Hugh has worked as a writer and journalist for almost thirty years. His first job as a reporter was for Nature, the international journal of science. He was assistant editor of the London Review of Books for two years and subsequently worked as a reporter for The Times, the Glasgow Herald and The Observer, covering the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the first Intifada in Palestine and the wars in ex-Yugoslavia (and Albania) for various newspapers in the UK and abroad. In 1999, he reported on the war in Kosovo from behind Serb lines for the Financial Times, New Statesman and Independent on Sunday, and subsequently from Chechnya and Afghanistan (during the 2001 war) for Agence France Presse and the Sunday Times. From 1998-99, he was deputy editor of the International Herald Tribune edition published daily in Greece and Cyprus by Kathimerini, and he worked as a senior correspondent for Agence France Presse in Paris and Moscow from the end of 1999 to 2004, seconded to Belgrade, September-December 2000, for the ousting of Milosevic. From 1993 to 1997, while studying for a PhD in Russian literature at Trinity College Cambridge, he was the recipient of a British Academy award.
He also worked for a couple of years as Executive Editor at Penguin Books. From 2005-06, he was director of the democracy and conflict programme at the Foreign Policy Centre, a think-tank; and, from 2007-08, Russian editor at openDemocracy, for which he helped to launch a joint venture with one of the last independent voices in Russian media, www.polit.ru. He has worked as a freelance reporter in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and regularly appears on the BBC World Service, CNN and Al-Jazeera as a commentator. He has also written papers for a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies, mostly about the former Soviet Union and Iran, where he was (in 2006) a visiting fellow at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), a branch of the Iranian foreign ministry. His other publications include Special Effects (1994), Glasgow Victim (1995), Gannibal: The Moor of Petersburg (2005), The Stolen Prince (2006), and Understanding Iran (as co-author, 2006). He speaks fluent Russian, Greek and French, plus some Arabic and Spanish, and a bit of Serbo-Croat. He is currently the managing editor of Oblomovism, an independent publishing company.