Leonid Shebarshin

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Leonid Shebarshin
Леонид Шебаршин
Leonid Shebarshin.jpg
Acting Chairman of the Committee for State Security
In office
22 August 1991 – 23 August 1991
Premier Ivan Silayev
Preceded by Vladimir Kryuchkov
Succeeded by Vadim Bakatin
The head of the foreign intelligence service of the KGB USSR
In office
6 February 1989 – 22 September 1991
Preceded by Vladimir Kryuchkov
Succeeded by Vyacheslav Gurgenov
Personal details
Born (1935-03-24)24 March 1935
Moscow, Soviet Union
Died 30 March 2012 (77 years)
Troyekurovskoye Cemetery, Moscow, Russia
Nationality Soviet and Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin (Russian: Леонид Владимирович Шебаршин; 24 March 1935 – 30 March 2012) became head of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB[1] in January 1989, when the former FCD chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, was promoted to KGB chief. Prior to that, Shebarshin had served as Kryuchkov's deputy from April 1987. He died on 30 March 2012 in Moscow.[2]


After graduating in 1952 from high school with a silver medal, Shebarshin entered the Indian branch of the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies. In connection with the closing of the institute in 1954 transferred to 3rd course of Faculty of Oriental studies MGIMO.

In 1957, he married another classmate, a student of the Chinese Branch Nina Vassilyevna Pushkina. Upon graduation he sent in October 1958 to work as a referent of the USSR Embassy in Pakistan. In 1962, he completed the trip to the post of 3rd secretary of the embassy and was taken to work in the department of South-East Asian affairs of the USSR.

Also in 1962, he was invited to join 1-e Chief Directorate (foreign intelligence) KGB and began a new career in the rank of second lieutenant and security officer positions. After a year training in intelligence school, was sent to work in Pakistan under diplomatic cover.

The importance of Pakistan for intelligence at the time determined by the participation of the country's military-political blocs CENTO and SEATO, close ties with the United States, the conflict relations with neighboring India and rapprochement with China. Extraordinary interest is the large American colony in India - military advisers, diplomats, spies, journalists, etc. Acquisition sources in U.S. facilities was the most important task of all foreign residencies of the KGB, and in this context was given to Pakistan is not the last place.

In 1965 he broke the Pakistani-Indian war. At the initiative of the Soviet Union, leaders of the warring parties Pakistani President Ayub Khan and Prime Minister of India, Shastri met in January 1966 in Tashkent. Tashkent conference was a major diplomatic success of the Soviet side, and presided at her Kosygin. For contribution to the preparation of the conference LV Shebarshin was promoted to the post. In the service characteristics indicated that LV Shebarshin "achieved concrete results in the recruiting work." This clerical language means buying agents in the intelligence penetration of objects.

In 1968, Shebarshin returned to Moscow, is a year-long training courses to improve managerial staff and in early 1971, sent as a deputy KGB resident in India, and in 1975 appointed a resident.

During this trip there was another Indo-Pakistani War, which ended the dismemberment of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh, a state of emergency in India. Close attention required activities of American representatives in India, for decades the United States remained the main opponent of the Soviet Union and the main object of the aspirations of the Soviet intelligence. Emergency importance in that period were India's relations with China. Job residency on the key areas were assessed positively by the Center and the political leadership of the USSR.

In April 1977, a six-year trip to India ended, and in late 1978 Shebarshin received orders to prepare to work in Iran. Intelligence predicted the fall of the monarchy in Iran is coming true - the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in January 1979, running for the border, returned to their home country the spiritual leader of the opposition, Ayatollah Khomeini, has received national recognition the title of "Imam". The collapse of the monarchy marked an unprecedented intensification of the internal political struggle, degenerated into armed clashes and numerous acts of terror, undertaken by all contending parties. Losing a loyal ally and client - Shah, tried to regain its position in Iran, the United States, stepped up the opponents and supporters of the Soviet Union. In November 1979, students - the followers of Imam line "taken by storm the U.S. Embassy and hostage-taking of American diplomats, Iran's relationship with the U.S. are broken. These, however, does not mean changing the situation in favor of the USSR. The Iranian leadership was determined to prevent the growing influence of its northern neighbor. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 has led to a noticeable cooling of the Iranian-Soviet relations and the reason for the repeated attacks on the Soviet embassy."

Residency suffered losses, the conditions for work with sources were extremely complex, yet Moscow has received accurate and timely intelligence information. In 1982, there was the worst event in the life of a scout Shebarshin - treason. He escaped through Turkey to the West on a false British passport residency officer Vladimir Kuzichkin (as it turned out later, the traitor was recruited by British intelligence in the shah's time, and panicked the danger of exposure, ran). The consequences of betrayal was partly contained, a few sources, which could tell the traitor, were withdrawn from the blow, but the moral and political damage was great. Whatever the causes and circumstances of incidents, the resident is fully responsible for everything that happens at the station. On the flight AK was reported to Brezhnev. "Well, - said Leonid Ilyich - is a war and a war without the loss does not happen."

In 1983, Shebarshin returned to Moscow for a few months in the headquarters unit under the chief of the PGU VA Kryuchkov, and then appointed deputy chief of information-analytical department of intelligence. In 1984 Shebarshin, accompanying VA Kryuchkov, went on mission in Kabul belligerent. Until mid-1991 he had to commit more than 20 missions in Afghanistan, to become intimately familiar with the leaders of the country B. Karmal, Najibullah, Keshtmand etc. In 1987, Shebarshin appointed deputy chief of PGU KGB and manages intelligence operations in the Middle East and Africa. In February 1989, he replaced Kryuchkov as vice president and he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.

In September 1991, as a result of differences with the new leadership of the KGB submits a report on the resignation and dismissed from military service.

At the end of that year, together with his colleagues and friends - former chief of analytical department of the KGB, Lieutenant-General Leonov and former Vice-President - Head of the Main Directorate of the KGB in Moscow and Moscow region, Lieutenant-General V. Prilukovym establish AO Russia national office of economic security."

LV Shebarshin awarded the Order of the Red Banner (1981), Red Star (1970), the medal "For Military Merit" (1967), an "honorary member of the State Security" (1972). His name is immortalized in the museum's Foreign Intelligence Service.

When KGB Chief Kryuchkov was arrested following the unsuccessful August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, Shebarshin became head of the KGB for two days. He was replaced by Vadim Bakatin, whose job was essentially to dismantle the KGB. Shebarshin returned to his post as FCD head until Bakatin announced a new FCD deputy director, Vladimir Rozhkov, without consulting him. Shebarshin resigned his post on 20 September 1991.

With his friend Nikolai Leonov, Shebarshin founded a consulting firm, the Russian National Economic Security Service (RNESS), which is based in Moscow.

He committed suicide on 30 March 2012 by shooting himself from a personal gun.[2] He was 77.[3] By that time he had survived a stroke which led to complete blindness. According to his friends and colleagues, he suffered from hard depression and lost a lot of weight, which was caused by a serious illness.[4][5]


  1. ^ Blagov, Sergei (2 April 2003). "Russia warns of Iraqi fallout". Asia Times. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Soviet ex-KGB chief Leonid Shebarshin 'kills himself'". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Alexei Anishchuk; Steve Gutterman (30 March 2012). "Former Soviet KGB spy chief commits suicide". Reuters (Moscow). Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  4. ^ An Illness Could Be The Only Cause of the Suicide Committed by the Ex-Director of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service // Rosbalt, 2012-04-02 (in Russian)
  5. ^ Sergei Smirnov, The Last Soviet Intelligence Officer // Gazeta.ru, 2012-03-30 (in Russian)

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Kryuchkov
Head of Soviet Committee of State Security
Succeeded by
Vadim Bakatin