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The Persecutor

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  616 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
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 life and life as a KGB agent persecuting Christians in the Soviet Union, as well as his defection to Canada. The first draft of this book was finished shortly before his sudden death on January 1, 1973.
Paperback, 253 pages
Published June 1st 1974 by Fleming H Revell Co (first published 1973)
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Salvation Biographies
18th out of 112 books — 20 voters
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Best Christian Biography/Autobiography
47th out of 222 books — 117 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 999)
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Jeff Shelnutt
The story of Sergei Kourdakov, as told by himself, was as compelling as it was bleak. Coming of age in 1960's Soviet Russia, Sergei, along with other children whose parents had been taken from them by the authorities, grew up in the atrocious environment of the communist children's home. He learned to pray to Lenin and worship the state.

Anytime I read a biography of this sort describing the life of someone who experienced all the horrors of a tyrannical, socialist system, I have to constantly re
Feb 11, 2010 Lori rated it really liked it
This is the autobiography of Sergei Kourdakov, raised as an orphan in Russia who found his identity and 'family' in the Communist Party. As a violent, teenage thug, he soon found himself rising quickly through the ranks and gaining prestige by prosecuting (a nicer term for 'brutalizing' or even killing) the Russian Christians who quietly and secretively practiced their faith and worshipped their God hidden within their homes.

Sergei's exposure to the Believers eventually caused him to doubt the l
Jul 20, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, beautiful read. This book truly shows that God, out of his divine love, can change even the cruelest man's heart. A very, very inspirational book, and how much it shows that these government people and Communist leaders will do anything to silence God's elect.

Beautiful.. just beautiful. I will never forget you Sergei, thank you for sharing with us this wonderful book of your life. RIP
Apr 12, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
I was assigned to read this book way back in 6th grade. When I got about halfway through the book some parents complained to the school about the content and we were told to stop reading the book and turn it back in to our teacher. So of course this made me insatiably curious and a little pissed. I found it later and finally read it in its entirety. It's the true story of Sergei Kourdokov. He was a highly regarded soldier in the Soviet Military. He was later assigned to a special squad of police ...more
Vold Kira
Si eres cristiano o de menos católico, seguramente podrás sacarle más provecho a ésta lectura de proselitismo religioso.
Empieza bastante interesante, pero poco a poco el mensaje de la fe en Dios y los toques beatos se hacen más y más presentes. Sé que es la intención, sé que es el mensaje, pero no es de mi agrado.

Además se me hace un poco extraño que escribiendo un libro para hacer conversos a los ateos narre con tanto detalle las crueles golpizas que el mismo autor propinaba a los inocentes cre
Josep Blas
Jan 22, 2016 Josep Blas rated it it was ok
Found this book as a child and remember not putting it down until I finished it... and then read it again! I loved this book.
Then, as it often happens, forgot all about it.
Found it again, by accident, last year... man, was I happy! Bought it and immediately (really, I was reading while walking on my way from the bookstore to the train station) begin to read it.
Quickly realized why I loved this book as a kid: It is EVERY boy's excellent adventure tale.
Really... most of the book is "I did this..."
Bethany F.
Aug 16, 2011 Bethany F. rated it really liked it
"The Persecutor" has no shinny turns of phrase or literary warm fuzzies, but it's written directly and honestly. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than the story of one man among thousands who suffered in communist Russia. Painful, powerful, and beautiful.

Kourdakov was shot only months after this book was finished. This is his true testimony to the world and his petition for forgiveness to the many Believers he persecuted. His prose are full of honor and respect.
Oct 07, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Shannon by: Rebecca someone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book when I was about 13 years old. Always intrigued by true stories especially of overcoming oppression and/or injustice, this book fit the bill. I think it was my introduction to the cruelty of Marxist/Communist militant atheism. i loaned it to my substitute algebra teacher after telling her the story line, but she never returned the book. I wish I still had my copy.
Dec 08, 2015 Ivo rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, russian
The fact that most of this book is total fiction and easily disprovable detracts from it enormously, but it is still a very valuable historical resource as a pro-Western propaganda piece during the Cold War. Worth a read.
Aug 18, 2008 Anzhelika rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Anzhelika by: by my friend
This was one of the best books I have read! It's an autobiography of a young man who served in the KGB and persecuted Christians during the Soviet Union Era.
Luann Habecker
"I wanted you fellows to get some experience in the job before giving you the really important assignments. In the Soviet Union we have many types of criminals. We have anti-state people who are murderers, drunkards, and prostitutes. You've been dealing with that kind. But they are really nothing.
Then there are criminals who are a far greater threat to our country's security and our way of life. They are more dangerous because they work quietly in our midst, undermining the foundations of our sy
Lena Brewster
Mar 17, 2014 Lena Brewster rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. This book reads like a novel and is beyond compelling.
Gwen Burrow
Jun 14, 2009 Gwen Burrow rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
A true story well told. One of the best books I've ever read.
Nov 14, 2015 April rated it it was amazing
The Persecutor was a fantastic read of an atheist, leader of the Communist Youth League and leader of a secret police force that performed over 150 raids on believers. Severely traumatized the life of one innocent, young girl who, after her experience, would wake up screaming in the night and had to be expelled from school for being disruptive and unable to concentrate. The raids were vicious, brutal, and many people died from the injuries they sustained. However, after encountering Natasha, not ...more
Oct 25, 2012 E.A. rated it it was amazing
I was trying to come up with another good book to review for Halloween. I don’t typically read much horror, but THE PERSECUTOR kept coming to mind. It isn’t horror, but some of the events that happen in it are horrifying. The novel is an autobiography of Sergei Kourdakov, a member of the KGB who turned Christian. While there are debates about the accuracy of the book, there is no denying the emotional impact it left on me when I read it in college.

THE PERSECUTOR takes place around the 1950s in
Dave Cox II
Mar 24, 2015 Dave Cox II rated it really liked it
I very much liked reading this book. At least I could get through it... I only got halfway through Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago"
The book is a testimony and though to nearly the end there is a tension - When will it happen - When will he know God?!
Well written. To say that I liked it however, is not to say I liked the difficult parts - but they were not so exposed, as they were in the 'Gulag' and so I could endure it. The book was reasonably polished, but as this was a 1st dr
Natalie Wickham
Feb 03, 2011 Natalie Wickham rated it really liked it
After soliciting biography recommendations from my friends, this is one of the first that I was able to get my hands on (thanks to the generous loan from the referrer!). Her claim that it was a riveting story held true in every respect! Although I have read numerous accounts of World War II and post-war experiences, I think this is the first story I have read from the eyes of a member of the Russian police.

A man who had attained many of the most coveted honors in the Communist regime and was des
Teresa Thompson Arcangel
I was very moved by Sergei Kordakov's story back in 1977 when I read "The Persecutor." Since then I've become aware of the controversy regarding the truthfulness of the story. This is why I'm giving the book 2 stars instead of 4.
Sep 06, 2015 Gbolahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just remembered that this book had a huge impact on me 20 years ago when I read it...
Sarah Haney
May 26, 2015 Sarah Haney rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read! It was thrilling to see how the Lord changed this man's life.
Dec 10, 2013 Tessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh mis dioses!!!
Quien tenga este libro, espero que lo disfrute tanto como yo lo tuve en mis pequeñas manos.
Cada cosa que hace este personaje no sabes si consolarlo o darle un gran golpe en la espalda, pero debo entender como estaba formado su entorno y su vida durante todo lo que estuvo en Rusia.
Realmente esto se merece ser leído. Si tienes la curiosidad de leerlo y lo encuentras, te recomiendo que lo hagas. No te arrepentirás de lo que le sucede.

Te deja con un gran nudo en el corazón
Dijana Dixy
Jul 29, 2016 Dijana Dixy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks Sergei for such a truth story its great God bless you
Feb 25, 2016 Dani rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, favorites
This story was gripping from beginning to end. I read this when I was about 18, and I've wanted to re-read it for a long time now but somewhere along the way, I lent it out and never got it back.
Rebecca Daley
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Amazing Book!
Jan 25, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book.
Aug 03, 2015 Robyn rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow.
Harriet Deforest
Nov 07, 2013 Harriet Deforest rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone older than 13 or 14.
Shelves: read-for-a-class
This was a very descriptive book. Because this was about communist Russia and secret police and the terribly violent persecutions of the believers, there are some very graphic parts. I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than 13 or 14. I liked that Kourdakov saw the examples of the believers, especially Natasha, and eventually joined Christianity. It gives a very clear view of communism, and it made me feel very blessed to live in America, with freedoms like religion and of the pr ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Liny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
très beau témoignage d'un ancien communiste russe converti au christianisme.
Hector Zamora
Leí este libro en 1980, en su versión en español, y en inglés... me impresionó la capacidad de los jóvenes de ser héroes, de su lucha por una causa; primero el protagonista fue un convencido del comunismo, luego un convertido y convencido de Cristo. Su camino fue arduo y lleno de sorpresas. Me encantará volver a leerlo después de la experiencia de vida que Dios me ha concedido, en un intento por renovar mi conversión y convicción por la causa de quien es el Amor.
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Sergei Kourdakov was a young defector from the Soviet Union who was born on March 1, 1951. According to his autobiography, he persecuted countless Christians as a KGB agent while a student and youth communist leader at the Petropavlovsk Naval Academy in Eastern Russia. In 1970, he began reading the Gospel of Luke and was transformed by it. Oh September 3, 1971, while a naval officer, he defected t ...more
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