Joined the Bolshevik Party, 1904. Took part in the 1905 Revolution. Emigrated at the beginning of WW1, 1914.
Returned, 1915, and sent to the front, 1916. Very active revolutionary propagandist during the February Revolution 1917. After the Bolshevik take-over October 1917, appointed Supreme Commander of the Russian Army (his military rank then was a warrant officer).
From March 1918, worked in the Soviet judicial and security system. Until 1931, the Chief Public Prosecutor at political trials, gaining the fearful reputation of Stalin’s henchman. From 1931, Minister of Justice of the RSFSR. In 1936, Minister of Justice of the USSR. Remained Public Prosecutor at the early Stalinist trials, but fell from favour and was himself arrested and executed on Stalin’s orders.
Born May 14, 1885