The Persecutor (alternatively titled Forgive Me Natasha or Sergei; known as El Esbirro in Spanish) is the autobiography of Sergei Kourdakov. It details his early . Forgive Me, Natasha by Sergei Kourdakov, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. According to Wikipedia, the book was translated into at least fourteen different languages, sometimes titled, Forgive me, Natasha. Millions of.
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In my first blog I wrote about the film The Way Back and the question of authenticity in memoirs. At first glance, one of the most incredible elements of this memoir is the fact that a Soviet naval officer managed to jump ship off the coast of Canada and swim ashore to start a new life. As the cleverly titled sedgei Forgive me, Sergei shows, however, other parts of the story korudakov out to be more questionable. Whilst training for the navy, he becomes a brutal persecutor of Christians, but then himself experiences conversion.
The latter might of course have vested interest in labeling Sergei a liar, but the weight of the evidence is convincing and as a result of the interviews Caroline was increasingly convinced that the story did not hang together, even though this revelation is clearly painful for her. In a review Albert W. Interestingly, Wardin also suggested that members of Underground Evangelism probably wrote much of the memoir for Sergei. Perhaps one possibility is forglve see the text as the work of more than one author.
Whoever the author, or authors, of the memoir they certainly created a powerful text, as shown both by its popularity at the time and forgiev its ongoing appeal to a later generation including Caroline Walker. This desire for the author to experience a journey of self-discovery in part reflects cultural expectations of a good story, with the conversion offering a satisfying climax to the account.
But it also has a political implication. This is, at least, one of the issues I hope to probe in my new ish project kourdqkov evangelical Protestantism in the post-war decades — about which I plan to blog more over the course of the coming months. I just finished the forgjve and stumbled across this article.
forgive me, natasha – ninetysix and ten
Even when several narratives seem to be consistent, you can never be vorgive sure, because writers do read each other. And sometimes it feels unsettling.
There is a website for the documentary http: Hi Lucy, I agree that sifting through the plausibilities is difficult. If the only sources we have natxsha a topic are memoirs, our judgement of what is plausible only comes from other memoirs. I found the article by Sue Vice referenced above useful in thinking about these questions. Work by Ben Nathans on the memoirs of dissidents might also be relevant.
There are a few details of this that seem odd. Have the Canadian authorities denied he was picked up off their shores? Has anyone denied that he risked his safety to defect? Were his claims to be involved in the KGB disproved?
Why would he claim to be an Evangelical Christian once he nafasha defected and was living in America? How much money was this ministry actually making of Sergei? If they were selling his tapes for so cheap, how did the ministry make money?
Also, why does this web site not exist anymore? I was never present during the editing. Sergei kourddakov did jump ship off the Coast of Canada and did risk his safety. Although the storm was exagerrated in the book height of waves, etc. The Russian captain — interivew not shown in the film — said natasja thinks Sergei jumped at 1 a.
The doctor who treated Sergei saved the knife that Sergei gave him, so I do belive that Sergei cut off his boots. He likely prayed to God as the story claims. As far as Communist leadership, he was a leader in kourdakof Komsomol, but not the top leader as he claimed. He might have had a genuine conversion experience at the Ukrainian Evangelical church in Toronto.
But he was paid well for his work in UE and he was due to make fifty percent off his book. UE made the other fifty. Other sailors defected because they heard how much better life was in the West. They wanted a better life. Dear Caroline, What did this journey do to your faith?
Are you still a believer? Are you more cynical now about evangelical creeds? At the end of the documentary, you are shown listening to your pastor talk about believing and having faith, and he seemed cultish in light of what you had experienced. Do you believe that God had given you the vision of your hand being directed by Him to write the screen play? All to help us be stronger, in case we lost our freedom, and thankful for our current religious freedoms in the the U.
I am a believer, but I am so foryive more cynical than I was. And I think that is a good thing. I really appreciate this blog entry and the attention given to some of the details in Forgive Me Sergei. As the journalist in the film, I did discover an interesting kourddakov that I wish we had captured in the film the readers of this blog seem like an audience who cares enough about the details to hear this fact.
However, Sergei declines, saying he needs to protect the identity of his friends in the orphanage. If Joe Bass had wanted to fabricate this tale about the Soviet author, he surely would have chosen kourdaoov real famous author.
I can imagine Sergei soliciting his story himself, telling Bass that a famous author in Russian wanted to write ofrgive story just my opinion. I base this partially on this: Thanks for adding your perspective Caroline. One of the things I really liked about the documentary was the way it showed your quest to find to out the truth behind the nafasha whilst, to large extent, leaving it to the viewer to reach their own conclusions.
Lots of us re-imagine, invent, or glorify episodes from our past, perhaps some more than others. And if this was all false, why would Md have received death threats?
The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov
Or are you saying those were made up also? Just wanted to comment again… I spoke with a man in my church whose wife was from the Ukraine. He says any people who would have been interviewed would have been carefully chosen and instructed what to say. Russia is not free, and her people still may not freely speak of all that they may know.
The severity of the persecution of believers described in the book is accurate. No country has suffered so much persecution of the general population let alone non-Russian Orthodox Christians as Russia.
I live in Russia, have spent almost 12 years here. It is one of the reasons I am in Russia today. As for the Russian people being controlled and told what to say. I travel freely in Russia and can speak with anyone I want to. Certainly some people might lie about the past. I think the story of Sergei was mostly a myth and that Joe Bass was making money of the kid and exploiting him, but that Sergei cooperated.
This documentary is doing a huge service to the church. Hi Caroline,I did read the book of Sergei. But tell me Caroline did anybody try to trace Natasha to hear her side of the story? I read the Persecutor about five years ago, and I must say that this book really spell bounded me in such a mme like few stories ever have.
I find it difficult to let go of and forget Sergei Kourdakov himself. I cannot believe that most of the details in the story are exaggerated or fabricated. That the children really did go through intense food shortages.
That they had no access to medical care or were prohibited from it. That children were taken away from Christian parents and put into these orphanages to be re educated in communism. Have you ever tried looking up the boy that Sergei called the Deacon?? I was always curious about what might kourdakoov happened to him…………………….
A be less afraid to be koudakov To acknowledge their struggle with practicing their faith in their native lands?? There has to be hundreds of these refugees out there willing to share their stories…………………. Besides, observing Sergei in the film caused me to realize how big and bulky he was in real life and how frightened I would be if I ever saw him in a dark alley way!!
He looked like somebody that could frighten elderly people and small children!! My Dad read this book 21 years ago and has recently given it to me to read telling me He named me after Natasha. I was incredibly moved.
I am trying to do some research now on more specifically her. I am however saddened to see these debates kkourdakov to the authenticity of his story. I would add that I am a bible believing born again Christian. Who myself have seen God move in miraculous way in my own life. I was in a wheelchair do to a genetic syndrom and disorder and then along with some injuries this is why I was in the wheelchair. In I was instantly healed by the power of God. Therefor and for many other reasons I do fofgive doubt he could have made it in that water.
He prayed to God and God took care of him…. When I first read the blog, I was in a relatively new job and juggling being a mom of a month-old, wife, and a family vacation to Greece where passports were stolen. I will write more later this week and answer some specific questions. At that time I started to understand the vision differently — that perhaps I was supposed to be a vehicle, not a writer of the story.