The Abuse of Psychiatry (1970-1989)

The abuse of psychiatry for political purposes was widespread in the Soviet Union. When the release of political prisoners began in 1987 it became apparent that one third of their number were detained, often indefinitely, in psychiatric prison hospitals.

All ten documents in this archive concerning this practice may be found in the thematic section of the contents index —  They include the key 1970 report by Andropov to his fellow Politburo members, urging the wider use of psychiatric treatment.

Not all the documents have been translated into English, in part or in full.

To see what is available in English, click on item “3.6 The Abuse of Psychiatry” in the Translations index at the bottom of this page’s right-hand column — (The same principle can be used to locate other topics, in Russian and English, in this wide-ranging archive, e.g. dissent from the 1960s onwards, or Soviet subversion and aggression in Latin America.)


As a valuable supplement and an illustration of what these official documents meant for their victims, no less than 90 uncensored contemporary reports about dissidents imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals, including Bukovsky himself, can be found in the Chronicle of Current Events (1968-1982) and a further 96 reports, in Russian, in USSR News Update (1978-1987).