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Ex-KGB Head Semichastny Dies at 77

Published: January 16, 2001 (Issue # 636)


MOSCOW - Vladimir Semichastny, former head of the Soviet KGB security service and a key figure in the 1964 plot to oust Soviet leader Nikita Khru shchev, died Friday at age 77, the radio station Ekho Moskvy reported.

Ekho Moskvy quoted Semichastny's wife as saying he had died of a stroke.

Semichastny moved into the upper echelons of the Soviet hierarchy by taking on the job of first secretary of the Kom somol, the communist youth movement, in 1958.

He became head of the KGB under Khru shchev in 1961 and served for six years during the Cuban missile crisis and construction of the Berlin wall. He welcomed British spy George Blake after his 1966 escape from jail in his homeland.

Semichastny outstayed Khrushchev only to be removed in 1967 by his successor, Leonid Brezhnev, who appointed him deputy prime minister of his native Ukraine.

He had no regrets for his role in toppling Khrushchev, who denounced Josef Stalin in a landmark 1956 speech and led efforts to liberalize the Soviet Union.

"I have no regrets and nothing to reproach myself. I believe everything was done correctly," he said in a recent interview broadcast on NTV television.

Semichastny was charged with the task of meeting Khrushchev at the airport on Oct. 13, 1964, on his return from a Black Sea resort to tell him of his removal as party first secretary.

He said Khrushchev's call for rapid reform had made his departure inevitable. But he persuaded Brezhnev against killing him, advocating instead "more democratic" means of ousting him through the Communist Party apparatus.

"In the end, he went too far. Khrushchev wanted everything at once and he had to go," he told Britain's weekly Observer newspaper in a 1998 interview.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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