July 21, 2009
|The Soviet "cure" for political schizophrenia included electric shock.|
In the former Soviet Union, psikhushkas — mental hospitals — were used by the state as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally. The Soviet state began using mental hospitals to punish dissidents in 1939 under Stalin. The Psychiatric Prison Hospital in the city of Kazan was transferred to NKVD (the secret police organization for the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) control and in 1969 Yuri Andropov, the head of KGB, submitted to the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union a plan for creating a network of psikhushkas.
According to official Soviet psychiatry and the Moscow Serbsky Institute at the time, “ideas about a struggle for truth and justice are formed by personalities with a paranoid structure.” Treatment for this special political schizophrenia included various forms of restraint, electric shocks, electromagnetic torture, radiation torture, lumbar punctures, various drugs — such as narcotics, tranquilizers, and insulin — and beatings. Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History, indicates that at least 365 sane people were treated for “politically defined madness,” although she surmises there were many more.
It now appears “politically defined madness” has arrived in the West. The Associated Press reports today that a Berlin court has ordered psychiatric care for a man who staged a protest before Obama’s speech in Berlin during his presidential campaign. A German man drove through barricades around Berlin’s Victory Column the day before Obama was to speak in July 2008 and poured red paint from his car. The court says the man was protesting “injustice and poverty in the world” and is not guilty of any offenses for the reason of mental illness. In a ruling, the Court determined the man suffers from manic depression and was remanded to a psychiatric institute.
No word on the form of treatment the man will receive for his “manic depression” in response to “injustice and poverty in the world.”