Viktor Mikhailovich Chebrikov (Russian: Виктор Михайлович Чéбриков; 27 April 1923 – 2 July 1999) was a Soviet public official and security administrator and head of the KGB from December 1982 to October 1988.
Life and career
Born in the industrial city of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union on 27 April 1923, he finished military school in 1942 and served in World War II as a battalion commander. From July 1942, he commanded a platoon of a cadet rifle regiment in the 64th Army on the Stalingrad Front, but on August 14, 1942, he was seriously wounded. After his recovery, he was deputy platoon commander and commander of a mortar platoon in the 262nd Infantry Regiment of the 184th Infantry Division on the Southwestern and Stalingrad fronts. From 1943 until the end of the war he fought in the ranks of the 575th Infantry Regiment of the 161st Infantry Division on Stepnoye, from August 1943 - on Voronezh, from October 1943 - on the 1st Ukrainian, from August 1944 - on the 4th Ukrainian fronts. His contemporaries describe him as having fought bravely and selflessly. At the front, he was wounded three times (one severe wound and two medium ones), shell-shocked and frostbitten, but each time he returned to duty.
After the war Chebrikov wanted to continue his military career, but was refused by the prestigious Frunze Military Academy because of his bad eyesight; abandoning his military ambitions, he earned an engineering degree, joined the Communist Party in 1950, and embarked on a political-administrative career, rising through the Ukrainian party ranks until he became First Secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk Party Committee in 1961. In 1967, he was brought to Moscow as personnel manager for the Central Committee. He was Deputy chairman of the KGB under Yuri Andropov from 1968-1982. They began an anti-corruption drive that continued until Andropov's death. Following a brief period under Konstantin Chernenko, Chebrikov was appointed head of internal security under Mikhail Gorbachev.
Through information supplied by American spy Aldrich Ames, Chebrikov was able to dismantle the network of CIA operatives in his country. Chebrikov was highly respected for his skills among his American counterparts; according to Kenneth E. deGraffenreid, the senior White House intelligence official in the Ronald Reagan administration: "One has to say that Chebrikov's term as KGB chief was the heyday of the KGB in terms of foreign intelligence. In terms of intelligence production -spies, and dishing the Americans on the secrets- they were going strong right up to the end. We uncovered 80 spies during those years. These guys were on the make, and there was no question about their influence."
Work in the Committee for State Security
As Chairman of the KGB of the USSR, Chebrikov became known primarily as the initiator of the investigation of the "Uzbek case" about high levels of corruption in Uzbekistan, which resulted in the sudden death of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan and candidate for membership in the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU Sh.R. Rashidov, arrests of dozens of high-ranking leaders of Uzbekistan. Some other high-ranking corrupt officials were exposed and convicted (up to capital punishment). Also, in the period 1983-1986, almost all known dissidents were arrested or expelled from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which led to paralysis of the dissident movement.
In October 1988, Chebrikov retired and Mikhail Gorbachev replaced him with General Vladimir Kryuchkov
Chebrikov was awarded four Orders of Lenin (22 March 1966; 13 December 1977; 26 April 1983; 12 February 1985), Orders of the October Revolution (31 August 1971), Red Banner (21 May 1945), Alexander Nevsky (24 August 1944), Patriotic War 1st degree (04/23/1985), three Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (19 July 1958; 26 April 1973; 8 October 1980). He was also awarded medals, including "For Courage" (1 February 1943). Awards of from other countries include Order of the February Victory (Czechoslovakia, 5 November 1984). He received the USSR State Prize (1980, for participation in the creation of special equipment).