The prisoner was imprisoned at Vorkuta allegedly during the Cold War. When he, Reznov, Mason, and the other prisoners attempted to break out, he was killed along with several other prisoners by a guard machine gun while trying to flee to the coal carts.
He either knows or is friends with Reznov because he notifies Reznov by his name.
He dies the same way every play through, as he attempts to rush to the coal cart where Mason, Reznov and Sergei go, but gets killed at a slope on the way.
He has a randomly generated prison number, though he will always have the same character model. However in the Wii version of Black Ops he has a randomly generated character model usually only noticeable by a beard similar to the Russian Spetsnaz interrogator or a clean shave.
His upper lip seems deformed.
Even though he is killed when he rushes the machine gun along with the other prisoners, as Mason, Reznov and Sergei push the coal cart up the slope, a prisoner with the same identification number and appearance may appear and be killed by the machine gunners in the building.