Sergei Kourdakov, a former KGB agent and Soviet naval intelligence officer, defected from the USSR at the age of twenty. A year later we met at my Federal Government office in Washington DC. We were watched and followed. “Even you could be spy,” Sergei whispered. My book, A Rose for Sergei, is the true story of our time together.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Sergei Kourdakov | It Didn’t Make Sense

Soviet KGB defector Sergei Kourdakov leaped from a Russian trawler in 1971, leaving behind a horrific life he could no longer face. I met Sergei a year later at my U.S. Federal Government office in Washington DC. My boss, Mr. Kirk Logie, was the one who introduced us. Sergei and I were both twenty-one at the time and we began dating…me throwing caution to the wind knowing we were being watched and followed. “If anything happens to me,” Sergei confided, “they will make it look like an accident.” Nothing could have ever prepared me for what was to come. 

* * * 

Excerpt from Publisher’s Note in Sergei Kourdakov’s Book:

“On January 1, 1973, he died instantly from a shot from the gun. Though news of his death was first carried internationally as a suicide, this possibility was soon ruled out. An inquest was held and on March 1, 1973, ruled his death to be an accident.” 

* * * 

Fifty years ago, on January 10, 1973, I stood at the grave site of Sergei Kourdakov in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington DC. Below is an excerpt from my memoir, A Rose for Sergei. 

Chapter 21 – Winter 1973 

“It didn’t make sense; it wasn’t fair that his life was cut short at twenty-one years of age. He had turned his life around and there was so much he wanted to accomplish. He had told me that the final draft of his book was done, and he hoped it would be published soon. His life was really just beginning…and now it was over.


I thought I was prepared for the funeral…. However, I was not prepared for the emotional toll of a final goodbye. The funeral was on a weekday, so we left work early. Once again Mr. and Mrs. Logie were with me.


I was surprised at how many people there were at the church for the funeral service. It was crowded, and we had to stand the entire time. We were near the back of the church, but I could see that the casket was open. I could see Sergei, and my heart filled with pain. Even though the church was packed with people, he looked so alone. My heart was breaking for him. I would not cry though; I had cried enough the day he died.


At one point in the service everyone was given a lighted candle to hold. It was suffocating, the heat from the crowd and the heat from the candles. I couldn’t take my coat off, and I thought I would fall over; I was emotionally drained. I barely heard what was said during the service…. When the service was over we went to the grave site, Sergei’s final destination.


Everyone was gathered around Sergei’s casket at the cemetery and when we arrived we were near the back of the crowd again. We were so far away I couldn’t see at all, but I didn’t say anything. On impulse, Mr. Logie grabbed hold of Mrs. Logie’s arm and my arm and determinedly worked his way to the front of the crowd, pulling us steadily forward. I secretly gave thanks for Mr. Logie’s take-charge actions as he boldly pushed past DC dignitaries. He stopped when we were directly along one side of Sergei. We could not get any closer than we were. I could almost reach out and touch Sergei, the casket was still open. I could see him one last time.”

Sergei’s book was published under three titles:

The Persecutor

Forgive Me, Natasha


Monday, October 10, 2022

Sergei Kourdakov | Notes from the Motherland

Even though Sergei Kourdakov’s book was published in 1973, it’s always uplifting for me to know that people are still searching for information about him. Thus it was a pleasant surprise when I received some interesting comments on my blog from Alex. His research notes about Sergei, that he called “Notes from Siberia,” came at the perfect time.

Yes, it was perfect timing. As it turns out, I met Sergei Kourdakov in the fall of 1972—exactly 50 years ago. My mind drifted to long ago memories as I recalled the day I first met Sergei. Little did I know then that I was going to play a part in Sergei’s life, and that Sergei would play an important role in mine. Little did I know then that one day I would write about Sergei Kourdakov in my memoir, A Rose for Sergei.

In Sergei’s autobiography, he wrote that he wanted to find out more about his mother, father, and brother. After checking a database of victims during Stalin’s repressions, Alex’s response was: His [Sergei’s] granddad might have had a different surname. There was a practice that small children of repressed parents were separated and their surname changed by authorities. Although in past it's common for overall Russia that surnames of siblings might have got changes in spelling. Or even brother can get totally different surnames especially in such cases as described in book when after revolution Bolsheviks started to do dekulakization. Brothers held different surnames and divided property to save it. As well in the past people with education tended to change the ending of surname to have it more Russian sounded if they had a Ukrainian or Belarusian version.”

Regarding a discrepancy in Sergei’s book, Alex said: Sergei mentioned Konstantin Koptelov one of Russia's most popular writer who won the Lenin Prize for Literature. But he mixed it up. There is only one writer Koptelov but with name Afanasiy who won USSR State Prize instead but only in 1979.”

Regarding this possible mix up of writers, I do believe Sergei met a famous Russian writer. The exact name, or award, may have been misunderstood during transcribing from an audio tape. Sergei recorded his book on audio cassette tapes. From those recordings, someone typed his manuscript. From my own secretarial experience in the 1970s, transcribing from audio tape directly to your typewriter was a very difficult, time consuming process. Plus you had to constantly rewind the audio tape if you couldn’t make out what the person was saying. Throw in the fact that Sergei’s accent was quite heavy and that added another level of difficulty. I can see that a name/word could be easily misunderstood, or the recording “blipped” at that second and only part of the name was available.

I found it interesting that Alex mentioned the English version of The Persecutor differed slightly from the Russian version Forgive Me Natasha in some places, especially regarding location.

Alex also noted that he was shocked when he heard Sergei’s voice from the Forgive me Sergei documentary film: “…He did not have typical Russian accent and was talking fluent! Most of Russians never got to talk English properly. There is great language barrier which takes years due to different way of thinking and mentality. As well as native English people will always sound non Russian even after many years of learning. Sergei was phenomenally talented!”

Heartfelt thanks for your comments and research, Alex. Since your “hello” went out to me, and Author Dane Cramer, I forwarded all your notes and web links to him also.

And I absolutely agree that Sergei Kourdakov was phenomenally talented.


Sergei Kourdakov’s autobiography was published under three titles:

The Persecutor - Sergei - Forgive Me, Natasha

Monday, January 31, 2022

The Writer Talks! | Sergei Kourdakov

I recently had the opportunity to talk about Sergei Kourdakov on the podcast program, The Writer Talks! The interviewer/author, Asha G. Kumar, engages with award-winning writers as well as indie authors from across the world as she asks them to share their books, writing process and love of literature.

I was thrilled when she reached out to me to discuss my book, A Rose for Sergei. Of course I said “yes” when she invited me on her podcast. Ms. Kumar is a writer, has a Masters in English Literature and 14 years experience as an educator, as well as a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

I felt like I was talking with a dear friend right from the beginning of the interview. Asha’s introduction was heartfelt as she began:

The thing about memories, our fondest, happiest or the most painful experiences are etched in our forever memories. Have you ever held onto an unspoken memory… for decades maybe? Well my guest today, author Kolleen Kidd has done precisely that. She has held onto an unspoken secret memory for four decades… and finally decided to relive it freely by penning her captivating memoir, A Rose for Sergei.

* * *

Watch the YouTube podcast by clicking below.

A Rose for Sergei by Kolleen Kidd on The Writer Talks!

Monday, January 3, 2022

Sergei Kourdakov | Round Trip Ticket

The following short fiction story was inspired by my writers group. The writing topic was, “Who would you meet in heaven?” Once I got home from the meeting, the story unfolded quickly. And, yes, someone really did wonder what would happen if you met your enemy. My imagination took off in an entirely different direction.

* * * * *

Round Trip Ticket

by Kolleen Kidd

    The topic from Writers’ Roundtable was, “Who would you meet in heaven?” We all agreed that it was an interesting subject. The talk around the table increased. “What if you met Napoleon in heaven, what would you say to him? What if you met your enemy?”

    I chuckled softly. I never thought about meeting enemies in heaven, I only wanted to meet good people. But my writer friends clued me in on that possibility. We ended the discussion clearly looking forward to all the possibilities when we read our stories the following week.

    Once at home, I nuked some hot water for my orange herbal tea, grabbed a chocolate biscotti and headed to my computer. Before the meeting I had noticed some odd stats on my book blog website and wanted to check it out. Hmmm…twenty-seven page views from Austria in one day was a little peculiar, but it’s possible.  Seems okay, I thought as I signed out of my blog and waited for my desktop settings to appear.

    Nothing happened though. No Google icon, no Twitter or Facebook icons. I was half expecting the “black screen of death.” Instead of that I was facing a blank, glowing white space. In seconds a message appeared smack in the middle of the screen. Bright, bold yellow letters formed to spell out: “Congratulations, you have won a round trip ticket to…heaven! Click here.”

    I shook my head back and forth and mumbled, “Great, I have a heaven virus on my computer.” The smart part of me knew not to “mouse click” on anything inviting me to click on it. But my curious side caused me to reach out and touch the word “heaven.” Who wouldn’t want to touch heaven?

    Instantly, I was drawn into a sea of beautiful swirling clouds as I felt the wind rushing past me at lightning speed. I wasn’t afraid, I felt peace and love when I arrived at…at where I wasn’t exactly sure. But there was a pearly white gate and a light so bright behind it that I was pretty sure it had to be heaven.

    An angel materialized in front of me and confirmed that I indeed was at heaven’s gate. His wings extended the full length of his body and kindness radiated from his face in golden rays of light. He was quite tall, but then he was floating above me.

    He told me he was Archangel Gabriel, a messenger. One of his angelic duties was to support writers and journalists. His words were music to my ears. It was comforting to know that writers really had a special someone looking over our shoulders. I told him I had once sensed a presence when writing but seldom shared that information.

    “I’ve been with you throughout your writing journey,” he beamed. “But that’s not the real reason for your visit today.”

    I leaned slightly to the right as I tried to peer around him. I longed to see what was behind the ornate gates. Layers of clouds in every imaginable color obscured my view. Straightening, I replied, “Actually, I’m not sure how this all came about.”

    Gabriel extended his glowing wings and floated lower. His voice was soft and calming. “Your round trip visit to heaven doesn’t actually let you inside the gates. It’s not your time yet. But you are allowed to meet one person while you’re here.”

    “What?” I cried out. “It’s not possible to choose to see only one person…my parents, grandparents, the list goes on. I can’t decide. My heart aches, Gabriel. You choose. Please choose for me.”

    “There is someone,” Gabriel boldly proclaimed. “I sense that you know who that person is.”

    I gasped as my hand flew to my heart. “Yes,” I whispered. “Yes, I do know.”

    Gabriel’s wings drew up and wrapped around his entire angelic form. “Then it shall be.” In one swift motion his magnificent wings unfurled. Wisps of clouds floated where he once had been.

    I stood motionless as feelings of love washed over me. Winds whirled around me from every direction. I closed my eyes as my hair swept wildly across my face. Visions formed in my mind of a past long gone but never forgotten.

    I reached out. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Sergei Kourdakov | An Unexpected Encounter

The following short story is from an article I wrote for an online authors’ group. Talking about my book, A Rose for Sergei…

This true story chronicles my real-life relationship with Soviet defector Sergei Kourdakov. In 1972 our worlds collided in Washington, DC. Sergei was ex-KGB. I worked for the Department of Defense. We were both twenty-one at the time and the instant attraction surprised us both. Dating a Soviet defector during the Cold War years came with some risks. As Sergei’s and my life intertwined, I learned what it was like to be watched and followed. I learned that life is complicated when you each think the other is a spy.

I kept my relationship with Sergei a secret for more than forty years. It’s hard to keep a secret today though, especially when you can text or tweet anything, anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. But I learned to keep secrets at a young age.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I was hired as a clerical assistant to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). I was just sixteen years old. I couldn’t tell anyone about my work or the location of where I worked. I didn’t even tell my parents any details. When the summer job ended I was hooked. The mystery and intrigue of the intelligence world captivated me. After graduation the following year, I started working full time for DIA.

Keeping secrets was an essential part of the job–from “Eyes Only” documents, to “Need to Know” to “Top Secret Code Words.” I didn’t know it at the time, but all that training prepared me for staying silent about my unexpected encounter with Sergei Kourdakov.

So what happened…what convinced me to write a book all these years later when I never wanted to be an author? The unexpected motivator turned out to be social media. The controversial information I discovered online about Sergei Kourdakov’s life and his autobiography, The Persecutor, convinced me I needed to speak up. After all, I heard Sergei’s story in the privacy of my own apartment. I knew him personally. Feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I was compelled to tell his story.

It’s easy enough to say one wants to write a book. In reality, it’s harder to follow through with that idea. As a result of where I worked, I had one extra step in the writing process. I was required to have my manuscript approved for open publication by the Department of Defense’s Office of Prepublication and Security Review. Since writing was never on my radar, I surprised myself when everything was completed.

After publishing A Rose for Sergei, friends who had known me for years were shocked to learn about my connection to Sergei Kourdakov. Because his book was published in multiple languages, I’ve heard from people all around the world who were excited to find out more about him. My book’s appeal seems to be universal; readers are young adults to over ninety.

This is a first-hand account. I believe Sergei had completely changed his life from the person he was in the Soviet Union. The goal for writing this book has consistently remained the same. Sergei Kourdakov longed for freedom and I wanted his trials, strength and joy to be remembered.

Still to this day…when I hear the 70’s song, “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago, I am twenty-one again, searching my apartment for hidden microphones, screwdriver in hand…stereo volume on high to cover my movements while pretending that everything is normal.

—K. Kidd

* * *

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Persecutor | A Rose for Sergei

I’ve been planning to update the book cover for A Rose for Sergei for a while. Even though I was attached to the old cover I knew it was time to make the change.

Before the Covid19 pandemic lockdown, I had talked with the manager of a local bookstore regarding an author talk. After a quick discussion, I handed him a copy of my book. When he looked at the cover, only one word slipped out. “Oh!” Even though he was interested to know more about Sergei Kourdakov, that one word conveyed so much more. Note to self back then: Update Book Cover! 

A year has passed since that meeting. Over the lockdown I played around with a few different cover styles. Yes, I could have asked a designer for help. But all I wanted was a simple red rose along with a silhouette of St. Basil’s Cathedral. It was an easy project I could create myself. Yet, I procrastinated. 

A few weeks ago I received an email from Vince Stevenson requesting an author interview on his podcast, Boomers on Books. I went into overdrive to complete the new book cover design and uploaded it to Amazon just in time for the interview.

Heartfelt thanks to author Vince Stevenson for having me as a guest on his podcast. Vince is a pro at public speaking and interviewing. He is also quite the entertainer, with a quick sense of humor. I actually missed his remark during the live show when he said that a “spy” was asking a question in the comment section.

I was nervous in the beginning of the interview, but the time flew by quickly. Upon reflection … the podcast has reminded me of how much more there is to Sergei’s story. There are still answers to be found. 

Click below for the YouTube podcast.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Sergei Kourdakov | A Mysterious Life

Author Dane Cramer released a video on January 1, 2021 about some of the mystery that surrounds Sergei Kourdakov.

The YouTube video The Mysterious Life of Sergei Kourdakov release date also coincides with the 48th anniversary of Sergei Kourdakov’s death.  I hope readers will take a few minutes to check out Mr. Cramer’s video.  As always, his work is informative and professional!  It was a nice surprise that he included my book, A Rose for Sergei.

This past week the news has been filled with stories about Russian dissenter Alexi Navalny’s imprisonment upon his return to Russia, and how he wanted it known that he would not take his own life while in prison.  Mr. Navalny’s words chilled me.

Forty-eight years ago I had heard similar words from Sergei Kourdakov as he implored me to listen to him — Sergei was calmly seated beside me as he tried to make me understand what could happen to a Soviet defector.  I can still remember his somber face, the way he looked directly into my eyes as he spoke: “I would never take my own life.  I would never do that.  Do you understand why I am telling you this?”  I fully understood all too well what he was telling me.

I’ll be on the lookout for Mr. Cramer’s next video where he discusses Sergei Kourdakov’s death.

That is where the real mystery begins.

Sergei Kourdakov

Click Below for Video

The Mysterious Life of Sergei Kourdakov

 * * *

Click Below for Blog Version

(Includes all Russian Interviews)

Sergei Kourdakov and the Quest for Truth