Grigory Pasko: Independence Punished by Psychiatry in Russia, Part 2

Below is the continuation of the statement from Andrei Novikov, the government critic and journalist who has been illegally held against his will in psychiatric confinement (see Part 1 here). Novikov, who is supported by international press freedom groups such as Reporters without Borders, made a plea for political asylum on an exclusive video first featured on this blog. – Grigory Pasko Andrei Novikov’s monologue continued… ….Also I was quarrelsome with policemen. I demanded of them that they show identification. Once a policeman beat me up. I turned for help to the police. There they told me that since I didn’t know the surname of the policeman who had beaten me up, then there was no element of a crime, either. They taught me that you need to demand that they show identification. And so I started demanding. They wouldn’t give it. I complained about them to the internal security administration. This too they didn’t forget. bol-21227.jpg The psychiatric hospital where Novikov spent nearly a year (photo by Grigory Pasko)

I have always been against the Chechen war. I was against them sending regional sections of the police there – that’s not their job, to fight with peaceful inhabitants. And also I was published on the «Chechen-Press».In sum, these facts all came together, apparently, into some kind of single whole, and they decided to lock me up in the madhouse. For a long time. By the way, before sending me to the nut-house, local employees of the FSB proposed to me that I take myself there on my own, by voluntary initiative, so to speak.And also I wrote a statement on account of the arrest of the journalist Boris Stomakhin. They had convicted him for his articles, in which he, supposedly, was inflaming nationalist discord. I sent a statement to the procuracy in the capacity of a manifesto: lock me up too. If you’re locking people up for their thoughts, then I too express the same kinds of thoughts.And they listened, as can be seen, to this proposal of mine.On 19 January 2007, I was all of a sudden released from Yaroslavl as well and I came to Rybinsk. It turned out that nobody knew anything about me: not about the trial, not about the psychiatric hospital… I phoned my friend Valery Lebedev, told him everything. Boris Krein also found out. Information started to appear on websites.vyveska1227.jpgSign on the Rybinsk psychiatric hospital, showing visiting hours (photo by Grigory Pasko)I understood that they had released me accidentally, by mistake. Sure enough, after a certain time they drove up and took me away. The Head Doctor of the Rybinsk psychiatric hospital, Tatiana Morozova, said that I need to be held before trial – Irina Vasilievna Popova, a benevolent person, she was for letting me go. For nearly 3 months I was found in the psychiatric hospital. At the trial, which took place in May, the court decreed: to hold me in forcible treatment for another half year or year.So I stayed in the Rybinsk psychiatric hospital until 18 December 2007. On 6 December, there took place a consilium of doctors, who came to the conclusion that I am not in need of further treatment. This took place, I consider, thanks to the intervention in the case of the president of the Independent Psychiatric Expert Commission, professor Yuri Savenko.The Commission gave consent for outpatient forcible treatment.In essence, I now find myself in some kind of in-between situation. They can lock me up in inpatient treatment any time they please. This is why I ask the public to monitor my situation.All the more so because the times now are troubling. The power is aggressive. «United Russia» has a constitutional majority in the Duma. They have already initiated a new law «On psychiatric aid», according to which the procedure of placement in a psychiatric establishment is greatly simplified. Already now it is known that the quantity of psychiatric hospitals in Russia is growing. Psychiatric hospitals – this is those same investigative isolators. In all in Rybinsk, according to my calculations, there are around 500 patients being held in psychiatric wards. (The number of inhabitants in Rybinsk is less than 240 thousand). People are being turned into bugs. It is obvious that this is how the power disposes of those unwanted ones whom, for whatever reason, it has not locked up in jail.About colleaguesLocal journalists from those publications in which I had previously been published not only didn’t support me, but even testified that I had sent them extremist articles by post. Thanks to this help from them, a criminal case was initiated: one of the articles literally became a lifeline for the investigators. By the way, I hadn’t sent them these articles. They were written, but were found in the computer. And when I in my articles criticized Putin, they completely stopped publishing me in the newspapers «Zolotoye koltso» and «Enface».The absurdity of the case is that it in fact is based on unpublished materials. It was only later that the investigation started to search on websites for my publications and tearing out of the context of the articles some kind of phrases, offering them up as “extremist”.Will I continue to write? I don’t know. In the next half year I will step back from politics and will engage in sociology. All the more so because they confiscated my computer and didn’t return it. I don’t have the funds for a new one. My disability pension is 1400 rubles per month [about $56]. For now I don’t know what to do. For now I’m reading artistic literature…The next trek to the hospital is on Monday, 24 December [this interview was made several days earlier—Ed.]. I am in complete uncertainty: what will come into their heads.I ask the public, to the extent that this is possible, to monitor my situation. I likewise appeal to western states: if there is a possibility – to grant me political asylum. In Russia my existence has become impossible. It will be very difficult for me to engage in free activity, independent journalism, in the Putinite regime.I will be constantly subjected to repressions. Especially after the «United Russia» party adopts a new law on psychiatry, according to which the procedure for sending a person to the hospital will be simplified…”Author’s AfterwordRecently I read the following phrase on one of the websites in an article about the history of the KGB: “…The KGB switched to a ‘vegetarian diet’. Now they weren’t executing dissidents, but were throwing them in camps and psychiatric hospitals. As before, the KGB continued to practice the liquidation of unwanted persons beyond the border…“Other traditions – complete closedness, lack of subordination to parliamentary organs (there simply weren’t any in the USSR) and laws (they were looked upon in consideration of “political expediency”) – were retained in the KGB. And what is even more important, nearly everyone who came out of the KGB retained a hatred for dissidents, the democratic movement, democracy as such, the West and the USA as the main potential adversary, an inclination towards the resolution of socio-economic problems by force.”We can also add here the KGB/FSB’s pathological hatred of independent opinion, of journalists. And the methods of struggle with journalists are also well-known already: the nuthouse, the jail, or the bullet.Not much of a choice, is it?