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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

KGB Head Dies

MOSCOW -- Viktor Chebrikov, the head of the Soviet-era KGB who presided over the downing of a Korean airliner carrying 269 people over Russia's Far East, has died, security officials said Friday. He was 76.

Chebrikov died suddenly on Thursday, said a duty officer at the Federal Security Service, the chief successor to the KGB. He speculated that Chebrikov had died of heart failure, but could not provide a precise cause of death.

Chebrikov never seemed to regret his service in the KGB, which he headed during years when dissidents were jailed and confined to psychiatric asylums and free speech was not allowed.

"I'm against a frozen view of the past,'' he said last month in an interview with NTV television. "What seemed obvious then is now subject to doubt. What seemed important turned out not to be, or even lost all sense.''