Alexander Turgaev was born on August 22, 1958. In 1975, he finished secondary school No. 1, in the town of Kovylkino, Mordovian ASSR. In 1981 he graduated from the Faculty of History at the Zhdanov Leningrad State University, in 1985, he finished his postgraduate course at the Zhdanov Leningrad State University and in 1986, he defended his thesis there for a Ph. D. in history ("Special Features of Socioeconomic Position of Attached to Land Soldiers in the North-West of Russia. 1832–1862"). In 2000, he defended his thesis for the Doctor's Degree (History) in the St. Petersburg State University ("Military Settlements and Novgorod Peasants. 1832–1857").
In 1999–2000, he was professionally retrained at the St. Petersburg State University in accordance with the program "Jurisprudence (legal practice and teaching law)". In 1985–1986 — assistant at the department of pre-revolutionary Russian history, Mordovian State University by Ogarev, in 1986–1991 — lecturer, senior lecturer at the department of political history, Leningrad Aviation Instruments Building Institute, in 1991–1995 — assistant professor at the department of world history, Leningrad Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics.
From 1996 to 2010, he worked in the North-West Academy of Public Administration in the positions: deputy Pro-Rector (from 1996), Pro-Rector (from 1996), First Pro-Rector (from 1998 to 2010). At the same time, he engaged in research and pedagogical activities in the positions: Professor at the department of history and world politics (from 1996 to 2001), head of the department of political science (from 2001 to 2007), head of the department of history and world politics (from 2007 to 2010). His academic interests encompass socioeconomic history of Russia, history of public administration and state service in Russia, political science.
Author of four monographs and more than 70 academic works, training and guidance manuals. He trained two Doctors of Sciences and more than ten Candidates of Sciences (Ph. D.). From 2010 — Rector of St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts (now St. Petersburg State University of Culture). In 2003, he was awarded the medal "In Memory of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg", in 2004 he was awarded the Order of Friendship. He bears honorary title of the Honored Worker of the Russian Federation Higher School (2010). Member of the board of the Russian Creative Union of Cultural Workers, chairman of the commission for working with educational establishments. Member of the editorial board of Person. Culture. Society magazine of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.