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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Sergei Kourdakov – The Other Story

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? My true story, A Rose for Sergei, is about Russian 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 21 and we each thought the other was a spy. After all, it was Cold War times, and dating an ex-KGB defector was improbable. As our lives intertwined, I did find out what it was like to be watched and followed. And in real life, Sergei understood all too well that the people from his country never forget.

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A Rose for Sergei

Spring eBook Promotion - $0.99

May 7 – 10, 2020

Available from Amazon

Friday, January 10, 2020

Sergei Kourdakov … Life-Changing Words

When I was a child, I always had mixed emotions about New Year’s Day.  It was either, “Yaaay, Happy New Year,” or “Boo, I have to go back to school tomorrow.”  When I was in my late teens, and working full-time for the U.S. Federal Government, I felt the same way about New Year’s Day—glad to celebrate a new year but not ready to go back to work after a few days of holiday vacation time.

My way of thinking changed once again when I was twenty-one.  That New Year’s day, I was alone in my apartment in Arlington, Virginia.  I had just returned from visiting my family for the Christmas holidays.  While unpacking my suitcase the telephone rang, and I quickly answered, expecting to hear Sergei’s voice.  Instead I heard these life-changing words ...

“They got him!  They got Sergei,” my boss shouted into the phone.

Shortly after midnight on January 1, 1973, Sergei Kourdakov’s life ended abruptly.  He was just twenty-one years old.  It has been forty-seven years since the unexplainable happened.

That phone call … and those words … slip into my mind each year.

They got Sergei.

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A Rose for Sergei is Available From

Amazon (eBook & Paperback)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Sergei Kourdakov | The Americans

When the award winning drama series, The Americans, aired on television in 2013, I couldn’t watch it.  I even blogged about it in my October 14, 2014 post.  After six years I caved in.  To understand my change of heart I’ll go back to the beginning.

No, there wasn’t anything wrong with my TV when The Americans series started.  It was the fact that I knew the story line was about two Soviet KGB spies posing as an American married couple living in the suburbs of Washington DC.  That was why I didn’t want to watch it.  The show was way too close to home.  And not because the fictional Russian couple in the series lived in a home in Falls Church, Virginia—a few miles from where I used to live.

The Americans show was too close for comfort because of my own true story about dating Soviet KGB defector, Sergei Kourdakov.  I was also in the middle of writing a book about Sergei when the show came out.  And honestly, I was pretty sure there would be scenes in The Americans that I really didn’t want to know about.

The show ended in 2018 and I held fast to my plan.  Not going there, I told myself so many times.  You can probably see where this is heading…so fast forward to the part where I recently caved in and ended up watching the entire series.  All 75 episodes.

The reason for my change of heart?  Whenever I talked publicly about my book, A Rose for Sergei, people commented that it sounded like something out of The Americans.  Then they wanted to know what I thought of the show.  I didn’t have an answer, but I now understand what they were talking about.  Yes, it is an amazing show, and it definitely holds your attention.

After watching The Americans I had a few sleepless nights, and there were some scenes where my heart raced.  Sergei Kourdakov often told me we were being watched and followed.  Sergei spotted it, but now I understand how I wouldn’t notice that.  The Russians/KGB were good at their tradecraft.

I tried to encourage my sister, Karen, to watch The Americans…even just a few episodes.  She had met Sergei and I thought she would find the show interesting.  Her answer, “I’m not going to watch that show, it’s too scary.”

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sergei Kourdakov: A Rose for Sergei: This Is No Ordinary Story!

One of my goals in writing a book about Sergei Kourdakov was to correct the misinformation about him.  On second thought, I’ll change that to, “my only goal.”  I was determined to write A Rose for Sergei, even though writing a book about anything was the furthest thing from my mind.  That’s why I was truly surprised when I received the following email:

“We are excited to announce that the book ‘A Rose for Sergei’ has won the Silver / 2nd Place award in the 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards Program for the Best of Backlist* category! (*Not newly published.)

Comments from the Feathered Quill Book Awards Judges:

“Doing a simple search on Sergei Kourdakov produces plenty of information on his escape from the KGB, conversion to Christianity ... but the author, K. Kidd, knew him not only personally but romantically.  This is no ordinary story!”

“This is one of those stories that if it wasn’t true, it would make for great fiction.”

“Kudos ... for sharing the human side of one man who was determined, against incredible odds, to change for the better.”

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sergei Kourdakov | Bitter Cold War Realities

Fall eBook Promotion
A Rose for Sergei
$0.99 on November 14-17, 2018

In my true story, A Rose for Sergei, I reveal a side of Soviet defector Sergei Kourdakov that few people ever saw.  Looking back all these years, I still think...did I really know what I was getting myself into.

I always appreciate it when readers take the time to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Thank you, K.T. for the following Five-Star review on Amazon Canada—you did a great job summarizing my book.  I'm honored by your kind words.

A Touching Memoir

“Had it been a work of fiction, A Rose for Sergei would have been a really good read.  That it is memoir makes it great.

The story is told in an easy, unadorned, confident style that reels the reader in. A Rose for Sergei does a great job of invoking the 70s—the cold war, the relative simplicity of life, the fact that a 17-year-old, fresh out of high school, could get a job with the government (with clearances, no less).

At its core, it's a love story between two vastly different individuals—a young government secretary and an equally young Russian defector.  One is innocent, just taking her first steps into adulthood, while the other, an ex-KGB agent, is considerably less so.  Despite these differences, they hit it off, and what ensues is a sweet romance.  Unfortunately, bitter cold war realities lurk in the shadows.”

Highly recommended. K.T. McColl

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sergei Kourdakov – A Mystery That Needs to be Resolved

One has to be adventurous to date a Soviet defector.  Add the letters KGB to the mix, and intrigue and mystery take over.  Sergei often told me he was being watched and followed.  I accepted that.  There was also a part of me that didn’t want to believe him.

Ruggedly handsome and tall with huge broad shoulders, Sergei Kourdakov had a weight lifters build.  By the age of twenty he’d already lived a life that most could not imagine.  The physical scars, bullet and knife wounds from tough-guy fights and bad decisions in the Soviet Union were hidden under his shirt.  The unseen scars, the ones that make us who we are, were the reasons for defecting.  He dreamed of freedom and a new life in the United States.

Sergei was an ex-KGB Soviet defector who, through the strangest turn of events, showed up in my Federal Government office in the fall of 1972—a year after his defection.  Me…I was twenty-one, petite, and worked as a secretary.  I was known as “Sam” at my office.  It was a nickname that was hard for the Russian to comprehend.  “But you are girl,” Sergei noted when he shook my hand.  I noted that he didn’t release my hand when he held onto it.

We saw each other as often as possible over the next few months.  I quickly learned that Sergei had to “sweep” my apartment in Arlington, Virginia each time he entered.  He wouldn’t be able to sit down and relax if he hadn’t inspected every possible hiding place for unwelcome intruders.  There were other safety checks, tricks of the trade, or as the intelligence community called it…“tradecraft.”  In response to my questioning looks, Sergei always simply stated…“Even you could be spy.”

Our plans to spend the Christmas holidays with my family fell apart due to unforeseen circumstances.  My parents were living on a restricted U.S. Air Force base and Sergei would be denied access.  Not wanting to keep me from family, Sergei made arrangements to visit friends on the West coast.  Broken hearted, Sergei and I said our goodbyes and planned to meet up after the New Year.

The phone call came on New Year’s Day.  But it was not from Sergei.

What really happened?  Those three simple words have haunted me for the better part of forty years.  It wasn’t a dream.  He existed.  We existed.  This I know for a fact.  But what actually happened in the end leaves me wishing it were nothing more than a dream…for this is a mystery that needs to be resolved.

Sometimes, when I try to put the pieces together it comes out more like a game of Clue—it was Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick, in the library.

In reality it goes more like this.  There was a body.  There was a gun.  There was an unlikely accident.

* * * * *

This short story (nonfiction) about Sergei Kourdakov is one I wrote for a local writing contest.  Since the contest is over, I’m free to publish it on my blog.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sergei Kourdakov | Mystery and Contradictions

One question I’m often asked by readers is, “Was Sergei Kourdakov really a spy?”  My answer has always been to respond, “As far as I know he wasn’t.”  However, it’s a known fact that the Russian trawler Sergei was aboard, at the time of his defection, was skirting along the U.S. coast “eavesdropping” on us.  In that regard, Sergei was technically spying on us.  For more clarification, I decided to check in with a retired Soviet Analyst.

“FYI, a spy is someone who betrays, i.e., spies on their native country, or who passes himself off as something he's not to get information.  The ship Sergei was on was a "spy ship" because it pretended to be a fishing trawler when it was actually collecting intelligence.  Agents are people who work with spies or spying systems like the trawler to get the information out.  I know that concept gets twisted in popular literature and the movies.  Technically, Sergei was an agent on a spy ship, a defector, and an informant.  He was not actively spying on the Soviets while he was working for them.

Sergei worked on his military duties as an intelligence agent on a spy ship and with people involved in the same kind of work.  Someone like myself could never be hired to work on a Soviet trawler (intelligence signal collector) off the coast of Canada and the US.  Sergei was hired because he was trusted by that system and had acquired the necessary skills.  He had been born there, went to school and the military there, knew people from childhood, and had a long record and connections within the system.  He probably knew people in his job who he knew from previous jobs or school.  How could I or anyone not in that system fake it?

Some people might say that since Sergei was not actively employed by the Soviets at the time he was talking with us that he was not a spy.  Many defectors don't provide information.  It’s probably more correct to say informer and former KGB.” Keith Kenny

Mystery and contradictions surround Sergei Kourdakov’s life and death.  There is still a lot to unravel.  But Keith’s answer is very telling—Sergei could not “fake” his background.
"Even you could be spy," Sergei whispered.

 A Rose for Sergei (eBook)
is on sale
 April 18-23, 2018