Today in Russia:
Psychiatry and Antipsychiatry - Who is more organized?
by Igor V. Girich

Igor GirichAlthough today psychiatry in Russia is formally regulated by the federal law "About psychiatric help and human rights guarantees" (signed by president Yeltsin in 1992 as an attempt to satisfy UN resolution 46/119 about mental health, 1991), in practice it still acts according to its Soviet traditions. This law is far from perfect, but even its declarations are commonly violated. The restriction of elementary human rights reaches such a level that there is more sense to say which rights the patients DO have than to discuss which ones they DO NOT have. What is permitted is to sleep, eat, visit the toilet, walk along the corridor or meet relatives. All actions mentioned above must be done at strictly defined times. The "privilege" to read and to watch TV may be restricted. And usually once a day one has the right to get access to his/her food, obtained from relatives. Not a single complaint can get outside these walls - "doctors" could just collect them in your file (the so-called "history of illness").

When one is involuntary transported inside the "hospital", he/she is offered to sign a consent for this incarceration. The formulation and explanation of the content of this document from the "doctor" is so "clear" that most people just don't understand what they sign. If we take into account the usual juridical ignorance in this field, it would be obvious why so few people are able to express their disagreement in legal form. If the "doctor" can't get this signature, this case is transferred to a court that must make a decision in three days. This so-called "court" acts in an atmosphere of complete neglect of the legal rights of a victim, who is usually not allowed to be present at this "court process", and his interests are presented by "an advocate", who has never even seen the person that he is "defending". These prostitutes of the law ("judge" + "advocate") quickly cook the desired decision. The absurd formulation of the reasons for imprisonment is so obvious that the court tries to avoid showing these documents.

The patient usually just doesn't know about this decision. Health care workers believe it's not necessary to inform him. He is not a human here. All the "medical" personnel try to provide an informational insulation of the victim. For this purpose he is not allowed to make telephone calls, send letters or meet "suspicious" persons who understand the meaning of this "therapy". And what are the principles of this "therapy"? "Health care" begins with hunger. This is a common feature of all post-Soviet psychiatric institutions (not only in Russia, but in Ukraine, Kazachstan, etc.). Without support from the outside a person can die from exhaustion. Although the world pharmaceutical industry produces thousands of different psychiatric drugs, there are not too many of them used by Russian "professionals". They prefer "universal" ones. "Universal" here means ones that can be used for ALL patients. Very popular are Thorazine, Haloperidol, Triftazine. These are the basic means of "correcting the soul" in Russia. The purpose of this "correction" is to decrease a person's activity. An inactive person can be locked in the "hospital" for a long period. The longer the better, because this field of "medicine" in Russia is organized in such a way that the financing of "doctors" directly depends on the number of occupied beds in their institutions. And if we take into account that very few people can agree to such "treatment", it's not difficult to understand why the "doctors" make such serious efforts to keep their victims there.

On the other hand, psychiatry is a good means for those criminals who want to avoid criminal responsibility and/or army service. "Doctors" can organize this. Just make some "donations". This is not the only way of supporting "medicine". If you own immovable property, it is a good perspective for a psychiatrist. Our laws can be used in such a manner that you can lose this property. Psychiatrists do this as a form of "self-support". (These manipulations involve(d) not only psychiatrists, but also state officials, militiamen, etc.) Shrinks tried to profit even from well known terroristic acts such as at the Moscow theater in 2002, when they offered their "services" for "rehabilitation" purposes. But hardly any of these victims believes in the "curing" properties of Thorazine.

What kind of opposition is there to psychiatry in Russia today? Although most people who personally felt its "treatment" hate this dirty machine, the opposition is far from organized. Unlike in Europe and the USA, the internet is not so accessible in our wide territory. The educational level and the level of income of former patients results in a lack of communication. When I was creating the web site of our organization, I searched similar organizations in the WWW. The only one visible was the Russian division of the Citizen Commission on Human Rights. They supply us with high-quality printed material. I suppose that nowadays it is the most active organization in this field in Russia, at least I know that its representatives try to defend some victims in courts, and it publishes some serious books.

The ideological foundation of our organization is different from the CCHR's. We start from the principles of Orthodox Christianity, according to Christ's words: "...but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew, 5:22). But we collaborate with people of any religion, if they share our attitude to psychiatry's evil.

Psychiatry in Russia was built as a copy of corresponding European institutions in the age of Tsar Peter I (18th century). Before that period people with some deviations of behavior were patronized by monasteries. Now we call some of these people saints.The total of all crimes in psychiatry has reached such proportions that it is time to organize a kind of Nuremberg process. We would then like to revive our traditional attitude to human nature, which accepts the concept of body, soul and spirit. This understanding will result in corresponding treatment without injections - the treatment by belief.Psychiatry was born from an atheistic view of humans. It represents the devil on earth. If we can't kill the devil, we can at least minimize the area of his headquarters, where some big rooms are occupied by psychiatrists.

Igor V. Girich,
General Coordinator of
"Help for Victims of Psychiatrists",

16 April 2003