In 1880, аfter finishing Chekhov Gymnasium, Vladimir Germanovich enrolled in the School of the Physics and Mathematics of Saint Petersburg University, in 1881 transferred to the Economics Department of the School of Law. He was dismissed for revolutionary activity with Narodnaya Volya and exiled to his parents' home in Taganrog. He spent 11 months at Taganrog prison for revolutionary propaganda.
In 1886, Vladimir Germanovich moved to Saint Petersburg, where he was arrested in solitary confinement for almost 2 years and later exiled into northeastern Siberia, near Yakutsk (1889–1899), where he studied the Chukchi people, their way of life, traditions, language, and beliefs, giving him valuable material for poems and belletristic essays.
In the early 1880s, Vladimir Germanovich published his first prose work. In 1899, he published the book Chukchi Tales and in 1900, Poems. The author was considered to be the discoverer of a new topic in Russian literature and an expert on the material and spiritual culture of the Chukchi.
Returning from the exile in January 1899 to Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Germanovich contributed as a poet to the Marxist publications Nachalo, Zhizn', as well as to the Nauchnoye obozreniye magazine and to the Severnyy kuryer newspaper. In 1899, by recommendation of the Academy of Sciences, Bogoraz was invited by New York City's American Museum of Natural History for the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1900–1901) aimed at studying the ethnography, anthropology, and archaeology of the Northern coasts of the Pacific Ocean.
Vladimir Germanovich left Russia for political reasons in 1901 and settled in New York City, where he became curator of the American Museum of Natural History and produced his great works The Chukchee (1904-1909) and Chukchee Mythology (1910).
Vladimir Germanovich returned to Russia in 1904. He contributed to Russkoye bogatstvo, Russkaya veda. He was one of the leaders of the All-Russian Peasant Union, as well as a social-democratic political party of Russia The Trudoviks in the Duma.
At the beginning of summer 1908, Vladimir Germanovich went on a trip to Russia in order to analyze the shifts in popular consciousness that occurred as a result of the revolution.
After the October Revolution, Vladimir Germanovich was a curator of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. In 1917, he became a professor of ethnology at Petrograd University (now Saint Petersburg State University). He, with the help of Lev Sternberg, organized the first Russian ethnography center at the University. During the 1920s and 1930s, he did important anthropological work creating and teaching written languages for indigenous Siberian peoples and founded the Institute of the Peoples of the North in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg).
Having adopted Orthodoxy in 1885, in accordance with custom, Natan Mendelevich Bogoraz received a new name - Vladimir, and godfather’s middle name - Germanovich. Nevertheless, he kept the name Nathan in the form of a conspiratorial name and literary pseudonym: N.A. Tan. Bogoraz’s childhood passed in Taganrog.