Current Events

Russia’s mental hospitals

Its not a great time to be a political dissident in Russia. Larisa Arap, who openly supported Gary Kasparov’s opposition group the United Civil Front, has just emerged from a 46-day imprisonment in two Russian psychiatric hospitals. The Independent reports (“Putin critic…“) that Mrs. Arap was forcibly interned with numerous unknown pills forced down her throat.  The article continues…

Her arrest stemmed from the publication of an article entitled “Madhouse,” exposing the ghoulish practices of a Russian psychiatric hospital in the Murmansk edition of his organisation’s newspaper, Dissenters’ March. She was interned in the very hospital she had written about.

The Chicago Tribune also reports on the practice of mental hospitalization in their piece titled “Your father’s Soviet Union.”  Journalist Alex Rodriguez writes:

…Russian authorities are backsliding into Soviet-style repression, using psychiatry to suppress political opponents. “We’re returning to this Soviet scenario when psychiatric institutions are used as punitive instruments,” said Yuri Savenko, president of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia. “I call this not even punitive psychiatry but police psychiatry, when the main aim is to protect the state rather than to treat sick people.”