He was born into an Armenian banker's family in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, then part of the Russian Empire. His father, Arshak (Russified to Arkadi) Ureklyan, fled to Tiflis from the Ottoman-ruled Armenia in 1890s, and subsequently moved to Samarkand. He took the Bolshevik side during the Russian Civil War and the subsequent Soviet takeover of Central Asia. Embarking on a career as a reporter and writer, he adopted the nickname El-Registan, which was composed of a part of his first name and the Samarkand's most famous landmark, Registan. He worked in several prominent Central Asian newspapers, including Pravda Vostoka in Tashkent. He achieved prominence as a talented reporter and was invited to move to Moscow to work for the Izvestia. From there, he covered the massive Soviet construction and heavy industry-building campaigns and became a prominent propagandist, such as the White Sea – Baltic Canal, Uralmash, etc. He also wrote movie scripts and radio plays, and El-Registan is perhaps better known for his script of the Soviet film Djulbars (1935).