Leonid Shebarshin

Leonid Shebarshin

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Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 Леони́д Влади́мирович Шебарши́н) (b. Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, March 24, 1935) became head of the First Chief Directorate
First Chief Directorate
The First Chief Directorate , of the Committee for State Security , was the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and...

 of the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 in January 1989, when the former FCD chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov was a former Soviet politician and Communist Party member, having been in the organization from 1944 until he was dismissed in 1991...

, was promoted to KGB chief. Prior to that, Shebarshin had served as Kryuchkov's deputy from April 1987.


Most of Shebarshin's career had been spent not in Moscow but in the field. A graduate of the Moscow Institute of International Relations, he was posted in 1958 to Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, where he served as personal assistant to the Soviet Ambassador. In 1962 he joined the KGB and from 1964 to 1977 served in Pakistan and India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. He was Chief of the KGB Residency in Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 from 1979 until 1983.

Shebarshin's posting in Tehran came to an end following the defection on 2 June 1982 of Vladimir Kuzichkin
Vladimir Kuzichkin
Vladimir Anatoljevich Kuzichkin Владимир Анатольевич Кузичкин now 61. He was a Soviet KGB officer, major who defected to the Tehran Station of the British Secret Intelligence Service in 1982...

. The British MI6 helped Kuzichkin across the Turkish border with a British passport and shared his debriefing with the CIA. In 1983 the CIA shared some of the debriefing with the Khomeini government, with the result that Shebarshin was expelled along with 17 other Soviet intelligence officers.

When KGB Chief Kryuchkov was arrested following the unsuccessful August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, Shebarshin became, for two days, head of the KGB. He was replaced by Vadim Bakatin
Vadim Bakatin
Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin was a Soviet politician who served as the last chairman of the KGB in 1991. He is the last surviving former chairman of this organization...

, 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 September 20, 1991.

With his friend Nikolai Leonov
Nikolai Leonov
Nikolai Sergeyevich Leonov is a Russian nationalist politician and was a senior KGB officer and Latin America expert in the USSR. In 1953, at the age of 25, Leonov was posted to Mexico City, where he learned Spanish at the Autonomous University. In the course of the sea voyage, he met Raúl Castro,...

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