Alexander Shelepin
Алекса́ндр Шеле́пин
Chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions
In office
Premier Alexei Kosygin
Preceded by Viktor Grishin
Succeeded by Alexey Shibaev
Chairman of the Committee for State Security
In office
25 December 1958 – 13 November 1961
Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Preceded by Ivan Serov
Succeeded by Vladimir Semichastny
Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
19 May 1972 – 7 May 1973
Premier Alexei Kosygin
Preceded by Mikhail Yefremov
Succeeded by Zia Nureyev
First Secretary of the Komsomol
In office
30 October 1952 – 28 March 1958
CPSU leader Joseph Stalin
Nikita Khrushchev
Preceded by Nikolai Mikhailov
Succeeded by Vladimir Semichastny
Personal details
Born (1918-08-18)18 August 1918
Voronezh, Soviet Russia
Died 24 October 1994(1994-10-24) (aged 76)
Moscow, Russian Federation
Citizenship Soviet (until 1991) and Russian
Nationality Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin (Template:Lang-ru; 18 August 1918 - 24 October 1994) was a Soviet state security officer and party statesman. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its Politburo and was the head of the KGB from 25 December 1958 to 13 November 1961.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Shelepin was born in Voronezh. A history and literature major while studying at the Moscow Institute of Philosophy and Literature, Shelepin was in charge of recruiting guerrilla fighters during World War II; after the notorious execution by the Germans of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (whom he had selected) Shelepin caught Stalin's attention and his political fortune was made. He became a senior official of the Communist Youth League in 1943, and at the head of the successor organization, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, from 1952 to 1958. He accompanied Nikita Khrushchev on the Soviet leader's trip to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1954.

Shelepin then became the head of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, which had been reorganized and reformed as the KGB after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Khrushchev appointed Shelepin in part because of several major KGB defections in the 1950s during the tenure of Ivan Serov as head of the KGB. Shelepin attempted to return state security to its position of importance during the Stalinist era. He demoted or fired many KGB officers, replacing them with officials from Communist Party organizations, and, especially, from the Communist Youth League.

He left the KGB and was promoted to the Central Committee secretariat in November 1961, where it is believed he still exercised control over the KGB, which was taken over by his protégé Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny. Shelepin became a First Deputy Prime Minister in 1962. He was a principal player in the coup against Khrushchev in October 1964, obviously influencing the KGB to support the conspirators.

Shelepin probably expected to become First Secretary and de facto head of government when Khrushchev was overthrown. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn suggested that Shelepin had been the choice of the surviving Stalinists in the government, who asked what "had been the point of overthrowing Khrushchev if not to revert to Stalinism?"[citation needed]

Rather, Shelepin's reward was to be made a full member of the ruling Politburo in November 1964—by a significant margin its youngest member. But he still held ambitions of becoming the "first among equals". His colleagues on the Politburo watched him carefully, seeking to halt his ambitions. He survived in that body until 1975, when he rapidly fell from power, being successively demoted to a number of lower positions, until his retirement in 1984.

Honours and awards[edit | edit source]

Template:Brezhnev Era

Government offices
Preceded by
Ivan Serov
Head of Soviet Committee of State Security
1958 – 1961
Succeeded by
Vladimir Semichastny

de:Alexander Nikolajewitsch Schelepin et:Aleksandr Šelepin fr:Alexandre Chélépine lt:Aleksandras Šelepinas ja:アレクサンドル・シェレーピン no:Aleksandr Sjelepin pl:Aleksander Szelepin pt:Alexander Shelepin ru:Шелепин, Александр Николаевич sq:Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin sv:Alexandr Sjelepin uk:Шелепін Олександр Миколайович

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