Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

The Weaponization Of Psychiatry In Russia

This one paragraph is chilling to the bone. 

“Therefore, when books, articles and documents are not available in Russian, it remains possible for the psychiatric leaders (many of whom hail from Soviet times) to pretend that the diagnosis used for Soviet dissidents – ‘sluggish schizophrenia’ – is quite accepted in the world and even part of ICD-10.12 Information is a weapon, and should be used maximally and extensively.”

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Ending political abuse of psychiatry: where we are at and what needs to be done


The number of reports of political activists falling victim to the political abuse of psychiatry is increasing. When the USSR first disintegrated, this practice virtually ceased to occur. What came in its place, however, was a disturbing collection of other forms of abuses, including human rights abuses, caused by a lack of resources, outdated treatment methods, a lack of understanding of individual human rights and a growing lack of tolerance in society. The number of cases of political abuse of psychiatry has increased since the 21st century began, particularly over the past few years in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Over the past years, an increasing number of reports on the internment of political activists in former Soviet republics and particularly in Russia1 led to a resumed interest in the issue of the abuse of psychiatry for political purposes. Political abuse of psychiatry refers to the misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and detention for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain individuals and groups in a given society. The practice is common in, but not exclusive to, countries governed by totalitarian regimes. In these regimes abuses of the human rights of those politically opposed to the state are often hidden under the guise of psychiatric treatment. In democratic societies whistle-blowers on covertly illegal practices by major corporations have been subjected to the political misuse of psychiatry.2Even though these abuses have been a frequent and ongoing practice throughout the 21 century in the People’s Republic of China,2 that fact did not alert the world that this perversion of medical science has not come to an end. Rather, reports on individual cases of such abuses in former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia caught the attention and made people realise that 25 years after the conditional return of the Soviet psychiatric association to the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) the practice has still not been eradicated. Among the cases that have attracted wide public attention are those of the Pussy Riot band members (Russia), Mikhail Kosenko (Russia), one of the accused Bolotnaya Square protesters, who has been sentenced to mandatory treatment, and the psychiatric assessment of the Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, detained by the Russian government over the deaths of two Russian journalists in a mortar attack during the Ukraine conflict.


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