Served in the Chevalier Guard Regiment (Konnogvardeiskii Polk). During World War I, Lieutenant-general, Commander of the 1st Cavalry Guard Division. In August 1917, appointed Commander of the Ukrainian Corps by the Provisional Government.
After the Bolshevik take-over 1917, appointed head of the army by the Ukrainian Rada, October 1917. Under German occupation during World War I, elected in Kiev Hetman (head of state) of the Ukraine, 29 April 1918. Unable to keep his position without German help, overthrown by leftwing Ukrainians under Petliura, 14 December 1918.
Emigrated to Germany.