Born on December 12, 1954 in Leningrad/St Petersburg.
In 1981 he graduated from the Department of Asian and African Studies of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) State University. In the same year he became a postgraduate student of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Leningrad Branch).
In 1984 he became a tenured member of this Institute. He occupied a variety of positions, the most important being the Head of the Foreign Cooperation Section and the Curator of the Tibetan Collection. For many years he was the Director and Co-Director of the joint project with the Asian Classics Input Project (ACIP) aimed at the compiling of a computer catalogue of the Tibetan collection. In 1996–97 he was a visiting professor at the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
In 2004 he defended the Habilitation Dissertation entitled Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing during the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644–1911).
His publications include three books and many articles in different languages. His main scholarly work is the Catalogue of Mongolian Manuscripts kept at St Petersburg University Library.
Scholarly interests: history and Buddhist literature of the Tibetans, the Mongolians and the Manchus.
Since November 2007 he works at the Department of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University. From January 2008 he was elected as a professor of the same department.
( the entire list as a *.pdf file)
The Buddhist Traditions of Russia: Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Lineage of the Pandita Khambo Lamas [Учение Будды в России: 250 лет институту Пандито Хамбо-лам]. Editorial Board: Prof. Dr. I. F. Popova (chief editor); B. B. Badmaev; Prof. Dr. V. L. Uspensky; Dr. A. V. Zorin (executive editor); A. A. Sizova (secretary). St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg
Centre for Oriental Studies Publishers, 2015. 186 р.
Manuscripts and Woodblock Prints in Asian Languages at the Scientific Library of Saint Petersburg State University / Edited by Vladimir L. Uspensky; St. Petersburg State University Faculty of Asian and African Studies. St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg State University Faculty of Philology, 2014. 175,  p.
Tibetology in St. Petersburg. Collected papers. Issue 1. Editorial Board: I.F.Popova (chief editor), B.B.Badmaev, A.V.Zorin (executive editor), V.L.Uspensky. St. Petersburg:
St. Petersburg Centre for Oriental Studies Publishers, 2014.
Uspensky V.L. Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing [Тибетский буддизм в Пекине]. St Petersburg, 2011. 368 p.
“Explanation of the Knowable” by 'Phags-pa bla-ma Blo-gros rgyal-mtshan (1235-1280) / Facsimile of the Mongolian Translation with Transliteration and Notes by Vladimir Uspensky. With special assistance from Inoue Osamu. Preface by Nakami Tatsuo. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 2006. 115 p.
Uspensky V. Index to the Catalogue of the Mongolian Manuscripts and Xylographs in the St. Petersburg State University Library. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 2000. 186 pp.
Uspensky V. Catalogue of the Mongolian Manuscripts and Xylographs in the St. Petersburg State University Library / Compiled by V. L. Uspensky with assistance from O. Inoue. Edited and Foreword by T. Nakami. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1999. XV, 530 pp.
Uspensky V. A Tibetan Text on the Ritual Use of Human Skulls // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 4, No 4, December 1998. P. 35-40.
Uspensky V. Prince Yunli (1697–1738): Manchu Statesman and Tibetan Buddhist. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 1997.
Буддизм в переводах. Выпуск 2 / Перевод Е.А.Торчинова, М.Е.Ермакова, В.И.Рудого, Е.П.Островской, Е.А.Островской-младшей, Т.В.Ермаковой, О.С.Сорокиной, К.Ю.Солонина, А.М.Кабанова, А.С.Мартынова, И.С.Гуревич, К.В.Алексеева, В.Л.Успенского, В.Ю.Климова, Е.А.Западовой. Редактор-составитель Е.А.Торчинов. СПб.: «Андреев и сыновья», 1993.