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New World War: Revolutionary Methods for Political Control

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Volume I: Current Political Situation

Volume II: The New War

Volume III: Weapons of The New War

Volume IV: The Coverup


Punitive Psychiatry in Communist Russia

In Communist Russia mental hospitals were often used to isolate people who were potential dangers to the established order from the rest of society. The hospitals were called psikhushkas. Although they appeared to be independent facilities run by the Ministry of Health, they were in fact run by the security forces. In these institutions “mental reorientation” was done under the guise of medical care.

Punitive psychiatry had been used in Russia as far back as 1918, but it wasn’t until the mid 1950s that it had become a major instrument of repression. During this time, dissenting psychiatrists in Russia were removed from important posts as a type of filtering process. The entire industry of psychiatry was transformed to conform to the Pavlovian doctrine.

In the late 1960s people who had been forced into these hospitals began to smuggle out notes describing how they were being tortured with neuroleptics by doctors working for the KGB. At first their testimonies were not believed. But in the early 1970s descriptions of their experiences began to appear in the US, which eventually led to an investigation into the matter.

It was discovered that psychiatrists were being used by the state in a battle against nonconformists. It allowed the Russian government to avoid regular legal procedures by processing certain people through the mental health system.

This allowed those who ran the country to deprive people of their rights, subject them to rigid rules, and drug them against their will. It was a form of imprisonment disguised as medical treatment. The Moscow Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry expanded the definition of schizophrenia to include a new variation of the illness known as sluggish schizophrenia (vyalotekushchaya).

A person with this illness may appear to be normal most of the time. However, one manifestation of the sickness was an inflexibility of convictions, and reformist delusions that were evidence of paranoid development. Before they began to vigorously target nonconformists, the Russian government first used psychiatry to expand the definition of schizophrenia.

This was accomplished by Dr. Andrei Snezhnevsky, director of the Institute of Psychiatry of the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS), and his colleagues. The major psychiatric center in the USSR, the Serbsky Institute, was complicit as well.

There were three basic forms of schizophrenia: continuous, shift-like, and periodic. Each form had several subtypes. For the purpose of this chapter we’re only concerned with the continuous, which was used for punitive purposes.

Its course included the progressive deterioration of the individual with no remission. No actual symptoms may be observable; the person may appear perfectly normal. It begins with secondary symptoms such as withdrawal, apathy, and diminished interests. Then, positive symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations develop.

Subtypes of this form include rapid (also called malignant), moderate, and mild (also called sluggish). The specific kind of schizophrenia used against nonconformists is the continuous form with a sluggish subtype. It’s commonly referred to as sluggish schizophrenia.

Its developmental pattern is basically this: an overvalued idea is constructed which eventually becomes a delusional idea. The delusional idea becomes a delusional system (theme). The theme is followed by a systematized delusional state or what is referred to in the US as a systematized delusion, also called an organized system of delusions. The systematized delusion will often appear outwardly convincing and not absurd.

The expanded definition described it as mostly a social disorder. So a person suffering from sluggish schizophrenia could appear normal most of the time and maintain functionality in all other life areas.

Delusional symptoms associated with the disorder that have caused people to be forced into mental hospitals, as revealed in their records, include:

People in Russia that have been forced into mental hospitals have reported the following: A bogus criminal investigation is used by the state to attack them. They are watched constantly, which has been described as uninterrupted surveillance or continuous surveillance. This means 24/7 non-stop observation.

They are stalked by a network of plain clothed citizens “round-the-clock.” They are harassed out of employment. Some have false criminal charges brought against them. Their phones are tapped, their correspondence is interfered with. The security forces are said to use “special means” to accomplish this. Their friends and family are also placed under surveillance and stalked.

The person’s family often initiates the commitment process and can’t be relied on to help them. An explanation for this is a forced commitment through proxy. The KGB would often not directly have people forcefully committed; instead they’d use their network of informants to accomplish this in order to conceal their involvement.

There were two types of hospitals in Communist Russia. Ordinary psychiatry hospitals (OPH), which were less strict, were run by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Special psychiatric hospitals (SPH) where used to contain the socially dangerous.

The SPHs were run by the KGB as well as a secret police network called the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), which existed to maintain public order. The MVD also ran the police, concentration camps, and prisons.

The chief doctor in an SPH was always an officer in the MVD, usually ranking from a lieutenant to major. Most regular doctors were also officers. The nurses and nurse assistants were MVD too, with the nurses being sergeants. The orderlies were usually recruited from a network of convicted criminals.

Each SPH had a number of doctors whose primary duty was “continuous surveillance” of patients. An example of an SPH is the Serbsky Institute, the main psychiatric center in Russia, where the treatments that people were given included neuroleptics and electric shocks. In some cases these drugs were given without correctives that reduce side-effects, basically as torture.

The Defense Intelligence Agency report of 1972, Controlled Offensive Behavior—USSR, mentioned that the environment was arranged so as to lower moral, destroy self-confidence and self-reliance, instill fatigue and anxiety, and create confusion. All this was done for the purpose of obtaining “total submission.”

The noted Russian dissident Leonid I. Plyushch likewise mentioned that the environment, the treatment, and the regulations were arranged so as to “crush his will.” In August of 2007 The Times commented that the object was to “break you and make you insane.”

In addition to nonconformists, there were convicted criminals who would fake mental illness in order to avoid the concentration camps. However, when they experienced life inside the hospitals almost all of them admitted what they had done in order to be returned to the camps.

The Abuse of Psychiatry report of the Hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations in September of 1983, described that these mental hospitals contained a multitude of resources which were used to degrade people. “It uses those vast resources,” noted the committee, “not simply to wound, to humiliate, or to force confessions, but to intrude into the most hidden recesses of the whole human personality.”

Most former patients report that they were forced to admit that they were mentally ill. They were also told to renounce their religious or political beliefs. These forced acknowledgements were referred to as recantation. The recantation could have been either written or verbal.

A person’s refusal to acknowledge that they were sick was considered a symptom of the illness, which required continuing treatment. Even after a person gave up their beliefs, they were kept until complete “recovery” was achieved, which meant that the patients who admitted that they were ill found themselves to be healthy again. Some of these “reformed” people were used for propaganda purposes during radio or TV broadcasts.

In February 1976 Time Magazine illustrated the experience of Soviet Scientist Leonid I. Plyushch, who was forced into an SPH in 1973. He said that the horrors he witnessed were less frightening to him than the repeated attempts by doctors to force him to admit that he was mentally ill.

After being released from the hospital, people have reported being placed under constant surveillance, and stalked everywhere, all the time. Their family and friends have also be placed under strict surveillance and stalked. The person is usually placed under the guardianship of their relatives. Their every action is watched closely by the Psychoneurological Center (PNC) which works with the KGB and they are threatened with another forced hospitalization if they do not conform.

The typical profile of those selected for hospitalization included people who wouldn’t tolerate injustice, dishonesty, or cruelty as much as the average person. They were human rights activists, nationalists, scholars, writers, artists, scientists, and religious believers. Psychiatrists who exposed the system were blacklisted or forced into a mental hospital themselves. Basically anybody that was able to see the state in its true form was a potential target.

Some of these people complained to their politicians or institutes of justice about wrongdoings. Others filed legal complaints alleging corruption involving local politicians, police, the courts, and judges. They may have criticized the practices of local medical institutions or military bases.

In addition to it being used by the state, it was a type of service available to anyone with political connections, money, or who could provide favors to a psychiatrist. Businessmen and politicians could use it to have people they didn’t like forcefully committed.

Business partners or relatives could seize a person’s property after having them declared insane. Jealous coworkers would use it to remove competitors. Neighbors would use it to either take someone’s apartment, or to simply have them removed if they didn’t like their activities.

The entire legal procedure was run by the state with a predetermined outcome. The KGB would identify people through its network. They would place people under surveillance and either arrest or use an informant to alert the authorities that someone was mentally ill. The evaluation was carried out in a hospital, clinic, court, prison, home, workplace, or the scene of an incident.

In court, the doctors added the appearance of legitimacy to the procedure. They provided a bogus diagnosis at the direction of the KGB. The courts, which were also controlled, would then uphold the doctors’ findings.

The judges and jury members, as well as the defense and prosecution attorneys, were all just “pawns at political trials.” The entire legal procedure was a facade. The state, mental health system, police, KGB, and the entire justice system were interconnected, and functioned in unison to have perfectly healthy people forcefully medicated.

This included the top medical experts that belonged to professional societies and the country’s mental health department, such as the Institute of Psychiatry of the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS). It also included the Ministry of Health, which was responsible for public health, and the Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry.

Most regular doctors understood that what they were doing was immoral. They cooperated out fear or career ambitions. Ideological factors played an important role too. The idea was that the government was correct, and anyone who questioned it must have been mentally ill and poorly adapted to his environment. The doctors were institutionally submissive. There were very few who refused to cooperate.

Because the psychiatrist was employed by an organization with a variety of institutions that subscribed to an ideology, and his livelihood depended on the organization’s survival, he would usually serve the organization rather than the individual patient.

There was a leading group of prominent psychiatrists who cooperated with the KGB out of greed rather than intimidation. Similar to the thought leaders now used by the industry, these senior experts were used to influence their colleagues. They were said to be consciously unethical. They betrayed their medical duties in exchange for higher salaries and a better position in society. They were also granted the satisfaction of ambitions, power, and having special privileges. Does what you’ve read in this chapter so far seem familiar?

Some included Professor Andrei Snezhnevsky, director of the Institute of Psychiatry of the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS); Dr. Georgy Morozov, director of the Serbsky Research Institute for Forensic Psychiatry; and Professor Ruben Nadzharov, deputy-director of the Institute of Psychiatry.

Others were Professor Daniil Lunts; head of the Serbsky’s special diagnostic section; Dr. Zoya Serebryakova, chief psychiatrist in the Ministry of Health; Dr. Boris Petrovsky of the Ministry of Health; and Dr. Marat Vartanyan of the Institute of Psychiatry and former associate secretary of the World Psychiatric Association.

Some of the most useful information our society has regarding what occurred in Communist Russia comes from people who have had direct experience with it, such as the renowned Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky.1

A few of these individuals kept notes on their experience. For the first decade or so, their reports that were smuggled out were not believed. They were also denied by the institutions that were involved. Petro Grigorenko kept records of his ordeal, including being imprisoned for 5 years in psychiatric hospitals. He was a Soviet Army commander, and later a human rights activist and writer.

Victor Nekipelov kept notes during his 2 month stay in a mental hospital, which formed the manuscript for his 1980 book, Institute of Fools: A Dissident’s Memoir of his Detention in the Most Notorious Soviet Psychiatric Institution.

It is now a matter of fact that medical punishment in Russia was led by the top experts in the field of psychiatry, including the people and organizations that the public relied on to help them. There were very few psychiatrists who refused to cooperate.

One was Dr. Semyon Gluzman, who would later author a manual along with the famous Russian dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, on what to expect when being attacked by the system. Another was Dr. Anatoly Koryagin, a man who served as the primary psychiatrist to the Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes, an independent initiative formed in 1977 to document the use of psychiatry to destroy nonconformists.

Dr. Koryagin was arrested in 1981 and eventually sent to a mental hospital where he was tortured with neuroleptics. His son was so severely persecuted he had to drop out of school. In 1982 Amnesty International published the transcripts for his trial, where he announced:

My investigation and trial do not constitute an act of justice, but a means of suppressing me for my views. I know that the sentence will be harsh. I do not ask anything of this court. Regardless of the sentence imposed on me, I state that I will never accept the situation which exists in our country, where mentally healthy people are imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals for trying to think independently. I know that long years of physical imprisonment, humiliation and mockery await me.

Dr. Semyon Gluzman and Vladimir Bukovsky mentioned in their publication, A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents that they recognized two classes of mental disorders: one with a biological origin based on “concrete scientific discoveries,” which they described as true mental illnesses, and the other with no basis in science that was used for social control.

Most psychiatrists were civilians. Like all citizens, it was easier for them to conclude that someone was mentally ill than to entertain the possibility that they were right. Because if the statements made by the individuals about Soviet society were correct, and their actions were courageous, then in not acknowledging the existence of the problem, one would be a coward. Therefore, it was comforting to the citizens and the doctors themselves when a diagnosis of schizophrenia was made.

Punitive psychiatry was a mechanism built into the system, which existed to maintain the social-political order. Because it was necessary that people thought they were free and the government was limited by the rule of law, psychiatry was used to circumvent the normal judicial procedures.

The use of punitive psychiatry against nonconformists continues in Russia. According to some publications, not only did it never stop, it has increased since it became public. Although it is not as widespread as it is in the Soviet Union, it has also occurred in South Africa, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, and Hungary.

Of particular interest is China, which has a system of covert social control similar to Russia’s. The mental hospitals in China, called the ankang (peace and health), are run by the police, and have been used increasingly in a war against dissent since the early 1980s.

According to the International Herald Tribune, it allows the Chinese government to neutralize certain people without channeling them through the legal system. Similar to the Russian system, it is done under the guise of providing medical treatment. And the profile of those targeted appears to be similar. The activity is said to be increasing.


1. Vladimir Bukovsky said that the European Union functions basically the same as the former Soviet Union. He specifically referred to it as a "monster" that must be stopped before it becomes a complete totalitarian state. Bukovsky was allowed to view confidential documents which revealed a plan to turn Europe into a single socialist organization. Because of his experience as a political prisoner, in 1992 Mr. Bukovsky was invited by the Russian government to serve as an expert witness at a trial conducted to determine if the former Soviet Communist Party had been a criminal organization. To prepare for his testimony, he was given access to confidential documents which only few have seen due to their classified nature. Some included KGB reports to the Soviet government. The documents, says Bukovksy, revealed a plan to turn Europe into a single socialist organization by eliminating sovereign nations. He said that despite the appearance of support that some countries have given to the EU, many were coerced and blackmailed into joining. They include Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, and others that had repeatedly rejected the treaty. He was able to view information pertaining to members of the Trilateral Commission who visited Russia in January of 1989 for a meeting with President Mikhail Gorbachev. They included David Rockefeller, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, former president of France Valery Giscard d'Estaing, and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. At that time Gorbachev was told that Russia was to be more dependent on global financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. He was also told that within 15 years Europe was to be a single federal state. There was also to be to a merging of the Soviet Union into Western Europe. Bukovsky referred to it as an open conspiracy in the making. The structure of the EU is based on Communist Russia, says Bukovsky, who warns of an international KGB. The EU commission, which he describes as a heavily corrupted bureaucracy that runs the country with no actual accountability to the people, resembles the politburo. See the Brussels Journal report Former Soviet Dissident Warns for EU Dictatorship, February 27, 2006, by Paul Belien.