Shelepin, Aleksandr (əlyĭksänˈdər shĕlĕˈpĭn) [key], 1918–94, political leader in the Soviet Union. Active in the Young Communist League from the early 1940s, he later became its head (1952–58). In 1957 he became a member of the Communist party Central Committee. A supporter of Premier Nikita Khrushchev, Shelepin was made head of the KGB (1958–61), the Soviet secret police. From 1962 to 1965 he was deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers. An astute politician, he participated in Khrushchev's ouster in 1964; that same year he became a member of the Presidium (later renamed the Politburo). He was also (1967–75) head of the central council of trade unions. Under Brezhnev his power gradually diminished, and in 1975 he lost his membership in the Politburo. He was removed from the Soviet Communist party's Central Committee in 1976.
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