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A. Shelepin; Led KGB for Khrushchev

October 27, 1994| From Times Wire Services

MOSCOW — Alexander Shelepin, the head of the KGB during the era of Nikita S. Khrushchev who once was considered a contender for Khrushchev's job, died Monday at the age of 76.

The ITAR-Tass news agency reported his death but did not give the cause or say where he died.

Shelepin--who owed his career to Khrushchev--in the 1950s headed the Komsomol, the party's youth wing. In 1958, he became chairman of the KGB, the Soviet Union's state security committee. That job lasted until 1961.

After having helped oust Khrushchev in 1964, his career peaked as a member of the Politburo and a secretary of the party Central Committee.

But he lost the secretary's job in 1966 and was demoted to head of the official trade unions, probably because he was seen as a rival to party leader Leonid I. Brezhnev.

He lost the trade union job in 1975 after a controversial visit to Britain which sparked protest demonstrations, and eventually was removed from the Politburo.

Shelepin was KGB chief in 1959 when the murder of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera was ordered.

Shelepin followed a classic career path for Soviet leaders, joining the Communist Party in 1940 after graduating from the Moscow Institute of History, Philosophy and Literature.

At the Komsomol, he directed hundreds of thousands of young people in building cities in the Siberian wilderness and cultivating the so-called virgin lands of Kazakhstan. He became a member of the Communist Party Central Committee in 1957.

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