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, 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