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Berzin was born on 16 July 1888 at ?o?i Parish, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (today – in Latvia, near the border with Estonia) in a family of farmworker for-hire. His level of education is uncertain, but it is known that initially he worked as a herder and later as a factory worker. In 1905 Berzi joined the Latvian Social Democratic Labour Party and since 1909 he worked as a teacher. In 1911 Berzin was arrested for spreading a Bolshevik propaganda literature and over a year spent in prison.
In 1914 he was drafted to army and finished an ensign school in 1916. As a poruchik B?rzi participated on frontlines of World War I where he continued to disseminate Bolshevik propaganda. In 1917 he was elected as an executive officer of the 40th Army Corps, a member of the 2nd Army military revolutionary committee, and was a delegate of the 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets.
At the end of 1917 B?rzi took charge of Latvian formations which conducted arrests at the Commander-in-Chief headquarters in Mogilev. After that his troops were directed to fight in the Ukrainian-Soviet War and extinguish the Polish General Józef Dowbor-Mu?nicki's mutiny. In the beginning of 1918 B?rzi commanded the Western Front of the Red Army and in summer of the same year placed in charge of the Northern Ural-Siberian Front which later was transformed into the 3rd Army of Workers-Peasant Red Army (RKKA) that fought the revolt of the Czechoslovak Legion.
From December 1918 to June 1919 Reinholds B?rzin? was an inspector of army of the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic and later joined the Revolutionary Military Council of the Western Front. From December 1919 to 1924 he was a member of Revolutionary Military Council of other fronts such as Southern, Southwestern and Turkestan. In 1924 B?rzi worked for the Western Military District. In 1924 he retired from the army and in 1927-37 worked for the military industry and the People's Commissariat of Land Cultivation of the Russian SFSR. While being a director of Agrotekhznanie trust, during the Great Purge, as a part of the so-called "Latvian Operation", B?rzi was arrested on December 10, 1937, and on March 19, 1938, executed by a firing squad at the Kommunarka shooting ground near Moscow.
He was rehabilitated in August 1955.