After his service in the Imperial Russian Army, Svechnikov took part at the 1917 October Revolution. During the 1918 Finnish Civil War he worked as a military advisor for the Red Guards. In February 1918, Svechnikov was shortly the Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Front, replaced then by Hugo Salmela. He was the highest ranked Russian officer who joined the Finnish Red Guards.
Since 1922 he worked as a military lecturer. In 1934 Svechnikov was transferred to the Frunze Military Academy. He was arrested in 1937, accused on "Fascist conspiracy", and later executed at the Communarka shooting ground in Moscow. Svechnikov was rehabilitated after Stalin's death in 1956.