Over the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing author George Yuhasz (via email) for my blog. My first post was about his award winning children’s book, Imagine That. The second part of the interview covered his Special Agent days when he met with Soviet defector Sergei Kourdakov. After all was said and done, I just had to ask him one last question . . .
Mr Yuhasz, what was your take on what happened to Sergei Kourdakov?
I have not drawn any conclusions about what actually happened to Sergei. I did not have access to police and intelligence files. However, my professional training and experience while working as a private investigator having looked into a number of suspicious deaths (Including Jimi Hendrix) does direct me to ask questions using different paradigms. In this case, the fraud triangle of motive, opportunity, and payoff is a useful tool that may be applicable. I hope this brief exercise illustrates my misgivings in regard to the Kourdakov homicide investigation and demonstrates that more could have been done to bring a true closure to Sergei’s death.
Was Ann Johnson the only person in the hotel room when he died?
Was Ann Johnson actually with Sergei when the gun discharged?
What was Sergei’s blood/alcohol level?
Did Ann and Sergei check in to the hotel together or did one or the other check in individually?
Were the occupants of neighboring rooms during Sergei’s stay interviewed?
Was the reception clerk interviewed?
Was the hotel reservation made my phone and if so, by whom?
Was the maid(s) who cleaned the room interviewed?
Were phone calls to the room and outgoing calls from the room obtained and checked?
What forensic tests were conducted in the hotel room, i.e. fingerprints?
What was the background and training of the coroner?
Was an autopsy or other examination/tests performed?
What was the degree of involvement of the Johnson family with the organization, Underground Evangelism?
During the time of Sergei’s death, the cold war was at a high intensity and the Soviet Union was acutely sensitive to criticism, especially from its own citizens. Threats and intimidation were primary tactics utilized to suppress dissent perceived to be detrimental to their world standing and future ambitions. Killing someone who the KGB perceived as a grave threat was always an option. Sergei has several major strikes against him. He was a notorious defector and had become a public figure openly criticizing the Soviet regime. Another was that he had been trained as a radio officer and had served aboard submarines and trawlers, both types of vessels employed for spying by the Soviets. Finally, his soon to be published book, the prospect of which would most certainly raise the ire of Politburo apparatchiks, loomed large.
Underground Evangelism ultimately profited handsomely from sales of Sergei’s book, published posthumously.
The local law enforcement agency initially handling the Kourdakov case seemed to come to a quick resolution of COD [Cause of Death]. Heavy caseload? Outside pressure?
GeorgeYuhasz is a former U.S. government special agent and contractor, and has worked in the private sector as a private investigator and security consultant. A graduate of American University's Schools of International Service and Government, he also holds a M.A. degree in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.
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Once again, thank you George Yuhasz! Your detailed responses to my questions about Sergei Kourdakov are greatly appreciated. I also believe the investigation into Sergei’s death came to a quick resolution. Definitely, more could have been done.