Involved in revolutionary activity from 1913. During the Civil War, organizer of the Communist underground in the Ukraine, later a high-ranking political commissar in the Red Army. After the Civil War, had several party posts in the Ukraine and the Far East, 1920-1928.
Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in Belorussia, 1928. Head of the political administration of the Red Army and editor of the military newspaper Krasnaia Zvezda from October 1929. Deputy Minister of Defence, Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR, June 1930.
Caught up in the Stalinist purge of the Red Army along with Marshal Tukhachevskii and other military leaders. Committed suicide (shot himself) in Moscow while awaiting arrest.