Born on April 26, 1939 in Leningrad.
Graduated from the Eastern Department of the Faculty of international relations of MGIMO University in 1962, assigned to the editorial office of the newspaper “Pravda” as an assistant political observer. Sent to Vietnam as military correspondent of “Pravda” in 1967. From 1969 to 1971 went abroad several times to cover the events in the hot spots.
From 1971 to 1975 worked as correspondent of the newspaper “Pravda” in Ankara for the region of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Arabia. Vasiliev traveled to broadcast and cover the events of Arab-Israeli war in Syria in 1973. From 1975 to 1979 worked as correspondent of the newspaper "Pravda" in Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Ethiopia. From 1979 to 1983 worked as a columnist in the international Affairs Department of “Pravda”.
From the first days of work in the “Pravda” newspaper Vasiliev combined journalism and literary work with academic research. Graduated from the part-time doctoral course at the Institute of Oriental studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, defended his doctoral dissertation there in 1981.
Appointed Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1983, was elected Director of this Institute in 1992. Vasiliev currently is Honorary President of the Institute for African Studies of RAS.
Awarded the order of Friendship for his great contribution to the development and strengthening of relations between the Russian Federation and African States in 2011.
Chief Executive Officer, State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM