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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Memoir

I was caught off guard recently when I was asked about my book.  The person I was speaking with did not realize that A Rose for Sergei was a memoir.  So yes, in answer to the question, my book is the true story of my time with Sergei Kourdakov.

Definition from Wikipedia: Memoir (from French:  mémoire:  memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence) is a literary nonfiction genre.  More specifically, it is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author’s life.  The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual.

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Excerpt from A Rose for Sergei.

Fall 1972

Saturday morning I was up early.  I had a hard time sleeping and tossed and turned during the night.  I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with Sergei.  I showered leisurely and washed and set my long hair with large brush rollers.  It would take about forty-five minutes to dry under my hair dryer, and I wanted my hair to be clean and shiny so the leftover highlights from summer would be noticeable.  I could tell Sergei liked my long hair.  He had offhandedly brushed it back from my face the day before when he helped me out of the car.  I was touched by that tender gesture; it seemed out of character for a former KGB agent.
I dressed in a casual outfit, black slacks and a new dark green pullover sweater.  It was perfect for a fall afternoon, and it flattered my figure.  I felt like I was in high school again—my stomach was actually flip flopping, and I felt a little giddy.  It was strange for me to be affected like that by someone so quickly, but he was not your typical someone.  He was surrounded by mystery.

When Sergei arrived, I met him at the door and was immediately taken aback.  He stood there with a heartwarming smile on his face and was so excited that he leaned right over and gave me a huge hug.  I was almost lost in his arms as he wrapped them around me and held me in a warm embrace.  I loved his greeting; he didn’t have any reservations about letting me know how he felt.

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A Rose for Sergei is my memoir.  It will allow you to have an understanding of what the last few months of Sergei’s life were like . . . an inside peek to who he truly was.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Introduction to A Rose for Sergei

A Rose for Sergei


Sergei Kourdakov, a former KGB agent and Soviet naval intelligence officer, defected to Canada more than forty years ago.  One of his assignments with the Russian police was to break up secret meetings of Christian “Believers.”  While serving aboard the surface ship Elagin, a Soviet trawler, he jumped overboard when they were near the coast of Canada.  His search for freedom began that very day—September 3, 1971.  In Canada, he learned to speak English and became a Christian.  To say he had a change of heart is an understatement.  It would be more accurate to say he found his heart.

In the fall of 1972 Sergei spent several weeks in Washington DC meeting with Government Officials.  During that time he met a young secretary with whom he had an instant connection; they were both twenty-one years old.  This is their true, bittersweet story…I know because I was that young girl.

Sergei’s book, The Persecutor, was not published until after his death.  There were many facets about his life that I never knew.  Sergei had only told me a shortened version, carefully leaving out parts of his life in the Soviet Union that would have alarmed me if I had known every detail.

I knew the person Sergei had become after he defected.  He was honest, smart, gentle, and caring.  He was a completely changed person.  And that is the person I fell in love with.

Monday, May 12, 2014

An Incomplete Picture

Many of the news articles written about Sergei Koudakov seem to be somewhat one-sided.  After reading them you don’t know what Sergei was really like.  You don’t get an understanding of what Sergei’s life was like on a day-to-day basis . . . you don’t see the entire picture.

In the May 5, 1973 issue of The New Yorker magazine, Calvin Trillin wrote about Sergei.  It was a good article, well written.  It briefly covered Sergei’s history, defection, and his work with Underground Evangelism.  It talked about Sergei’s death, the inquest, and the aftermath.  It talked about how much money Sergei made and how Sergei was enjoying the American way of life.  But once again, you only see one side of Sergei.  If I didn’t know Sergei, I would have a very different picture of him in my mind.

I know Sergei’s life was not all roses.  I saw that.  The pressures from being a defector were at times difficult.  You hardly ever read about that part of his life in any of the newspapers or magazines.  I think that’s because Sergei was always positive about his new life in the United States.  His exuberance is what captured everyone’s attention.

My book is almost finished.  Final changes for A Rose for Sergei have been submitted to the Defense Department prepublications review office for clearance before open publication, even though my book is simply about our time together.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, the review is standard policy—Sergei and I met during the time I worked for the Federal Government.

As I near publication, I will post part of Chapter 1 on my blog along with a “coming soon” notice.  I sincerely hope you will have a better understanding of what Sergei was really like after reading A Rose for Sergei.

Thus said . . . this picture is almost complete.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Mentor for Sergei

Pictured in the photographs are my boss, Mr. Kirk H. Logie, Sr. and Sergei Kourdakov.  Sergei was a frequent guest in the Logie home during his stay in Washington DC, practically a member of their family.  It was a place where Sergei could relax and just be himself.  Mr. Logie was a positive male figure in Sergei’s life.

My working relationship with Mr. Logie could best be described as one of trust and friendship.  The following story puts everything into perspective.

The first car I ever bought was a 1970 fastback Mustang.  It was dark green and had a V8 engine.  It was fast and it was perfect.  I loved the sleek lines and the feel of the curved bucket seats when I leaned back to drive.  That car probably had more power than I could handle, but I would never admit that at age twenty.

I remember how excited I was when I bought my Mustang.  I even gave Mr. Logie a quick ride one day so he could see how nicely it handled.  It wasn’t long after that impromptu ride that Mr. Logie bought his own Mustang.  He only had his new car a few days before he asked me if I wanted to take it for a test drive.  He had a meeting in the Pentagon and asked if I would drop him off.  He then handed me the keys to his car.

I dropped Mr. Logie off at the North Entrance of the Pentagon and headed back alone to our office in Rosslyn.  When I drove out of the Pentagon parking lot and made a left turn onto Route 110, I accelerated a little too quickly and skidded on some loose gravel.  The car fishtailed and almost hit another car.  I did hit the curb, however, and knocked the car out of alignment.  I was devastated and I drove at a snail’s pace back to the office.  I dreaded having to tell Mr. Logie that I almost destroyed his beautiful, brand new, maroon-colored Mustang.

When Mr. Logie returned to our building I stopped by his office to return his car keys. He had a big smile on his face as he asked me how the car handled.  Our conversation went something like this:

Well how did the car drive?  Isn’t it something?  Did you like it?

Hmmm, it drives okay, but I think it might need to be realigned.

It does?   Was it pulling to one side of the road?

It pulls a little to the left.

That’s strange.  I didn’t notice that at all.

I felt horrible.  Mr. Logie had entrusted me with his new car and I couldn’t believe what I had done.  I was terribly embarrassed as I relayed the story of skidding on loose gravel, the almost-accident, and hitting the curb.  I offered to pay for the repairs.  Mr. Logie quietly looked at me for a moment.  I saw the smile on his face waiver, just a fraction, before he told me it was all right.  He would take care of it.  “Don’t worry about it,” he kindly said.

Not only was Mr. Logie a father figure and mentor to Sergei . . . Mr. Logie was also a father figure to me.