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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where One Story Stops . . .

I had a different topic for my blog this week but ended up not posting it.  When I logged onto my site, my eyes were immediately drawn to a new comment waiting for review in my inbox.  I was surprised, even though I expected she would contact me one day.  In this case, “she” refers to Caroline Walker, the producer of the documentary film, Forgive Me Sergei.  Her movie motivated me to write my book, A Rose for Sergei.  Caroline’s and my opinions, however, differ immensely.  We are strangers, but our lives have overlapped by very unusual circumstances.  We have a lot to say about Sergei Kourdakov and his book, The Persecutor.  I believe his story.  She does not.

Excerpt from my May 4, 2015 post – The Persecutor vs. Forgive Me, Sergei:
“This film motivated me to write A Rose for Sergei.  I wanted to offer a different point of view and try to show you that maybe…just maybe, the movie got some of Sergei’s story wrong.  How easy it is to talk negatively about someone who is no longer here.  How easy it is to think that no one would care if you did.”
—K. Kidd

Comment regarding above post received November 9, 2015:
“As the producer of the documentary film, Forgive Me Sergei, who put my name, face and reputation on the line by moving forward with production after discovering discrepancy after discrepancy inside and outside of Russia -- and after raising most of the film's seed money from Evangelicals and Episcopalians in my hometown via enthusiastic talks about my exciting research and passion for the story, I can assure you that I cared VERY much what people would think about the outcome of the research shown in the film.  In the year 2000, no one controlled me, the director, or the Russians we interviewed.  And, sharing your Cold War mentality that the story was absolutely true and that the Russian government was omnipresent, I was suspicious nearly the entire time I was in Russia until a particular discrepancy proved to me that Sergei lied.  The poor Russian lady in Vladivostok who wanted to sell me Nutrisystem . . . . I was so rude to her :-(  No one could have been more conspiracy-minded than I was.”
—Caroline Walker

My response on November 12, 2015:
“Caroline, I know years of research went into the making of your movie.  I respect all the time and effort you put forth.  I bought your movie and watched it several times.  Your interviews with those in Canada, and the detective who investigated Sergei’s death in California, were very informative.  Nevertheless, the parts filmed in Russia left me skeptical.  I believe a documentary film should cover all sides of the story; therefore I wish you had continued your research and journey to Washington D.C.  If you had talked with anyone in the intelligence field, the outcome of your movie might have been different.  All personnel who came in contact with Sergei Kourdakov knew he had been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. Government.  If he had been lying about his past, it would have been uncovered years ago.”
—K. Kidd