Soviet public and political figure, chairman of KOMZET. He was born into the family of a railway employee, and studied at St Petersburg University. From 1896 he began to take part in the revolutionary movement. In 1902-04 he studied at Heidelberg University in Germany. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903. From 1905 he was a member of the RSDLP's Ekaterinburg Committee, and later of its Ural region committee. He was arrested and sent into exile. After the February revolution of 1917 he was a member of the RSDLP committee and soviet in Orenburg. In March 1918 he became Commissar for People's Education in the Ural region, and regional deputy chairman of the Cheka. After the civil war he worked in various capacities for the Party and the state. In the 1930s he was a member of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. In 1938 he became head of KOMZET. He was expelled from the Party for "gross political errors".