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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sergei Kourdakov - Truth in Documentaries

It's always nice when a reader picks up on what the author is striving to convey. A comment left on my last blog post really hit home with me, and brought up some interesting questions. For that reason, I’m re-posting those comments along with my response so readers can find them more readily.

“I have read your book and am completely bowled over by it! I think we all fell in love with Sergei the first time round, when "Forgive Me, Natasha" came out, then I fell in love with him all over again when I read your book. I watched the Caroline Walker documentary, and was appalled by how poorly researched it was - anyone could see that the childhood friends of Sergei were not telling the truth, and, more significantly, neither was L Joe Bass. Sergei was a real, genuine, loving and lovable person, but I think he was exploited by the evangelical church, who saw the potential to make money out of his story. When I googled L Joe Bass, I found compromising stories, lawsuits, misappropriation of monies entrusted to him and the church. Why did Caroline Walker, in the interests of fairness, not investigate him as well? Or perhaps she, as an evangelical Christian, could not bear to accept her faith in the established church was a sham?

I loved the book, particularly your journey to independence, being able to buy a car, have your own apartment and career, and find that as a social history, to be very valuable. I admire you for that, as well as for clearing Sergei's name. I think Sergei must have had deep misgivings about the church, too, as he chose to confide in Mr. [Logie], rather than the people at the Christian centre. Love the book!

Heartfelt thanks for your kind words, Posyzadok, about my book, A Rose for Sergei. I’m always glad to hear from readers! Writing this book was something I never thought I’d do. After watching the documentary film Forgive Me, Sergei I felt it was important to stand up for Sergei Kourdakov…even after keeping everything a secret for all these years. Thank you for recognizing that fact.

I’ve heard from other readers concerning the research for the film. My response is that it wasn’t completely researched. There is no question in my mind that additional fact-finding would have changed the outcome of the film. The term “truth in documentaries” has taken on a whole new meaning for me. We should all look at documentary films skeptically—partial information can easily slant the work in any direction. In Sergei’s case, I learned first-hand that the results can be damaging if producers don’t cover the complete story.

Surprisingly, I didn’t know that L. Joe Bass had been investigated for misappropriation of monies until another author brought it to my attention a few months ago. I was shocked, but maybe not completely surprised. I’ve heard more than once that “someone made a lot of money from Sergei’s book.” I’m not sure why the producers didn’t investigate him further.

I do know that more in-depth research is being done regarding Sergei Kourdakov’s life, but I’m not at liberty to say anything more at this time. Will this new information be a game changer? When I have the details, I’ll post them here on my blog.

A Rose for Sergei

Available Online from Amazon