Joined the Red Army and the Communist Party, 1918. Took part in the Civil War. In the 1920s, trained as a pilot.
High commands in the Red Air Force in Siberia, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, 1930-1937. Head of civil aviation in Central Asia and Transcaucasia, 1937. Arrested during Stalin’s purges of the military in 1938, tortured and sent to the Gulag.
Released, Sep. 1939, appointed director of the sanatorium Aeroflot in the Crimea. After the arrival of the Germans in Yalta, 1941, joined the Russian anti-Stalin movement. Head of the city administration of Yalta under German occupation, organized detachments for defence against NKVD partisans.
Wrote a book on his Gulag experiences, Konveier GPU, 1942. Applied to join Vlasov, but instead received an invitation to create air force groups from among Red Army prisoners under the control of the Luftwaffe. Created an air force regiment, which in February 1945 he put under Vlasov’s command in Czechoslovakia.
Proposed to evacuate Vlasov to Spain, but the latter refused to leave his soldiers. Surrendered to the US Army, and was taken to France. After demands from SMERSH, handed over to the NKVD in Paris.
Tried to commit suicide (cut his throat), but was rescued and brought by plane to Moscow’s Lubianka prison. Tried and hanged with his former colleagues-at-arms. A description of the circumstances of the creation of the ROA air force was given by his adjutant Pliushchov (published in the USA, 1982).