Ending the REIGN OF ABUSE in Russia
IAS Freedom Medal Winners 2011, AZGAR ISHKILDIN and TATYANA MALCHIKOVA have exposed the horrors of psychiatric abuse in Russia and protected the civil rights of every Russian citizen through legislative reforms
With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain came sweeping changes in Russia. But behind the facade of the “new Russia” was a legacy of the former state with roots so steeped in Soviet ideology it couldn’t change: Russian psychiatry. Having witnessed the lawlessness and degradation of rights in the field of psychiatry, IAS members Azgar Ishkildin and Tatyana Malchikova decided to take effective action to expose the human rights abuses and bring Russian psychiatry under the law.
A graduate of chemistry, physics and political economics from the Saint Petersburg State Technology University, Azgar worked as an engineer and had long been a journalist in the field of human rights. In 1999, he found Scientology and a year later began volunteering for CCHR. Realizing the best way to educate Russians on psychiatry was to provide them the truth, Azgar set about translating and editing key texts such as The Ultimate Betrayal, The Men Behind Hitler, Dr. Thomas Szaz’s classic book Manufacture of Madness and the full series of IAS-sponsored CCHR booklets. In 2004 he joined CCHR staff and within two years had risen to the post of Executive Director.
Tatyana was born in Samara, a city on the Volga River, and found Scientology in 1999 while studying aircraft construction engineering at the State Aerospace University. After moving to Moscow, she participated in CCHR protest marches, petition signings and handout distributions. By 2005, she was CCHR staff and quickly moved up the ranks to President.
All too aware that psychiatry was still using methods to control people just as it had in times of communism, Azgar and Tatyana set about finding the hidden secrets that lay behind the asylum walls. They began with strategic distribution of psych abuse literature around the asylums, where the chances were higher of finding someone who would step forward and break the silence. That silence was finally broken when a woman named Oksana came to CCHR with a chilling personal tale. While a patient at Moscow Psycho-Neurology Asylum #5, doctors had forced her to undergo sterilization.
CCHR checked and found that the signature on Oksana’s sterilization agreement wasn’t hers. When the prosecutor’s office wouldn’t take the case, CCHR moved higher and provided evidence to the Moscow Ombudsman. He authorized an official inspection and approved CCHR staff to be a part of it. The subsequent investigation would turn up even more victims as Azgar had organized a raid that exposed ten cases of coercive sterilization documented by CCHR in private video interviews with patients.
Using this data, Azgar authored a white paper and sent it to government ombudsmen in all 90 regions of Russia requesting they check for this abuse in their respective zones. After conducting their own investigations the ombudsman’s results were conclusive: forced sterilizations extended well beyond Asylum #5. Officials in the Perm region, for example, uncovered forced sterilizations of 15 asylum women. Several officials and doctors were prosecuted and the head of the Ozersky Asylum was convicted, sentenced and dismissed. Tatyana and CCHR then broke the story on three national television shows, including on the largest station in the nation, Channel One. Forced sterilization exploded in the media with banner headlines exposing this psychiatric atrocity, ending it once and for all.
[Image caption: Behind asylum walls, psychiatric crimes were being hidden; Azgar and Tatyana set out to find someone who would make them known. Finally, a woman came forward with a chilling personal tale about forced sterilization.]
[Image caption: Tatyana and CCHR broke the story of forced sterilization in asylums on three national television shows, with banner headlines in the Moscow Times, Novaya Gazeta and in regional press across the nation. As part of an official investigation, CCHR uncovered ten cases of coercive sterilization in Moscow Psycho Neurology Asylum #5.]
[Image caption: Azgar and Tatyana set out to expose the horror of psychiatric abuse and not only derailed the “new” brand of psychiatry in Russia, but through legislative reforms protected the civil rights of every Russian citizen.]
Forced sterilization was, however, only one atrocity under the catalog of horrors known in Russia as “punitive psychiatry.” Here was a whole suppressive machine enabling psychiatrists to cause anyone to be involuntarily committed, declared incompetent and denied all their rights under law. While punitive psychiatry had long been used to sweep dissidents off the streets and silence them with “treatment”, those seeking to misappropriate property from a family member or relative found punitive psychiatry a willing bedfellow. Victims were summarily labeled and committed by psychiatrists, thereby losing their rights so that those holding “guardianship” could feast on their estate.
As a first decisive step to end punitive psychiatry, CCHR organized traveling Industry of Death exhibits in key cities and locations across Russia. Tatyana toured hundreds of the country’s opinion leaders through the exhibit, including representatives from the Federal Parliament. With the CCHR exhibits fueling a continuous stream of negative media on psychiatry—over 30 TV and radio shows and 100 print and Internet articles—public opinion on psychiatry began to turn against it. This set the stage for Azgar’s next mission: drafting new statutes to guarantee fair hearings and to bring psychiatric commitment procedures under the law. These statutes were designed to guarantee basic rights to involuntarily committed patients, such as the right to an attorney, the right to defend oneself and the right to an appeal. They were forwarded to members of parliament, the Ministry of Justice and to the Kremlin.
Azgar and Tatyana next took the message against punitive psychiatry to the Russian people through nonstop media exposure. With every media article generating still more momentum on 6 April 2011, the bill giving rights to involuntarily committed patients was signed into law by the President of Russia—thereby abolishing Cold War punitive psychiatry forever.
[Image caption: Through constant traveling exhibitions, CCHR documentary distribution and TV and radio shows, Azgar, Tatyana and the CCHR team changed the public perception of psychiatry in Russia.]
But with CCHR exposing one abuse after another and the psychs losing ground at every turn, Russian psychiatry had to reinvent itself to stay alive. Working closely with foreign psycho-pharmaceutical companies, psychiatrists hatched a plan, dubbed the “Psychiatric Reformation.” The main scheme was to empty 750,000 patients out of asylums and back into society—with one catch: psychiatrists would continue to drug them in outpatient community care centers with Western psycho-pharmaceutical drugs—pocketing 7.5 billion rubles from public coffers in the process. Azgar and Tatyana met with deputies of the State Duma, briefed them on the dangers of this campaign and sent packages of signed petitions every week to MPs and state officials. Azgar and allied professionals next spoke at a public hearing at the Community Chamber of Russia, held to brief the president on matters of public concern. The transcripts and documents were passed straight to President Medvedev. Not stopping there, they distributed 1,000 information packages with the Making a Killing documentary to key decision makers, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) and across the health care system. The news soon broke of federal agents storming the Moscow offices of Western pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Swiss drug-maker Novartis, Israeli Teva and others. Numerous abuses were uncovered including under-the-table bribes to regulators and kickbacks to doctors to generate psychotropic prescriptions. The Russian Government responded by freezing foreign drug prices and stopping direct-to-consumer psycho-pharmaceutical ads on TV and in magazines, thereby wiping out the psychiatric “reformation” before it had even begun.
Having set out to expose the horror of psychiatric abuse, Azgar and Tatyana derailed the “new” brand of psychiatry, and protected the civil rights of every Russian citizen.1
Those familiar with the life of L. Ron Hubbard as recounted in issues of the Ron Series will recall repeated references to the LRH trail of research through the latter 1940s. Generally touched upon are his 1945 endocrinological studies at an Oak Knoll naval hospital near San Francisco, his 1946 examination of narcosynthesis at a California Veterans Administration, his 1947 work with neurotics from the Hollywood film community and his 1948 treatment of the criminally insane in a Savannah, Georgia institution. Also routinely mentioned is Ron’s first formal description of results in a widely circulated “Original Thesis,” his presentation of discoveries to an American medical and psychiatric establishment, his rebuff from that establishment and, finally, his authoring of a broadly accessible Dianetics handbook in a beachfront rental in New Jersey. Never previously offered, however, is what appears here: the actual correspondence from which we draw so much of the color and detail found in the Ron Series.For example: from the literal road of discovery LRH traveled through these years, comes his most revealing letter to Russell Hays. An author, inventor and gentleman farmer, Hays had counted himself among Ron’s closest friends for more than two decades. Both shared an abiding fascination with primitive cultures, aeronautics and that terra incognita of the human mind — the subject of Ron’s letter here.
Next, and quite in addition to above-mentioned LRH letters to the American Medical and Psychiatric Associations, we offer Ron’s summary description of Dianetics to the Gerontological Society in Baltimore, Maryland. Of particular interest — and found nowhere else — is Ron’s reference to that Oak Knoll experimentation wherein former prisoners of war responded to hormonal therapy only after “the removal of early traumas” through Dianetic procedures.
Although much has been previously said regarding author-editor John W. Campbell’s publication of Ron’s “Evolution of a Science” in Astounding Science-Fiction, here is what Campbell himself had to say on the matter. Here, too, is J. W. Campbell on the forthcoming Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and what he rightly foresaw as the backlash from a deeply flawed psychiatric community.
Finally, and for a rare LRH description of the actual Dianetics birthplace, comes a second telling note to Russell Hays from the “wilds” of Bay Head, New Jersey.1
- Letters from the Birth of Dianetics. (n.d.). traditionalhubbard.org. Retrieved 28 April 2010 from http://www.traditionalhubbard.org/page06.htm ↩
sKepptiksowat – April 16, 2010 – Dr. Stephen Wiseman is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, and Consultant Psychiatrist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. For a number of years he has been researching Scientology, its inventor L. Ron Hubbard, and the organization’s anti-psychiatry arm, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights This is his first public talk about Scientology’s war on Psychiatry, given at Vancouver’s annual “Skepticamp” at UBC on March 20, 2010, and is of monumental significance in this long conflict.
Hubbard started a campaign against psychiatry 60 years ago that is supported by every Scientologist with either money or time. 24 years after Hubbard’s death, this campaign has reached a fanatical level of hostility with multi-million dollar attack-media offensives and legal and extralegal programs to harm or destroy the profession and subject of psychiatry generally and psychiatrists’ careers individually. Scientology’s war on psychiatry under current Scientology head David Miscavige has not attained its goal, but it has negatively impacted public understanding and threatens to drive an extremely vulnerable set of citizens away from the option, science, hope and help that psychiatrists can be for them.
Dr. Wiseman describes what he and two colleagues have undertaken as a push back against Scientology in the name of his profession. This is the first such effort, certainly in the English-speaking world, and is long overdue. In the past, several individual psychiatrists speaking for themselves have stood up to Scientology and faced its organized and heavily-funded hostility. For this, Drs. Jolly West and Jack Clark remain respected figures to this day. Until now, however, no group of psychiatrists or professional organization such as the American Psychiatric Association has confronted or pushed back against the distortions and falsehoods of Scientology, and this has emboldened Miscavige’s organization considerably over the years. With the work of Dr. Wiseman and his colleagues, these days are now over.
The Skeptics and related reason-promoting groups and individuals have been speaking out against Scientology’s deceptions and anti-science for many years. Dr. Wiseman’s talk and Q & A period are short because of the SkeptiCamp format, but he imparts considerable new information and many insights. It is obvious he has educated himself about Scientology and its war, and he says that the research he and his colleagues have done is at a level now where publication and further presentation options are under consideration. He has taken their endeavor this far while working full time in his medical specialty at a major metropolitan hospital. He is clearly articulate, well-informed, human, and reasonable, and for these reasons represents a formidable force against the shrill, destructive rage of Scientology.
The Planetary Salvage campaigns funded by IAS grants are the largest programs of their kind. They reach whole populations, but ultimately it is help on a one-on-one basis that is reversing the dwindling spiral. 12
TONGA WELCOMES THE SOUTH PACIFIC GOODWILL TOUR AND LRH STUDY TECH
[Image captions: The VM Cavalcade I/C presented the Tonga Minister of Education, Womens Affairs and Culture with the Scientology Handbook.
At the Tonga Taukilau School, the Deputy Principal translated the Study Tech lecture for the students.]
TONGA: When the South Pacific Volunteer Ministers Goodwill Tour arrived on the island of Tonga they were welcomed by officials from the Ministry of Education, Womens Affairs and Culture who were eager to hear about LRH Study Technology. After the VMs gave a lecture to the ministry and government school principals, the Deputy Director of Education invited the VMs to give lectures in all government schools in the kingdom.
The VMs got straight to work, giving LRH Study Tech lectures to students at all levels. At ‘Api Fo’ou College they gave 1,200 students and teachers Group Processing and a lecture on LRH Study Tech. The students were enthusiastic about learning how to learn, and so were their teachers who themselves wanted to learn Study Technology.
The VMs next visited Taukilau school in the village of Laapaha where they met with the Deputy Principal and introduced 300 teachers and students to LRH Study Tech.
The VMs are now training teachers from primary school to college level on LRH Study Technology, thereby creating a bright future for education in the Kingdom of Tonga!
SPREADING THE MESSAGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN UGANDA
[Image caption: A student at Nakasero Secondary School in Uganda responds to a human rights quiz question, part of a program designed to educate youth on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.]
KAMPALA, UGANDA: Sixty volunteers now count themselves among the movement that is spreading the message of Human Rights throughout Uganda. Isaac Nsubaga was first introduced to the Youth for Human Rights program by IAS Freedom Medal Winner Mary Shuttleworth in 2005, and is now Youth for Human Rights I/C Uganda. He and his volunteer team have established six Human Rights Clubs in universities and primary schools and are working in coordination with government officials to educate youth on their human rights.
To teach students about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they show the IAS-sponsored Human Rights public service announcements, followed by quizzes, which are highly popular with the students.
Youth for Human Rights Uganda has run programs in over 30 schools across the nation, giving the quizzes and holding essay writing competitions and public speech and drama competitions, all to bring the message home that human rights can and must be made a fact in Uganda.
1,500 IN FLORENCE MARCH AGAINST PSYCHIATRIC ABUSE
[Image caption: 1,500 people, led by IAS Freedom Medal Winner Roberto Cestari, were on hand when psychiatrists arrived at the World Psychiatric Association conference in Florence, Italy.]
FLORENCE, ITALY: A demonstration 1,500 strong, led by IAS Freedom Medal Winner Roberto Cestari, greeted psychiatrists arriving at the World Psychiatric Association’s conference in Florence.
The marchers, carrying placards and banners and accompanied by an honorary police escort, were soon joined by residents of Florence. Many came out of their houses and offices to join forces with CCHR as the march went through the streets of Florence. Their destination was CCHR’s Traveling Exhibit stationed just across the street from the hall where the WPA conference was being held. More than 4,000 people toured CCHR’s Industry of Death Traveling Exhibit during its stay in Florence. Visitors included psychiatrists and psychologists in town for the conference, as well as many Florence residents. Psychiatrists were visibly shaken by the huge support CCHR received in the city.
Those touring the exhibit included a psychiatrist from Spain who had this to say: “I saw the exhibit and the information showing psychiatry as a pseudo-science which serves the pharmaceutical agencies. My conclusion is that it really is a pseudo-science and it is really dangerous.”
ANTI-DRUG MATERIALS IN USE AT TEXAS CRIME PREVENTION CONFERENCE
[Image caption: A Texas Police Officer uses the Truth About Drugs booklets and the Anti-Drug public service announcements to deter youth from taking drugs.]
TEXAS: In response to an IAS-sponsored Anti-Drug Campaign ad in The Police Chief, the monthly magazine issued by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a Texas Police Chief recommended his staff order the materials.
Upon receipt of the materials, the Community Service Officer of the department was so impressed that he set up a booth at their next Crime Prevention Association meeting and personally introduced the materials to attendees, distributing over 1,200 booklets. Forty percent of those in attendance ordered free information kits at his booth.
He is now arranging for his police department’s logo to be placed on a special edition of the booklets to use at the next and largest conference of the Texas Crime Prevention Association. In the interim, he ordered another 1,000 Truth About Drugs booklets to introduce other crime prevention departments to the campaign on a one-on-one basis. He is determined to get the materials into the hands of as many of his fellow officers as he can so they can use them for drug prevention throughout the state of Texas.
COSTA RICAN CYCLING FEDERATION SPONSORS DISTRIBUTION OF THE WAY TO HAPPINESS
[Image caption: Distributing The Way to Happiness in Costa Rica.]
COSTA RICA: The Costa Rican Cycling Federation teamed up with a local Way to Happiness Chapter to co-sponsor a Campaign for Values in the country. The project was kicked off at the annual international bicycle race of the prominent sports organization. Both the President of Costa Rica and the Vice Minister of Health and Sports attended the official opening ceremonies of the race, which included participating athletes from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Switzerland.
The theme of LRH’s common sense precepts from The Way to Happiness was reflected in every aspect of the event—on banners, T-shirts and posters. And to ensure the attendees took the message away with them, the Cycling Federation presented a copy of their own customized edition of The Way to Happiness booklet to all 5,000 athletes and guests at the opening.
In the old Soviet Union, psychiatrists built a secret network of asylums and corrective labor camps to which were sent some ten million citizens deemed to be undesirable and antisocialist. But that was a long time ago and certainly was not part of the new Russia. Or was it? What had become of the few dozen journalists “abusing” free speech or the few thousand malcontents misusing free expression and a half million orphans whose existence was considered completely devoid of value? Psychiatrists of the new Russian Federation were not rebuilding a human disposal system from an old Soviet blueprint—on the contrary, it was the same resident evil that had always been there.
That is what IAS Freedom Medal Winner for 2008, Yury Ershov set out to expose and legislate out of existence.
An assistant prosecutor from Kurgan Oblast and a professor at the Urals State Legal Academy, Yury found Scientology in 1996. He also found his calling when he entered the Ekaterinburg branch of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and examined a few case histories of psychiatric victims. His course was clear. As both a state prosecutor and one of the most highly trained lawyers in the Urals he would defend his nation’s constitution, while as a Scientologist, he would bring psychiatry under the law for the good of Russia and its
Thus Yury began to investigate and bring psychiatrists to justice. On the Rakevich case, he came face to face with the fact that once a person had been classified as mentally incompetent, under Russian law they had no legal recourse whatsoever. The law specifically prohibited patients from petitioning courts, accessing records or even seeking counsel. Yury took the Rakevich case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Deciding in Yury’s favor, the Court ruled that the law was patently illegal and unconstitutional.
It was immediate news across Russia with headlines proclaiming, “European Court pressured government to change laws in Russia”, “Protection of the rights of citizens” and “Government should protect the rights of patients.”
At that point, Yury decided that he would pursue the course of using the court system to eradicate psychiatric abuses and bring an end to psychiatry’s reign of terror. The Timchenko case concerned a 1978 law that prohibited inmates of psych-run institutions from possessing passports or controlling finances—even if the only reason the person was in one of these institutions was that he was an orphan! And even if he had found employment and was earning enough to rent his own flat. Yury took the case to the Russian Supreme Court and again was victorious, with the Court ordering that the offending laws be excised from the Federation Civil Code. Suddenly half a million outcast orphans were free to live beyond the grip of psychiatry.
With that, Yury determined that the time had come to handle the last derelict leg on which Russian psychiatry stood. He would change the whole psychiatric decision-making process and the laws defining how people were deemed insane. When he began work on the Lobashova case, he instinctively knew that it was the one he would use to accomplish his goal.
It concerned an attorney who had run afoul of a courtroom bailiff, and the psychs had labeled her insane, stripping her of any legal rights under Russian law.
It came to a head in Moscow’s Constitutional Court. As their decisions were permanent and carried immediate legal force, it was the place of last resort. This was where Yury came face to face with “basic-basic” of Russian psychiatry: That those judged insane would remain insane and without legal recourse until psychiatry judged otherwise. Yury wasn’t asking for a reevaluation of his client’s sanity however. He wanted the Court to reexamine the whole psychiatric system as originally authored by the KGB so that they could terminate, obliterate and silence. He was looking for a constitutional review of the whole psychiatric premise by which citizens were deemed incapable, incompetent and otherwise null and void.
When the Court ruled on the case it broke the very foundation of Russian psychiatry:
- Six full clauses prohibiting citizens from defending themselves when judged incompetent were stricken from Criminal Codes.
- An amendment made to stop psychs from condemning citizens in absentia.
- Another three federal statutes either voided or revised to stop psychiatric coercion in courtrooms, asylums and schools.
All combined, with twelve landmark cases and seven fundamental changes in laws, Yury Ershov put an end to an old Soviet system designed to degrade and dispose of unwanted citizens and thereby protected more than 17 million Russians from the political tyranny of Russia’s new psychiatry.
[Image captions: “As a public prosecutor I was encountering cases which showed psychiatrists at work and Soviet terror laws and tactics in direct contravention of the new Russian Constitution. It was something that I was unwilling to tolerate. I had to prove their crimes and bring them to justice.” Yury Ershov
IAS Freedom Medal Winner Yury Ershov changed the whole psychiatric decision-making process and the laws on which people were deemed insane in Russia. Twelve landmark cases and seven fundamental changes in Russian laws now protect more than 17 million citizens from the political tyranny of Russia’s new psychiatry.
Landmark decisions in Russia’s Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Russian Supreme Court broke the very foundation of Russian psychiatry.
IAS FREEDOM MEDAL
When I became a lawyer, I found and read the French Declaration of Independence; a promise of human freedom and dignity created at the time of that nation’s revolution. The document conveyed my purpose as a lawyer, yet I had no ready means to achieve that goal.
With CCHR I saw that something effective could be done. While much has been achieved, there is still much work to do. And doing that work will allow anyone to find out more about himself, to become bigger and see that help to others is possible. I also know that after the release of The Basics it will go faster and I am very glad because of this.]1
By way of a recap, the campaign was expressly, maybe even “diabolically,” engineered to ignite both government action and media blizzard. It’s also got an internal kicker: our Mental Health Budget Adjustment Kit, which essentially works like a “smart bomb” in that it “sniffs” out psych fuel lines and blows the funding mechanism. And in that way–to put it bluntly–we booby-trap the whole psychiatric ecosystem.
So, while only nine weeks have passed since global activation, here’s the preliminary action report: The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, CCHR Central, has a tracking board designed to measure collateral damage from our campaign roll-out. It monitors both incoming complaints of psych abuse and outgoing “psych alerts” to state and federal prosecutors.
And while it’s sometimes tricky to determine just whose “bomb” hit the ammo dump, this much is blazingly clear: while it takes a psych eight years to earn his license, we’ve already yanked 21 in the last four weeks.
Then there’s all our campaign represents as a high-pressure system for an anti-psych climate, of which the best barometer is the anti-psych media index. And while CCHR trackers describe the recent weeks as “highest ever,” the psychs themselves have a somewhat more descriptive name for it: “Apocalypse now!”
And here’s the satellite view: the first of four plagues to visit psychiatrists in the wake of our campaign was a veritable storm of British press–more than 800 column inches mushrooming up from our launch site in England. Then came the 2,600 newspaper, magazine and e-news articles like a cloud of locusts from elsewhere around the world, followed by a third swarm of news clips, documentaries and televised forums.
Then, just when psychs thought the seas had parted and they could safely enjoy this holiday season, it all rained down. Because what with CCHR-inspired hearings on the menace of new generation psych drugs, the age-old secrets of how psychs cut deals with the FDA have finally come to light.
And since the FDA can’t get “the toothpaste back in the tube,” they just agreed to smear new black box warnings all over the anti-depressant line-up. Which in turn fueled an anti-psych media fest like something out of Revelations and it looks like this: The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Associated Press and all over network news. Until, as of tonight… well, let me put it like this: At our IAS Anniversary celebration, I told you psychs were about to believe in the Divine Wrath of God. And, sure enough, they now know that wrath is swift and certain.
Because in just the last eight weeks came 37,824 column inches of anti-psych press to “mess them up but good”–and that’s our 2006 campaign for the Global Obliteration of Psychiatry.1
- CSI, 2007, Setting the Stage for 2007 Psychiatry: Global Obliteration. International Scientology News, 35, 6-19. ↩