Yefim Zlatin was born in 1913 in Mogilev, Belarus, in a working-class family.
After completing school, Yefim began to attend a rabfak (workers' faculty) at one of the city factories. In the 1920s and 1930s, this was a popular form of education, used by workers who wished to complete their schooling, thereby gaining the right to be admitted to institutions of higher education.
In 1935, Yefim Zlatin was conscripted into the Red Army for a term of two years, and was discharged afterward.
Following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War in late June 1941, Zlatin was reenlisted. After completing a brief officer training course, he was dispatched to the front lines in December 1942.
In September 1943, Guards Sergeant Zlatin commanded a mortar platoon of a guards rifle regiment. That period saw intense fighting in the area of the Dnieper River. The platoon under Zlatin's command managed to occupy a strategically advantageous position on Glinsk-Borodayevsky Island, and the men were able to repel several powerful enemy assaults.
Yefim Zlatin was wounded and shell-shocked in the fighting. However, after convalescing at a hospital, he returned to frontline duty. In late October 1943, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for these battles. That same year, Zlatin joined the Communist Party as an active serviceman. In1944, he graduated from the Leningrad Military-Political School, which had been evacuated to the town of Shuya in Ivanovo Oblast.
In addition to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, Yefim Zlatin was awarded the Order of Lenin, which always accompanied this title; two Orders of the Red Star, and several medals.
In 1945, Zlatin was discharged from the army for health reasons, since he was still suffering from the effects of his grave wound. He lived and worked in Moscow for the subsequent 20 years of his life.
Yefim Zlatin died in 1965.