1996-97). I travelled to Russia and Ukraine (extensively), Vietnam (1989) and Turkey (1991), and wrote in the Guardian, Glasgow Herald, Scotsman, Wales on Sunday and elsewhere about these countries.

I worked as the (freelance) Editor of the Miner, the bi-monthly journal of the National Union of Mineworkers (1990-95), and before that as the Editor of the North East Miner (1988-90).

1974-88: I worked as a reporter, freelance book editor and sub-editor at a range of newspapers, magazines and publishing houses.


I was educated at secondary level at Crown Woods School, London SE9 (1967-73) and Southwark College for Further Education (1973-74), and then worked as a journalist and editor before entering university education as a mature student.