Born in 1953.
In 1975 he graduated from the classical department of the philological faculty of Moscow State University. Candidate (1979) and Doctor of Philology (2002).
In 1978–1984, he taught at GITIS, then worked at the Institute of Physical Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
1990–1991 — Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation in Heidelberg.
1992–1997 — Researcher at the Bremen Institute of Eastern Europe. He taught at universities in Denmark, Germany, USA, worked as a freelancer on the Internet edition of Deutsche Welle (2001–2006), Assistant Professor at the University of Bonn (since 2002), and in 2006–2007 he was again an employee of the Institute of Eastern Europe.
Since 2007 — Professor of the Faculty of Philology of Moscow State University.
From April 2011 to September 2012 — Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Studies, RANEPA.
Since October 2012 — Professor, Faculty of Philology, HSE, Member of the Academic Council. He also teaches at the University of Basel (Switzerland).
Lives in Moscow.