Staunton, October 11 – It is an ancient observation that “those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad;” but it is also true that in those countries where the mad take control of the state, they quite often seek to declare their opponents mad, both to isolate the latter and to hide their own insanity.
So it has been at many points in Russian history, Igor Yakovenko says. Nicholas I declared Chaadayev mad for his writings. Then, between 1921 and 1988, the Soviets declared more than two million of its citizens mad. And now, after a brief interval in which this practice was suspended, the Russian government today is again doing the same thing.
In a commentary for the World Day of Psychological Health, the Ukrainian writer points out that ‘in Russia, psychological health has always been connected with loyalty to the bosses” and that for both the state and the society, “thinking differently has always been considered a mark of insanity” (nr2.com.ua/blogs/Igor_Jakovenko/V-Den-psihicheskogo-zdorovya-RF-postavili-srazu-8-opasnyh-diagnozov-108140.html).
Tragically, he continues, “punitive psychiatry, which was liquidated under Yeltsin has suddenly again been pulled from the draw … and is quietly gaining currency” in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, with activists like Larisa Arap and Dmitry Shchepetov being forcibly incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals and the notorious Serbsky Institute regaining prominence.
Russian psychiatrists routinely find such “patients” suffering from diseases that do not exist anywhere else such as “’creeping schizophrenia” which supposedly is shown by symptoms like “’delirium’” of reform or litigation.” In such cases, Yakovenko says, those who are really suffering from “a serious social illness” are not those charged but those making such diagnoses.
There are several “symptoms” the latter display, the commentator says. Among them are:
· “Demonstrative Kleptomania.” Not only has the amount of theft by Russian officials and Russian businessmen reached unprecedented levels, but those who engage in it, instead of using their money for charitable goals are doing everything they can to “eat” all of it. Such a situation can only have “a fatal outcome.”
· “Anti-Western Delirium.” This symptom has first appeared among the rulers and then has been transmitted to the ruled via state-controlled media.
· “Delirium of the Great Spiritual Ties.” According to Yakovenko, this takes many forms, including deliriums about the special nature of the Russian people, its commitment to justice, and is great history.
· “Delirium of the Russian World.” This is manifested in willingness to declare “part of ‘the Russian world’ any territory which at that moment for some reason [the Kremlin] wants to bomb and to declare any people living on this territory ‘a fraternal people.’”
In general, Yakovenko suggests, “one can call this social pathology an extreme form of the mania of imperial greatness, accompanied by the complete Paralysis of domestic political processes and the Atrophy of economic life, and also the complete Dysfunction of the people as the subject of its own history.”
“Such a diagnosis,” he concludes, “means almost certainly the disintegration of the social fabric and consequently the disintegration of the country into several parts in the foreseeable future.”