Sergei Kourdakov was a Russian naval cadet in the Soviet Union. But he was also part of a secret police unit. He was assigned to break up a gathering of Christians in a small home and arrest the leaders. But, according to his superiors, he failed, despite ending the meeting and bringing in the leaders. Why? And how did he end up there in the first place?
Sergei’s prime goal in his life, from the time he was a boy till the time he was beached on a rock offshore from Canada, was to survive, to rise up the ladder, to triumph. He did not care for being a good person, or anything else, if it got in his way. He cared about being the toughest and strongest there was, and had no morals whatsoever. If he did the right thing, it was only because he thought it would bring him the most power.
This mindset primed most of the major decisions he made during his life. One of the first that he made after becoming an adult was whether or not to follow his friends into the underground. His “buddies” had set up a black market business selling Japanese goods; and by the age of sixteen, he was performing services for them. However, he was shot by a rival gang, and only barely survived because of a bundle of papers in his pocket.
He had no qualms about the crime, but decided that it was not the way for him. The Communist party had watched him lead the communist youth leagues wherever he went; and upon entering the naval academy, he was immediately promoted to top communist trainer in the academy. He could even occasionally override the decisions of the military superiors.
Soon after, a major from the KGB approached him with an offer. He was to join a secret police unit with the job of “hunting down the worst enemies of the state.” He at first refused, but then was offered bucketloads of money. He instantly signed up. He then recruited around fifteen other tough men. They all had exactly the same reaction.
For a few weeks they worked alongside the normal police, rushing into bars and beating up murderers and drunks. What they did not know was what was coming next. They were told that these assignments were really just warm-ups. The drunks were not really that bad. The real enemies of the state were the religioznik, or Believers. The entire group was surprised, but nobody had any objections.
Their first real assignment was to break up a meeting of fourteen people and arrest the two leaders. There were fourteen people in the raid group. When they arrived, Kourdakov did not know what to do, so he tapped on the door. One of the leaders answered, and he welcomed them in, despite knowing why they were there. They started whispering to each other, while the rest of the group went on singing. The leader told Kourdakov that he was not breaking any laws, and quoted the Soviet constitution. Kourdakov had no refutation, but confused, arrested him anyway. There was no resistance or violence, and the leaders were brought back to the police station.
However, the unit’s recruiter was not happy. On seeing the believers, he shouted, “Why don’t they look beaten up? Lock them away!” He furiously turned to Kourdakov and told him that he had failed his mission and that he should have “changed faces.”Then he told the unit that they would have to go back to fighting drunks in bars.