Vladimir Golkov was born in 1912 in Aleksandria (in Ukraine) in a large family. His father was a hatter.
At the age of five, Vladimir began to attend a cheder. Three years later, he was enrolled in a Jewish school. After completing the 7th grade, Vladimir started working in a hatters' cooperative.
In 1929, he moved to Dnepropetrovsk (present-day Dnipro), where he pursued his studies at a rabfak (a "workers' faculty"; these were specialized courses that enabled workers to obtain a high school diploma and qualify for higher education). After studying there for a year, Golkov was admitted to the Dnepropetrovsk Pedagogical Tekhnikum (vocational school).
Golkov then joined the Komsomol and began to attend the regional Party school. Subsequently, he worked for a time as an instructor for the Komsomol City Committee.
Shortly after the Nazi invasion of the USSR in late June 1941, Vladimir Golkov was evacuated from Dnepropetrovsk to the Bashkir Autonomous SSR. He then completed a yearlong course at a military school in the town of Birsk. Such courses were common during the war, because of the shortage of qualified middle- and high-ranking personnel on the front lines.
In 1942, First Lieutenant Vladimir Golkov was sent to active duty as a politruk (political commissar). His job required him to hold ideological conversations with the troops and raise their morale before battle, often leading them by example and demonstrating his own willingness to engage in combat. In July 1943, he was wounded in one of the bloody battles fought in the Kursk salient. However, after his release from hospital he returned to frontline service in the same unit. In late January 1945, Vladimir Golkov took part in the liberation of Auschwitz. Later, in early March 1945, he saw action in the area of Lake Balaton in Hungary. During one of the battles there, he carried the wounded company commander to safety. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to captain. In late March 1945, during the Moravian-Ostrava Offensive in Czechoslovakia, Vladimir was severely wounded, and met V-E Day in hospital. In the course of the war, Golkov was awarded the Order of the Red Star; the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd class, as well as medals.
Following the end of the war, Vladimir Golkov was discharged from the military and returned to Dnepropetrovsk. However, he was soon called up again, and took part in the suppression of Ukrainian militants in the western regions of Ukraine.
In 1949, following his second discharge, Golkov became deputy director of the Dnepropetrovsk Orphanage, where he went on to work for many years.
In 1999, Golkov moved to Israel. He celebrated his 104th birthday in 2016.