On military service during WW1. Became a Bolshevik agitator and joined the RedArmy in 1918. During the Civil War, commanded Red cavalry detachments against Makhno and Wrangel.
Before World War II, Commander of the Red Cossacks, and Assistant Commander of the Central Asian military district, 1932-1938. Inspector of Cavalry, 1938-1941. During World War II, in charge of the formation of cavalry units.
Deputy Commander of Soviet Cavalry, 1943-1947. Also in charge of the deportation of the whole Kalmuck nation and the liquidation of the Kalmuck Autonomous Region (which was later restored). Gained the reputation of being an utterly ruthless Stalinist henchman.