In 1915 he graduated from the Military Cadet College.
In WW1 he was a company commander on the southwestern and Romanian fronts and from 1918 he was in the Red Army. As an ex-Tsarist officer he was not allowed to join the CP but as a regimental commander on rear-area security duty in the civil war he crushed anti-Soviet revolts (Scarecrow).
Malandin then served primarily as a staff officer. He was CofS from brigade to army level, ending in the Detached Red Banner Far Eastern Army, 1930-1935. After graduation from the GS Academy in 1938, and remaining briefly as an instructor, in 1939 he was deputy CofS, Ukrainian Front, during the Galician campaign.
Politically suspect as a former officer in the old Russian army he was denied party membership until 1940. But Maladin was on the mass- promotion list of June 1940, appointed general lieutenant along with Chuykov, Golikov, Konev, Vatutin, Yeremenko, and Sokolovsky. Although Malandin appeared to be in line for the fame they achieved as field commanders, he became a mere footnote.
From November 1941 Malandin headed the "operational art field operations department" at the GS Academy. From December 1943 he was CofS to N.P. Pukhov in the 13th Army, 1st Ukrainian Front. After the war he was CofS, Central Forces Group, being promoted to general of the army (No. 31) on 12 November 1948. Kruzhin finds he was deputy CGS at this time. Then Malandin was chief of the main staff, and deputy CinC of Ground Forces (Scotts). After holding other high posts he moved to the GS Academy in June 56, first as a department head then 1st deputy commandant. Malindin was commandant from June 58 until his death on 27 October 1961.
He was a member of the Communist Party since 1920.