Born in 1939 in Moscow. In 1963 Nikolay P.Petrov graduated from the Faculty of Geography, MSU.
In 1962-1963 he worked on the construction of the Bhilai Steel Plant (India); in 1963-1974 he worked at the «Novosti” Press Agency; in 1971-1974 – at the U.S. Branch of the “Novosti” Press Agency. In 1972 he completed his postgraduate studies in social psychology of mass communications, Faculty of Journalism, MSU, and then defended his doctoral degree in History. In 1974-1988 he worked as head of Public Opinion Sector at the Institute of the U.S. and Canada, USSR AS. In 1988 Popov was head of social and political research at VCIOM.
From 1993 to 1996 he has worked deputy head, head of sociological department of the Analytical Centre of the President of the Russian Federation, member of Expert and Analytical Council under the President of RF. From 2001 he has been a leading expert of Economic Working Group at the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation. From 1996 he has been an advisor, member of Scientific Council of Socio-Political Foundation INDEM. In 1998-2006 he was scientific director of the Agency for Regional and Political Research of ROMIR Monitoring Company.
In 2006 - 2007 –he was VCIOM`s international research director.
From 2007 he has been deputy chief editor of the journal “Monitoring. Social and Economic Changes”.
Popov is a member of Scientific Council of VCIOM; author of 4 monographs and co-author of 5 books, devoted to sociology and public opinion.