mid-2013 – mid-2018
Return to a rational tradition
This original work was a personal research project, self-directed and self-funded.
It was designed to demonstrate that the Qur'an may be understood on the basis of its own internal mechanics, intrinsic definitions and pan-textual usage.
The resultant work comprises 536,000 words. It identifies a new, non-sectarian system of hermeneutics and presents a full translation of the Qur'an on that basis.
It includes over 9,000 notes and twenty-four articles in the Appendix.
Among its many achievements, the work provides a cogent and logically compelling solution to the 1,400-year-old problem of the muqaṭṭaʿāt (or mysterious letters) in the Qur'an.
For more see here.
August 2015 – November 2016
Cat among the pigeons
Contributed weekly columns on freelance basis to the Op-Edge department of Russia Today.
Briefed to write authentic, original copy to stimulate debate.
Succeeded in becoming one of RT’s most compelling writers, consistently generating traction among readers and on social media.
January 2010 – July 2014
Making words work
Opened and ran boutique PR consultancy helping companies in Moscow meet international communications requirements.
Services included: consultancy, translation, editing, and original copywriting.
Worked with the following either directly or via existing agencies: Borjomi, First Russian Recovery, InterRao, Microsoft, Mikhailov & Partners, Nomos Bank, Nordgold, Onetwotrip.com, Perimetrix, Rosinter, Mikhail Prokhorov, Samsung, Seagate, Sollers, Telenor, TKK.
After US sanctions against Russia hit clients' budgets the decision was taken to close the business and concentrate full-time on what became the writing project above.
The nature of much of this work is confidential and covered by non-disclosure agreements; examples of non-confidential work are provided below:
Client: First Russian Recovery.
Brief: to present company profile online in English.
Approach: advised the company to move away from existing presentation and showcase itself simply and succinctly. Trimmed and rewrote copy in English based on the Russian original. The result was then translated back into Russian for domestic uses.
Client: Mikhail Prokhorov.
Brief: to write (as part of a group) the political manifesto for Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire who was running against Vladimir Putin in the 2012 Presidential elections.
Approach: to strike a businesslike, matter-of-fact and decidedly Russian tone which echoes the client’s reputation as an effective business leader.
Brief: to present a complex product online simply in English for this Russian technology company.
Approach: advised the company to create informational pathways beginning on the homepage which would allow non-specialists, technical specialists and C-Suite decision-makers to access relevant information quickly and to drill down from there.
Worked with designers to create the site, and wrote copy in English based on a Russian brief. The result was then translated into Russian.
Brief: to write product copy for Telenor in English.
This scenario entailed delivering output for a Norwegian company using English as a business medium for a decision-maker whose native language is Russian.
Commonly such tasks entail challenges which are cultural and personal as well as creative. The approach here was to consult appropriately with all stakeholders having first identified the final decision-maker.
Approach: to work with all parties to achieve an outcome which communicates key facts simply and in a way which all stakeholders would understand.
September 2010 – November 2013
Everyone has a story
Devised, produced, wrote and presented two successful, popular weekly radio shows for the Russian state international English-language radio station Radio Sputnik (formerly Voice of Russia).
Total output: 180 shows.
September 2008 – August 2010
Director of International Projects
Engaged by Russia’s premier strategic communications company Mikhailov & Partners as client interface and personal consultant to high-profile Russian clients needing to engage effectively with target audiences via Western media.
The Holmes Report lists Mikhailov & Partners as following:
Number 1 Communications Consultancy in Central and Eastern Europe Mikhailov & Partners advises Russian and global business leaders, helping them to take and maintain the strategic initiative in building their reputations and managing communications.
The role focused on the creation and management of bespoke international campaigns for high-profile clients.
Responsible for annual budgets of one million USD with three direct reports and multiple out-of-house teams.
Key client: Vladimir Yakunin, President, Russian Railways.
Accompanied Mr Yakunin personally internationally facilitating press interaction at multiple destinations including: Singapore, Libya, Germany, Spain, UK, Mongolia and Slovakia.
Liaised with international press ensuring that client interviews were efficiently and professionally managed and oversaw the monitoring of media coverage and writing of reports thereafter.
Key client: Mikhail Prokhorov, CEO, Onexim Bank.
- Provided PR support in collaboration with other agencies – chiefly Burson & Marsteller – to facilitate client's purchase of Brooklyn Nets basketball team
- Participated closely in process of providing press training to client prior to meeting international media
- Managed the logistics of bringing 60 Minutes and Bloomberg to Russia to film client as part of media support for the client's international projects
For 60 Minutes film see here.
2004 – 2008
A taste of the story
Wrote a popular film-review column for The Moscow News.
The approach was to describe each film in a methodical fashion and concentrate on what each film is, rather than what it is about.
The writing style employed allowed readers to assess whether they might enjoy each film – even those slated in the review.
2000 – 2002
A new concept of data storage
The Associative Model of Data featuring Sentences by Lazy Software was developed using start-up funding.
The company needed a way to explain its product to people who had some knowledge of databases but did not necessarily hold PhDs in mathematics.
Collated and rewrote or edited the company's entire product presentation and systematised and organised it to make all key points readily accessible to interested parties.
The company ceased trading after 9/11 which put the brakes on investor funding.