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Soviet Psychoprisons by Harvey Fireside.

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Title: Soviet Psychoprisons.
Author: Harvey Fireside.
Genre: Non-fiction, psychiatry, psychology, politics, political dissent.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: January 1, 1979.
Summary: Psychiatry was widely used as a weapon against political dissent in the USSR. The dark truth of wrongful internment, forceful druggings, and brain-washing has been kept carefully classified. This is an account of the dissidents’ struggle to expose psychiatric abuse and condemn the political abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. Fireside describes the activity of activists like Vladimir Bukovsky, Semyon Gluzman, and Alexander Podrabinek, and also compiles important and otherwise hard-to-come-by documents, including A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents, which Bukovsky and Gluzman wrote in a labor camp.

My rating: 7.5/10


♥ Subsequently, a report by Zhores to Sakharov's Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR went on to list among the symptoms of mental illness cited in Soviet practice such choice characterizations as "a persistent mania for truth-seeking," "wears a beard," "is inclined to fruitless philosophizing," "considers the entry of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia an act of aggression," "his subsequent scholarly works are less important than his earlier ones," and "shouted that he would fight for democracy and truth." A note explains that even the absence of such "symptoms" is no safeguard to a Soviet citizen accused of political crimes, since a lecturer at the Institute for the Advanced Training of Physicians asserted, "It is no secret that schizophrenia sometimes occurs without any symptoms."

--

♥ Hitler had his gas chambers. People didn't believe it. They believed only when Hitler was no more. Stalin had his death camps. No one believed it, because their hearing had been so lulled by the slogans: "All men are brothers," "To the bright future of all mankind," etc. And if timid moans from the vast region of Siberia (and not only Siberia) did manage to get through, they were answered by the authoritative government refutation against "slander" and "anti-Soviet agitation." But believe we did when Stalin died, and Khrushchev, for opportunistic reasons, "lifted the edge of the bloody mat," in Solzhenitsyn's words.

I am told: No one will believe this. This can't be proven. They don't believe now that healthy people are crippled in crazy houses for dissident thinking, that physical torture is used under cover of "white robes." Man doesn't want to believe in evil, in very great evil. It tries one's conscience. It forces one to think: If this is true, why do I remain on the side, why don't I interfere? It means that I am a coward, I am dishonorable.

It is easier not to believe.

~~From Memoirs by Mikhail Kukobaka (as compiled by Aleksandr Podrabinek and Viktor Nekipelov in The Silent Asylum).
Tags: 1970s - non-fiction, 20th century - non-fiction, 3rd-person narrative non-fiction, american - non-fiction, foreign non-fiction, non-fiction, political dissent, politics, psychiatry, psychology, russian in fiction, russian in non-fictiion, soviet russian in non-fiction, totalitarian regimes
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