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.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Red Notice | Forgive Me, Sergei

I just finished reading Red Notice by Bill Browder.  His true story about high financial dealings in Russia is a real page turner.  His explanation about the fall of communism to capitalism to the rise of oligarchs is a rich history lesson.  At the end of the book, Mr. Browder writes about Russia today:  “A place where lies reign supreme.  A place where two and two is still five, white is still black, and up is still down.  A place where convictions are certain, and guilt a given….  This is Russia today.”

The end of his book made me immediately think about the documentary film Forgive Me, Sergei and the scenes that were filmed in Russia—the parts where every Russian interviewed claimed that Sergei Kourdakov was a fraud.  I was unconvinced.  Especially when Sergei’s “brother” talked about him.

Sergei Kourdakov told everyone publicly that his brother was dead.  In a quieter moment with me, he reflected that he hadn’t seen his older brother or heard from him since he was a little boy and that he was sure his brother had been killed.  Yet, in the documentary the person claiming to be Sergei’s brother never mentioned that fact.

There are some excellent parts in the documentary film.  And there are parts that should be considered carefully.  I wouldn’t write-off Sergei Kourdakov’s book “The Persecutor” based solely on the movie.