Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin was a Soviet politician and security and intelligence officer. A long-time member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he served as First Deputy Prime Minister, as a full member of the Politburo and as the Chairman of the KGB from December 1958 to November 1961. He continued to maintain decisive influence in the KGB until 1967; his successor as KGB Chairman, Vladimir Semichastny, was his client and protégé.
Intelligent, ambitious and well-educated, Shelepin was the leader of a hard-line faction within the Communist Party that played a decisive role in overthrowing Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. Opposed to the policy of détente, he was eventually outmaneuvered by Leonid Brezhnev and gradually stripped of his power, thus failing in his ambition to lead the Soviet Union.