New Year’s Day 2021 marks the 48th anniversary of Sergei Kourdakov’s death. From what we’ve read in police and news reports there was one other person with him the night he died. The girl in the room with Sergei was seventeen-year-old Ann Johnson. It was only a few years ago, though, that I found out that Ann claimed she was Sergei’s “fiancée.”
I was surprised about her “fiancée” claim because it was contrary to what I knew. I went back and re-read a newspaper clipping I saved from The Washington Post — Slain Defector Buried Here dated January 12, 1973: [Ann was] a young woman with whom friends said he [Sergei] enjoyed a “brother-sister” relationship.
Sergei and I had planned to spend the Christmas holidays together with my family in Massachusetts. Everything changed when we found out that Sergei would not be allowed onto the restricted USAF base where my parents lived. After that disappointing news, Sergei made arrangements to stay with the Johnson family in California. Sergei had given me the Johnson Family home telephone number so I could call him on December 25, 1972. It is highly unlikely that Sergei would have given me (his girlfriend) the phone number of his “fiancée.”
I believe it was Mr. Johnson who answered the phone on Christmas day. We wished each other a “Merry Christmas” before Sergei came on the line. That was my only contact with the Johnsons. It was also the last time I ever heard Sergei’s voice.
Of all the questions that I’m asked after people read A Rose for Sergei, there is always one that comes up repeatedly. What about Ann? Hmmm, yes. My question exactly – what about Ann?
Questions from Readers
Was Ann Johnson at Sergei’s funeral?
Do you think Ann was really Sergei’s fiancée?
I’m pretty sure she was not.
Wouldn’t a woman attend the funeral of the man she loved and was engaged to?
I agree, you would think so, but Ann wasn’t at Sergei’s funeral. I was.
Have you heard from Ann?
Why do you think Ann Johnson hasn’t contacted you?
I don’t have an answer for that.
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