Staunton, Aug. 16 – The only thing keeping the Putin regime from returning to the use of punitive psychiatry against dissidents as was the case at the end of Soviet times is that Moscow today has found it easier and cheaper to use linguistic analysis to get criminal convictions leading to regular incarceration in such cases, an independent Moscow psychiatrist says.
Speaking anonymously to Sonya Mustayeva of Novaya Gazeta Evropa, he says that as a result the system developed under the Serbsky Institute in Soviet times no longer is as widely used as it was; but that doesn’t mean that punitive psychiatry has not returned to Russia with a vengeance (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/08/16/osobo-buinye).
In a new article, the journalist lists dozens of cases in which the Russian authorities have used punitive psychiatry since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine. She points to two especially troubling developments in this field. On the one hand, Russian courts are inclined to accept the findings of a single government expert in deciding to forcibly confining people for treatment.
And on the other, once an individual is so classified and confined, he or she is at the mercy of the doctors employed by such facilities. There is little chance to appeal against what those who reached the initial conclusion decide to do, including extending or making harsher the treatment such people receive.