Vitali Vitaliev (Виталий
Витальев) is a Ukrainian-born journalist and
writer who has worked in Russia, the
UK, Australia and Ireland.
was born in 1954 in Kharkov, Ukraine.
graduated from Kharkov
University in French and
English, working as an interpreter
and translator before becoming a journalist in 1981.
as a special correspondent for Krokodil magazine in Moscow when he
appeared as Clive James' 'Moscow
Correspondent' on Saturday Night Clive.
31 January 1990 he
and his family 'defected', moving first to London, then taking
up residence (and citizenship) in Australia. After a few years there he moved back to
the UK, living in London.
He is now
back in London again after spending some time in Edinburgh and Dublin.
journalism work in the former Soviet Union included stories and investigative essays for
Ogonyok, Literaturnaya Gazeta and
Nedelya as well as
Krokodil, earning him the Golden Calf Literary Award, five
annual Krokodil Awards, the Journalist of the Year Honorary Diploma
for 1987 and the 1989 Ilf and Petrov
Prize for Satirical Journalism.
Vitaliev was the first Soviet
journalist to publicly expose organised crime, the so-called Soviet
Mafia, as well as the existence of prostitution, political
prisoners and Soviet neo-Nazis. It was largely due to all those
ground-breaking investigations and the resuling threats from both
the criminal underworld and the KGB that he was forced to
Vitaliev then worked for newspapers in Australia, such as
; and for the Irish magazine
. In the UK he
was written and worked for Punch
. In 2006-07 he worked as Editor-at-Large
magazine, UK, and at present is Features
Editor of E&T
Television and Radio
has written and presented several television documentaries for
Channel 4, ABC and the BBC, including
Tasmania, Moscow Central, Vitali's
Australia, My Friend Little Ben (in BBC1's
Byline series, 1990) and The Train To Freedom – a
programme in the series Travels With My Camera (Channel 4,
He has been a regular on BBC TV's "Saturday Night
Clive", broadcasting from Moscow and later from Melbourne live via
satellite, and a guest on After Dark
and Have I Got News for You
almost 3 years, he appeared regularly in Europe Direct
BBC World's magazine programme on weekday evenings. His appearances
on BBC Radio 4 include Breakaway
, Excess Baggage
and his own series "Eye on the East". In 2007, he was a researcher
and script-writer for the BBC2 comedy quiz TV show QI
In the West, Vitaliev has won several literary and journalistic
awards, including The Royal Melbourne Show Journalism Award (First
Prize) in Australia, RTS Award for the best TV entertainment Show
of 2007 (as part of the QI
team) in the UK and was
appointed Nieman Fellow in Journalism (Harvard University, USA) in
1990. In 2009, was shortlisted and "Highly Commended" in the UK
Columnist of the Year category of the PPA Awards.
- 1987 King of the Bar Pravda Publishers. A collection
of articles written for Krokodil magazine (in
- 1990 Special Correspondent – Investigating in the Soviet
Union, Hutchinson, ISBN 0-09-174297-8; translated into German,
French & Japanese
- 1991 Dateline Freedom – Revelations of an Unwilling
Exile, Hutchinson, ISBN 0-09-174677-9.
- 1991 Vitali's Australia, Random House, ISBN
- 1993 The Third Trinity (with Derek Kartun), Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN
0-340-55366-9; Seven editions in Germany
- 1995 Little is the Light- Nostalgic Travels in the
Mini-states of Europe, Simon & Schuster, ISBN
- 1997 Dreams on Hitler's Couch, RC Books, Simon &
Schuster, ISBN 1-86066-088-6
- 1999 Borders Up! Eastern Europe Through the Bottom
of a Glass, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-81810-8
- 2008 Vitali's Ireland. Time Travels in the Celtic
Tiger, Gill & Macmillan, September, ISBN
- 2008 Passport to Enclavia. Travels in Search of a
European Identity, Reportage Press, October, ISBN
- 2009 Life as a Literary Device, Beautiful Books, 31
October, ISBN 978-1-905636-44-0
- Granta 64, Winter 1998 Russia, The Last
Eighteen Drops (15 pages).
- QI Annual, Faber & Faber, 2007. In
- The Best of Ogonyok. The New Journalism of
Glasnost. William Heinemann, 1990. Three stories.
- The New Soviet Journalism: The Best of Soviet Weekly
Ogonyok, Beacon Pr, 1991, Three stories.
- The Penguin Book of Fights, Feuds & Heartfelt
Hatreds. An Anthology of Antipathy. Hardcover:
Viking, 1992. Paperback: Penguin Books Ltd, 1993. One story
- Central Asia: Threats, Attacks, Arrests & Harassment of
Human Rights Defenders. One of three authors/editors. Front