Former Soviet master spy Leonid Shebarshin, who had worked for many years in India and Pakistan, is believed to have killed himself in Moscow.

The body of General Shebarshin, who turned 77 a few days ago, was found in his flat in central Moscow on Friday. Police said he had apparently shot himself with his pistol.

Gen. Shebarshin was KGB station chief in India in 1971-1977. He also worked in Pakistan and Iran. In 1989 he was appointed head of the First Main Directorate, the foreign intelligence service of the KGB, and headed the KGB for one day after the August 1991 putsch against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He retired after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Police said they found a suicide note in Gen. Shebarshin's flat but refused to disclose its contents. The veteran spy lived alone after his wife died several years ago.

Gen. Shebarshin, who was in India during the war with Pakistan, spoke highly of Indian statecraft.

“The ability of Indians to achieve their goals cannot but evoke respect and even envy. They have a civilisation behind them that goes back 5,000 years,” he wrote in his book of memoirs, The Hand of Moscow.

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