Andrei Soldatov graduated from Moscow State Social University, meanwhile renamed Russian State Social University, journalist department. In 1996 he started to work as correspondent of Segodnya newspaper. 1998-1999 - staff writer of Kompania journal.
In September 2000, then in Izvestia, he has opened with Irina Borogan and other colleagues the project Agentura.Ru. Since then he is editor and Irina Borogan his deputy editor of the Agentura.ru-project. 2002-2004 he was also chief of section of Versiya (weekly newspaper), in which he covered Moscow theater hostage crisis.
In April 2004, Andrei Soldatov started to make comments for radio Echo Moskvy as security expert. In July 2004, he joined weekly Moscow News as the secret services observer. He covered Beslan siege for Echo Moskvy and Moscow News. Since January 2006 he works for Novaya Gazeta.
He covered for Novaya Gazeta 2006 Lebanon War from Lebanon and tensions in West Bank and Gaza Strip (Palestine).
Soldatov regularly makes comments on terrorism and intelligence issues for Vedomosti, Radio Free Europe and BBC. Since July 2008 he is columnist of The Moscow Times. Since 2010 Soldatov writes for Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.
In June 2008 The Moscow Times has written in article "Journalist Enjoying A Security Monopoly"
"Agentura.ru has developed into an information and analytical hub, updated on a daily basis and covering developments related to security services in Russia and the former Soviet Union and terrorist groups worldwide. It also publishes articles on the history and practices of foreign security agencies and issues like media and legislative oversight of security services... Soldatov himself has emerged as a security expert whose insights and opinion are in high demand from the media and Western think tanks".
On November 25, 2008 Andrei Soldatov was the subject of a profile prepared by the DNI Open Source Center. “Soldatov has regularly highlighted the increasing influence of the special services in Russian government, reported on the security services' efforts to limit journalistic freedoms, followed spy cases, interviewed defectors, and chronicled personnel appointments and reorganizations of the special services,” the OSC profile stated.
On 1 November 2002, FSB officers searched the premises of Versiya, reportedly regarding information published in an Soldatov's article on 27 May 2002. However, Andrei Soldatov has claimed that this operation against his newspaper was related to a forthcoming article on the storming of the Moscow theatre and freeing of the hostages there on 26 October. Soldatov has been interrogated four times by the Investigative Department of the FSB based in Lefortovo.
In June 2008 Soldatov was questioned by the FSB in Lefortovo over the interview of the former SVR officer Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the US in 2000.
Despite this pressure he was in general widely protected because of the prominent position of his father Alexei Soldatov, who was a pioneer of communication sector, 2008-2010 Deputy Communication Minister and now is in the top team of the Moscow State University.
On November 12, 2008, Soldatov's employer Novaya Gazeta fired him and Agentura.Ru colleague Irina Borogan. In press release, Soldatov and Borogan said that Novaya Gazeta had ceased its collaboration with Agentura.Ru without explanation. ‘They even removed our banner from their website,' said Soldatov, noted by Maria Eismont in Index on Censorship on November 27). The paper's editors had not met with them; all information came from the personnel department.
As a result of this action, the statement continued, “'Novaya gazeta,' one of the few independent publications in the country in fact is ceasing to cover the special services and publish investigations [on them and] ‘both the suddenness and the form in which the separation happened gives reason to suppose that it was taken not for purely economic reasons”. reads the statement on Agentura.ru, encouraging readers to guess which of the recently published stories could be the real reason. One of Agentura's last articles for Novaya Gazeta focused on the former FSB officer Pavel Ryaguzov, who is currently facing prosecution in the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial.
Novaya Gazeta's deputy editor-in-chief Sergei Sokolov denies to Index on Censorship any politics behinds the firing. ‘Job cuts, including some of the star writers, are a result of the investors' decision to cut the funding of the paper. This has nothing to do with professional performance.' Sokolov added that the job cuts ‘will certainly affect the paper, but not catastrophically'. He said that the newspaper will continue to monitor the secret services, ‘like we always did, even before collaborating with Agentura'. Sokolov added that the coverage of Politkovsakya's murder case, which he is overseeing himself, will not be affected.
Roman Shleinov, head of the investigations unit at Novaya Gazeta, said to Index on Censorship the paper will continue to do investigations although now there will be less specialisation and journalists will be forced to write on a much wider range of issues. ‘Maybe the job cuts will push the remaining staff to work harder,' he said. But Shleinov was in general quite pessimistic: ‘It seems that things will get worse.'
In December 2005, Andrei Soldatov published with Irina Borogan the book New patriot games. How secret services have been changing their skin 1991-2004.
In April 2008 Praeger has published PSI Handbook of Global Security and Intelligence: National Approaches: Volume 1 - The Americas and Asia; Volume 2 - Europe and the Middle East where Soldatov is author of chapter on Russia's secret services.
In September 2010 Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's book The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB is published by PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
In August 2011 The Russian version of The New Nobility sat on seventh place on the best seller list of Knizhnoe Obozrenie. In early September it was the second place on the best seller list. On September 20 the authors were informed by Elena Evgrafova, a chief editor of the Alpina Business Books/United Press, that on September 14, the General Director of the Chekhov Poligraphic Complex, German Kravchenko, received a letter from the Moscow department of the FSB in which the Head of the 2nd Directorate of the 6th Inter-regional Section A.I.Sergeev requests information as to the identities of those individuals who placed the order for the publication of the book The New Nobility.
In October 2011 The French version of the New Nobility came out, published by François Bourin éditeur. In December 2011 The Estonian edition was published by the Tanapaev Publisher. In January 2012 the book came out in Chinese (Publisher CITIC).
In recent time he wrote about Kremlin's efforts to quell opposition after the wave of demonstration in 2011/2012. He also wrote about new developments in Russia in tougher control of social networks and in surveillance on the Internet. The Boston Marathon bombings on 15 April 2013 gave him reason to divert attention to terrorist networks, covering Russia and the U.S.
In October 2012 Agentura.Ru, Privacy International and Citizen Lab launched the joint project entitled 'Russia's Surveillance State' with Andrei Soldatov as a head of the project. The aims of the project were to undertake research and investigation into surveillance practices in Russia, including the trade in and use of surveillance technologies, and to publicise research and investigative findings to improve national and international awareness of surveillance and secrecy practices in Russia.
On October 6, 2013 The Guardian reported the research made by Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan over surveillance measures introduced by the Russian authorities at the 2014 Winter Olympics, including extensive electronic eavesdropping and surveillance. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with Citizen Lab and Privacy International. The publication of the research prompted three European parliamentarians to raise concerns about surveillance at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sophie in 't Veld, a Dutch member of the European parliament, and two other MEPs have tabled written questions in attempt to open a debate over Russian snooping. . On Jan. 22, 2014, Mr. Soldatov provided testimony on Russian surveillance practices before the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) of the European Parliament.
On April 18, 2014 Edward Snowden wrote an op-ed in The Guardian defending his decision to question Putin, and remarked:
The investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, perhaps the single most prominent critic of Russia's surveillance apparatus (and someone who has repeatedly criticised me in the past year), described my question as "extremely important for Russia". According to the Daily Beast, Soldatov said it could lift a de facto ban on public conversations about state eavesdropping.
In September 2015 Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan's book The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries is published by PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group. The book traces the origins of the Russian system of surveillance SORM and tells the story of the Internet in Russia. In December 2015 in the British popular newspaper The Guardian Soldatov warned the world’s biggest networks as Twitter, Google and Facebook to give in to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s demand to host their servers in Russia. If these companies open their doors to Russia’s security services they will lose control over their information and give the Kremlin and FSB access to the world's internet traffic and users’ personal data.Andrei Soldatov (with Irina Borogan) New patriot games. How secret services have been changing their skin 1991-2004, December 2005.
"PSI Handbook of Global Security and Intelligence: National Approaches: Volume 1 - The Americas and Asia; Volume 2 - Europe and the Middle East, Praeger, April 2008.
Andrei Soldatov (with Irina Borogan) The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB, PublicAffairs, September 2010.
Andrei Soldatov (with Irina Borogan) The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries, PublicAffairs, September 2015.
Both Sides Dropped the Ball on Tsarnaev, The Moscow Times, 23 April 2013 (background of Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013).
Russia's Digital Underground. How the Kremlin is waging war on information freedom, (with Irina Borogan), Foreign Policy, 5 April 2013.
Vladimir Putin's Cyber Warriors, The Kremlin's Ham-handed Effort to Squelch Online Dissent, Foreign Affairs, December 9, 2011.
Rouble trouble hits Russian media, Index on Censorship, November 27, 2008.
Journalist Enjoying A Security Monopoly The Moscow Times, 18 June 2008.
Russian spies at Cold War level' BBC News, 15 March 2007.
In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens The Washington Post, by Peter Finn, December 12, 2006.
Russian government sets sights on 'subversion', The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2005.
A Web Site That Came in From the Cold to Unveil Russian Secrets The New York Times, December 14, 2000.
Watching the watchers in Russia FAS, December 14, 2000.