Starting as a trainee for Reuters in Moscow in 1979, Alan worked as a foreign correspondent for more than 20 years, covering wars and political upheaval in the world's trouble spots. He has built up an unrivalled knowledge of Russia, having witnessed such seminal events as the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, the failed putsch which brought Boris Yeltsin to power in 1991, and the bloody fighting in Chechnya and the rise of bandit capitalism in the mid-1990s.
Alan was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1985, but was allowed back to Moscow after the collapse of communism.
After a hectic decade with Reuters, he moved in 1990 to The Sunday Correspondent, a UK weekly publication, and then to The Daily Telegraph, the leading British broadsheet, where he worked as Moscow correspondent (1994-98) and Middle East Correspondent (1998-2003), ending up as foreign editor (2003-2006).
He is a contributing editor of The National
, a new English-language newspaper published in the UAE. He has had articles published on Russian and Middle Eastern themes in a variety of outlets, including The Guardian, The Evening Standard, The Daily Mail and The First Post.
Alan studied Arabic and Persian at Oxford University, and speaks fluent Russian and French. He has just completed his first book, The Boy From Baby House 10. He lives in London with his wife, Sarah.