10 September 1976*, 2066-A

KGB and Ministry of Health to Central Committee about Western “anti-Soviet propaganda” concerning the abuse of psychiatry for political purposes (18 pp).
[R 10 September 1976, 2066-A]

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[page one of eighteen]

State Security Committee [KGB]
at the USSR Soviet of Ministers
10 September 1976
No. 2066-A
Moscow

Secret

Concerning the Western-Inspired Anti-Soviet Campaign against the “Use of
Psychiatry in the USSR for Political Purposes”

An anti-Soviet campaign is gaining momentum in a number of Western countries, with blatant insinuations about the alleged use of psychiatry in the USSR as an instrument of political struggle against “dissidents.”

The ideological centres and secret services of the adversary are involving the mass media in this, using the platforms of scientific forums and inciting anti-Soviet “demonstrations” and “protests.” They are systematically offering the opportunity to the “living eyewitnesses” FAINBERG, PLYUSHCH, NEKRASOV, GORBANEVSKAYA, and several others, who are known in the West for their anti-Soviet activities, to make dirty fabrications about the living conditions and the detention of sick individuals in Soviet psychiatric hospitals.

The latest data attest that this campaign has the character of a scrupulously planned anti-Soviet action. The organizers of the defamatory statements are clearly seeking to prepare public opinion for the open condemnation of “psychiatric abuses in the USSR” at the forthcoming 6th World Congress of Psychiatry (Honolulu, USA) in August 1977, expecting to stir up a negative political response on the eve of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

At the present time, the initiators of the campaign are involving international and national organizations of psychiatrists, and individual reputable scholars. They are creating special “committees” to oversee the activities of psychiatrists in various countries, above all in the USSR.

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[page two]                                                                                                   2.

In January 1976, the so-called “Action Committee against the Abuse of Psychiatry for Political Purposes” was founded in Geneva, which included 56 Western scientists. The “Committee” is intent on organizing a discussion “on the abuses of psychiatry in the USSR” at the 6th World Congress of Psychiatry.

An active role in the growth of anti-Soviet sentiment is played by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Great Britain, which is under the influence of pro-Zionist elements. In May 1976, a resolution was passed at its congress to address a request to the participants of the 6th World Congress of Psychiatry to condemn “the systematic use of psychiatrists in the USSR for political purposes.” A working group has been formed to study “evidence of psychiatric abuses.”

In June 1976, the question of the “situation with Soviet psychiatry” was examined at the General Assembly of the Union of French Psychologists, where a resolution was passed “condemning the actions of psychiatrists in the USSR,” and a petition was formulated with demands “to put an end to the use of psychiatry for repressive purposes.”

Attempts are being undertaken to involve the World Health Organization (WHO) in the campaign. At present, work is underway in WHO to prepare a so-called “Draft of Legislation on Psychiatry.” Its elaboration and selection of participating countries are controlled by the American side.

The inspirers of this action are also putting pressure on the leadership of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA). The Executive Committee of the WPA is receiving “evidence of psychiatric abuses in the USSR,” fabricated in the West, and demands to issue accusations directed against Soviet psychiatrists. The English psychiatrists, D. Leigh [secretary general] and L. Rees [treasurer], members of the WPA’s Executive Committee [1], are being subjected to public harassment only because, on the initiative of Soviet psychiatrists, they were elected honorary members of the All-Union Society of Neuropathologists and Psychiatrists.

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[page three]                                                                                            3.

During the WPA symposium on ethics in psychiatry that took place in London in June 1976 several participants sought to introduce into the declaration a clause about “political dissidents,” which was supported by several Members of Parliament, most of the London newspapers, as well as the participants of an organized anti-Soviet rally. However, as a result of the active and principled position of Professor M. E. VARTANIAN, the Soviet representative and member of the WPA Executive Committee, this proposal was rejected.

The Committee of State Security, through its operational resources, is adopting measures to disrupt the hostile, Western-inspired attacks on Soviet psychiatry.

At the same time, we would consider it expedient to instruct the Ministry of Health of the USSR, through the Department of Science and Educational Institutions of the CC CPSU and the Propaganda Department of the CC CPSU, to implement appropriate official measures through the channels of international scientific exchanges during the period of preparing for the 6th World Congress of Psychiatry (1977), after having organized their propaganda support together with information agencies.

We request your consideration.

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF STATE SECURITY

(signature) ANDROPOV

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[page four]

MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF THE USSR
(Minzdrav SSSR)

Secret
No of copies: 1

101432 GSP-4, Moscow-51,
Rakhmanovsky Street
Telegraphic address:
Moscow, K-9, Soiuzminzdrav

22 October 1976, No. 2750

To the CPSU Central Committee

On Measures to Counteract the Anti-Soviet Campaign in the West regarding
the “Use of Psychiatry in the USSR for Political Purposes”

In keeping with the order to develop a plan to counteract the anti-Soviet campaign being conducted in the West regarding the “use of psychiatry in the USSR for political purposes,” the Ministry of Health of the USSR is carrying out the following measures:

With the goal of developing measures to counteract the above- mentioned campaign and comprehensively preparing for participation in the World Congress of Psychiatrists (Honolulu, August 1977), where the most active anti-Soviet protest actions are expected, the USSR Ministry of Health has formed an organizational group headed by Deputy Minister of Health of the USSR, D. D. Venediktov, with the participation of the well-known Soviet psychiatrists, Professors A. V. Snezhnevsky, G. V. Morozov, E. A. Babayan, M. E. Vartanyan, and others.

Measures have been adopted to collect information about the activities of all “committees” and “associations” founded in the West, particularly in Great Britain, France, the USA, and other countries, which are protesting against psychiatric “abuses” (statements in the press, radio, and television, in various letters, reports, press conferences, etc.), as well as about the fate of all the mentally ill “dissidents” who have left the USSR, about existing and draft legislation in foreign countries in relation to health and the legal rights of mentally ill individuals. Relevant inquiries are sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR to embassies and Soviet missions at international organizations, as well as to the State Committee for Radio and Television, TASS, and the Novosti Press Agency.

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[page five]                                                                                                 2.

Enhanced analysis of this information, as well as data that already exists at the Ministry of Health of the USSR on the organization of psychiatric assistance in many foreign countries and legislation in this sphere, is entrusted to the Institute of Psychiatry at the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, where a special group has been formed under the leadership of Comrade M. E. Vartanyan, as well as to the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry.

A group of Soviet academics (A. V. Snezhnevsky, R. A. Nadzharov, G. V. Morozov, M. E. Vartanyan et al) has begun to formulate well-reasoned documents exposing the mendacity and bankruptcy of the bourgeois propagandists, who seek to exploit the misfortune of sick people in the interests of political speculation, as well as to discredit the scientific foundations of psychiatry as such.

This work will be continued, and take into account supplementary information that will be obtained from abroad.

The forms of utilizing these documents (scientific articles, press conferences, statements in the press, radio, television, etc.) and the timeframe for implementing the measures will be determined, together with the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KGB at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and the mass media, in accordance with the evolving situation.

In addition, the Ministry of Health of the USSR is developing concrete action plans within inter-governmental and non-governmental international medical organizations:

— within the World Psychiatric Association: participation in regular meetings of the Executive Committee, the inclusion of a Soviet specialist in the Executive Committee in place of Comrade M. E. Vartanyan in connection with the end of his term in office, maintaining a correspondence with progressive members of the association’s Executive Committee, the early inclusion of reports by Soviet specialists into the agenda of the congress, the harmonization of positions with the delegations of socialist countries;

— within the World Health Organization: boosting Soviet specialists’ participation in all forthcoming academic conferences on questions relating to mental health and holding negotiations with the general director of the WHO, H[alfdan] Mahler, and his deputy, T. Lambo (a psychiatrist by profession), concerning the inadmissibility

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[page six]                                                                                                       3.

of involving the WHO in the anti-Soviet campaign in any way, as well as the dissemination through the WHO of truthful information about the organization of psychiatric assistance in the USSR; the preparation of crucial materials on the USSR’s position on the protection of human rights during medical-biological examinations, as well as according to the principles of medical ethics, the elaboration of which is entrusted to the WHO at the 19th General Assembly of the UN.

Work will be stepped up in order to reveal the progressive moods of important psychiatrists in the USA, England, France, and other capitalist countries, extending h invitations to them from the USSR to give lectures, participate in various types of scientific conference and symposium relating to questions of psychiatry and psychotropic agents; the sojourn of these specialists in the USSR will be used in continuing explanatory work to organize their appearances in [Soviet] mass media directed abroad; in agreement with Soviet embassies, proposals may be submitted in connection with the election of a number of foreign psychiatrists as honorary members of the All-Union Association of Neuropathologists and Psychiatrists.

At the same time, the dispatching of prominent Soviet psychiatrists abroad to take part in a variety of scientific conferences in 1976-1977 will be stepped up; at issue here [is the question] of using their stay abroad for the purposes of disseminating truthful information about Soviet psychiatry and carrying out explanatory work.

Taking into account that the hottest point of the anti-Soviet campaign is to be expected during the proceedings of the World Congress of Psychiatry, the Ministry of Health of the USSR considers it reasonable to dispatch a carefully prepared delegation or a specialized group of tourists, comprised of 10-15 leading Soviet specialists, to take part in the scientific program of the World Congress of Psychiatry and possibly , if the need arises, to present papers at the congress which will unmask the political, anti-scientific nature of the campaign being conducted in the West.

We suggest that the implementation of several supplementary measures (statements in the press, the dispatching of specialized tourist groups to some Western countries, etc.) be timed to coincide with the Congress.

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[page seven]                                                                                                    4.

The Ministry of Health will also continue, jointly with the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, to carry out regular inspections of special hospitals [2] where the enforced treatment of mentally ill individuals is taking place, so as to eliminate on site the uncovered shortcomings and submit proposals aimed at improving psychiatric assistance for this category of patient. We also suggest resolving the question of organizing possible tours of individual such hospitals and patients for foreign specialists, as well as the familiarization of a number of authoritative foreign scientists with genuine medical histories of “dissidents”, who are most often mentioned in the Western press.

The implementation of the above measures requires certain funds. The USSR Ministry of Health suggests that a request be sent to the Council of Ministers’ State Committee on Science and Technology and the USSR Ministry of Finances to allot funding in hard currency for dispatching of Soviet psychiatrists abroad; expenses in Soviet roubles can be charged to the general operating budget of the Ministry of Health.

DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH OF THE USSR

(signature) S. Burenkov

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[page eight]

Secret

To the CPSU Central Committee

On Measures to Counteract the Anti-Soviet Campaign regarding
the So-Called “Abuses” of Psychiatry in the USSR

The Committee of State Security at the Council of Ministers of the USSR (Comrade Andropov) has reported on the anti-Soviet campaign being conducted in a number of Western countries, at the heart of which lie malicious fabrications about the alleged use of psychiatry in the USSR for a political struggle against “dissidents,” and is submitting a proposal for the USSR Ministry of Health and mass-information agencies to adopt appropriate measures in order to unmask the fabrications of bourgeois propaganda about psychiatric “abuses” in the USSR.

In accordance with this order, the USSR Ministry of Health has developed and is implementing measures to counteract the above-mentioned anti-Soviet campaign. A group of well-known Soviet scientists is in the process of preparing documents that unmask the mendacity and groundless nature of the declarations of bourgeois propagandists, who are seeking to exploit the misfortune of sick people for political purposes and to discredit the scientific foundations of psychiatry. It is intended that these materials be used for scientific articles, press conferences, radio and television appearances, and for distribution abroad through the channels of TASS and the Novosti Press Agency. The timeframe and character of the propaganda measures will be specified in agreement with the KGB at the USSR Soviet Council of Ministers and the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Measures have been adopted to gather, generalize and analyse the hostile fabrications regarding psychiatric “abuses”, as well as the study of foreign legislation on the legal rights of mentally ill persons and their health protection.

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[page nine]                                                                                                  2.

It has been arranged that the indicated materials will sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the USSR State Committee for Radio and Television, TASS, and the Novosti Press Agency at the requests of the USSR Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health is working to identify progressive-minded, major psychiatrists in the USA, England, France, and other capitalist countries and to invite them to the USSR to take part in scientific conferences and symposia, to familiarize them with the achievements of psychiatric help in our country. It is intended to use their positive statements in propaganda work abroad.

Within the framework of scientific cooperation and through the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies there are plans to dispatch prominent national psychiatrists to Western countries with the goal of disseminating truthful information among the public and specialists about the organization of psychiatric assistance in the USSR and the superiority of the Soviet health system.

The Ministry of Health and the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs have organized inspections of special hospitals where the enforced treatment of individuals with mental illnesses is taking place, with the goal of improving the medical assistance provided to this category of patient. It is suggested that, if necessary, certain such hospitals could be shown to foreign specialists.

Active preparation has begun for participation in the World Congress of Psychiatry (Honolulu, August 1977), taking into account possible anti-Soviet protests there. For these purposes, a preparatory group comprised of well-known Soviet psychiatrists headed by Comrade Venediktov, Deputy Minister of Health, has been set up.

The USSR Ministry of Health intends to send a delegation of 10-15 leading Soviet specialists to take part in the work of the Congress and in

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[page ten]                                                                                                         3.

public appearances in order to unmask the speculative, anti-scientific nature of the campaign being conducted in several capitalist countries.

Together with the indicated measures, concrete plans have been stipulated for actions in inter-governmental and non-governmental international medical organizations within the framework of scientific cooperation.

Because the dispatching of Soviet psychiatrists on assignment abroad requires supplementary expenses, the USSR Ministry of Health has sent a request to the State Committee on Science and Technology at the USSR Council of Ministers about the assignation of appropriate funds for this purpose.

This matter has been agreed with the USSR State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting (Comrade Lapin), TASS (Comrade Zamyatin), and the Novosti Press Agency (Comrade Tolkunov).

The CPSU Central Committee Department of Science and Educational Institutions and the Propaganda Department consider it possible to agree to the measures developed by the USSR Ministry of Health with respect to this matter. Departments of the CPSU Central Committee are overseeing their implementation.

Head of the Central Committee Department
of Science and Educational Institutions

(signature)                                  (S. Trapeznikov)

Deputy Head
of the Central Committee Propaganda Department

(signature)                                  (M. Nenashev)

9 December 1976
320-A/7

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[page eleven contains a counter-signature from Trapeznikov’s department]

[page twelve]

To the CPSU Central Committee

On the last day of his stay in the USSR, a member of the Portuguese parliamentary delegation that I was assigned to accompany, A. Fernandez da Fonseca who is a prominent specialist in the field of neuropathology and psychiatry, and a deputy of the Socialist Party, told me the following in confidence:

According to information available to him, American anti-Soviet figures are preparing to use the upcoming World Congress of Psychiatry in 1977 in Honolulu to organize a fierce anti-Soviet campaign regarding the dissemination in the West of libellous statements about the fact that in our country “dissidents” are allegedly incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals.

“Such manoeuvres,” said A. Fernandez da Fonseca, “were already undertaken at the previous World Congress of Psychiatry in Mexico in 1971, but a much broader action is now being prepared. In view of this, it would be important for Soviet specialists who will be taking part in the congress to be armed with convincing scientific documentation that would counter the mendacious claims of the enemies of the USSR. In my view, it would also be important for Soviet specialists right now to arm progressive, leading foreign psychiatrists with relevant scientific information, who, together with Soviet psychiatrists, could deter the libellers.”

In this connection, A. Fernandez da Fonseca requested that he be sent the appropriate information in preparation for his speech at the congress. According to him,

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[page thirteen]                                                                                          2.

these details would be used to familiarize the leading psychiatrists of other countries whose population speaks Portuguese.

“A meeting of the association of psychiatrists of Portugal, Brazil, and five African countries whose people speak Portuguese is planned for May,” he said. “We will have an opportunity to meet with my distinguished colleagues and convince them of the illegitimacy of the accusations being put forward by American representatives.”

Fernandez da Fonseca emphasized that what is needed right now is not general declarations of a political nature that confirm the absurdity of the American accusations, but concrete scientific material—diagnoses and reports on the treatment of such people as Plyushch, Bukovsky, and others, who are being passed off as “innocent victims.” I think that A. Fernandez da Fonseca’s request merits attention.

(signature)

Yu. Zhukov
Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

 

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[page fourteen]

To the CPSU Central Committee

We are forwarding a note written by the deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, G. A. Zhukov, who worked with the Portuguese parliamentary delegation that was in the USSR from 3 to 10 November of this year.

The note contains information that was passed confidentially to Comrade G. A. Zhukov from A. Fernandez de Fonseca (member of the delegation, deputy from the Socialist Party).

Chairman of the Council of Nationalities
of the USSR Supreme Soviet

(signature) P. RUBEN

23 November 1976
No. 460

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[page fifteen]

To the USSR Supreme Soviet

To Comrade A. P. SHCHITIKOV

On the last day of his stay in the USSR A. Fernandez da Fonseca, a member of the Portuguese parliamentary delegation that I was assigned to accompany, a prominent specialist in the field of neuropathology and psychiatry, and delegate of the Socialist Party, told me the following in confidence:

According to data available to him, American anti-Soviet figures are preparing to use the upcoming World Congress of Psychiatry in 1977 in Honolulu to organize a fierce anti-Soviet campaign regarding the dissemination in the West of libellous judgments about the fact that in our country “dissidents” are allegedly incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals.

“Such manoeuvres,” said A. Fernandez da Fonseca,” were already employed at the previous World Congress of Psychiatry in Mexico in 1971, but a much larger action is now being prepared. In this connection, it would be important for Soviet specialists who will be taking part in the congress to be armed with convincing scientific documentation that would counter the mendacious claims of the enemies of the USSR. In my view, it would also be important for Soviet specialists right now to arm progressive, leading foreign psychiatrists with appropriate scientific information, who could rebuff the libellers together with the Soviet psychiatrists.”

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[page sixteen]

In this connection, A. Fernandez da Fonseca requested that he be sent the appropriate information in preparation for his speech at the congress. According to him, these data would be used to familiarize leading psychiatrists of other countries whose population speaks Portuguese.

He said, “In May a meeting is planned for the association of psychiatrists of Portugal, Brazil, and five African countries whose people speak Portuguese. We will have an opportunity to meet with my distinguished colleagues and convince them of the illegitimacy of the accusations being put forward by American representatives.”

Fernandez da Fonseca emphasized that what is needed right now is not general declarations of a political nature that confirm the absurdity of the American accusations, but concrete scientific material—diagnoses and reports on the treatment of such people as Plyushch, Bukovsky, and others, who are being passed off as “innocent victims.” I think that A. Fernandez da Fonseca’s request merits attention.

(signature) Yu. Zhukov

Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

16 November 1976

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[page seventeen]

Secret
Copy no. 1

MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF THE USSR
(MINZDRAV SSSR)

101431, GSP-4, Moscow K-51,
Rakhmanovsky Street, 3
Telegraph address: Moscow K-9, Soyuzminzdrav

13 December 1976 No. 3193
Reply to No. 53530 of 6 December 1976

In keeping with the plan of measures to counteract the anti-Soviet campaign being conducted in the West in connection with the “use of psychiatry in the USSR for political purposes,” outlined in the attached letter (No. 2750, 22 October 1976), at the present time the USSR Ministry of Health is in the process of collecting and analysing information concerning this campaign, establishing contact with progressive psychiatrists abroad who are critical of it, and preparing materials that objectively elucidate the questions of psychiatric assistance in the Soviet Union, for their further dissemination among the Western public and psychiatrists-specialists.

In this connection, the Ministry of Health is positively disposed toward the suggestion of the Portuguese psychiatrist, A. Fernandez da Fonseca, and will use his resources for the dissemination of information that is necessary for us.

ATTACHMENTS: 2 letters/ Ref No. 150-CC/

USSR MINISTER OF HEALTH
(signature)        V. PETROVSKY

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[page eighteen]

28 December 1976

To the CPSU Central Committee

Concerning the Note of Comrade G. A. Zhukov,
Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

Comrade G. A. Zhukov, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, reports that in November 1976, A. Fernandez da Fonseca, a member of the Portuguese parliamentary delegation and leading specialist in the field of neuropathology and psychiatry, provided information on the anti-Soviet campaign being conducted in the West, which is based on malicious fabrications about the alleged use of psychiatry in the USSR in the political struggle against “dissidents.” In connection with this, A. Fernandez da Fonseca requested that he be supplied with indispensable information to prepare for his speech at the World Congress of Psychiatry (Honolulu, August 1977) with the goal of unmasking the mendacity and unsubstantiated nature of these libellous statements.

According to the Ministry of Health of the USSR (Comrade Petrovsky), in keeping with the plan of measures to counteract the anti-Soviet campaign being conducted in the West in connection with the “use of psychiatry in the USSR for political purposes” the collection and analysis of information pertaining to this campaign is being undertaken at the present time, contacts are being established with progressive foreign psychiatrists, [and] materials that objectively elucidate questions of psychiatric assistance in the Soviet Union are being prepared for their future dissemination abroad.

The USSR Ministry of Health is positively disposed toward the suggestion of A. Fernandez da Fonseca and is continuing to use his resources for disseminating truthful information among the public and specialists about the organization of psychiatric assistance in our country.

Deputy Head of the Central Committee Department
of Science and Educational Institutions

(signature)                                         (S. Shcherbakov)

28 December 1976

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NOTES
[1] For Dr David Leigh and Professor Linford Rees, see Bloch and Reddaway, Russia’s Political Hospitals, pp.298-299.
[2] Many of the Soviet special hospitals were created in pre-existing prisons and came under the direct control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. For an account of one such institution, see Vladimir Gershuni, “Notes from the Oryol SPH”, Chronicle of Current Events, No 19 (30 April 1971)
General
1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted
in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.
Translation, Marta Olynyk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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