Took part in the Russo-Japanese war, 1904-1905. Colonel of the Preobrazhenskii regiment, 1917. Being accidentally in Petrograd during the February Revolution 1917, was practically alone in organizing resistance with detachments which he put together on the spot.
After the Bolshevik take-over 1917, joined the Whites. Governor of Novorossiisk, August 1918. Commander of the 1 st Army under Wrangel in the Crimea.
After evacuation to Turkey, 1920, commander of the interned White forces in the camp on Gallipoli. Stern disciplinarian, able to maintain order during this time of defeat and despair. Moved to Bulgaria, later to France.
Succeeded Wrangel, 1928, as head of ROVS (Union of White Veterans). Contini id the struggle with the Bolshe ks by sending his agents on underground missions to the USSR with some limited success (e.g. the bombing of GPU buildings in Moscow). The GPU created a trap, masquerading as a monarchist organization, Trust, to fight his agents.
On 26 April 1930, kidnapped on a Paris street (with the help of a former comrade-in-arms, Skoblin, turned GPU agent) and disappeared. It was thought that he was killed soon thereafter in France, but in the Gulag Handbook by Jacques Rossi, published 1987, he is mentioned as a Lubianka inmate. Details of his death remain unknown.