My abbreviated CV


From 2020. Honorary Honorary Professor in the School of Modern Languages & Cultures, University of Durham. 

From 2007. Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, 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 my book Burning Up, I switched to a Senior Visiting Research Fellow's contract, and resumed as 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).


2007-2017: Although I worked mainly as an academic researcher, I continued 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.