Extrajudicial detention, Soviet Union, psychiatric

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For more information, see: Extrajudicial detention, Soviet Union.

Soviet criminal psychiatry provided a means of extrajudicial detention. Its origin traces to Andrei Snezhnevsky, who, starting in 1962, headed the Institute of Psychiatry of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow. "His key diagnosis was called "creeping" or "sluggish" schizophrenia, which is said to show itself early in difficulties with parents and authority figures, and with stubborn "reformist tendencies." [1]

In other cases, the treatment was more illusionary and simply used psychiatric drugs[2] to induce confusion and inability to act. Others, not necessarily acting directly on higher brain centers, caused physical discomfort used as a disciplinary technique within the psychiatric facility, as a disincentive to inform "others about his fate".[3] or electroconvulsive therapy as a means of torture for suppressing dissent.


  1. "The Children of Pavlov", Time, June 23, 1980
  2. Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs & Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, September 20, 1983, pp. 74-77
  3. Harvey Fireside, Soviet Psychoprisons, W. W. Norton and Company, 1982)p. 176, quoted in Rejali 2007, p. 476