The Psychiatric Diagnosis of Moroz: May 1976 (40.7)

On 1 June 1976, Valentyn MOROZ should have been transferred to a labour camp after six years in Vladimir Prison (CCE 17.2). Since March that year Raisa Moroz had received no letters from her husband.

In answer to many inquiries the prison governor informed her that V. Moroz had been sent to “a medical institution” to determine the type of physical work he was fit to do in the camp. Attempts to find out from the prison administration what kind of “medical institution” met with no success.

Raisa Moroz then travelled to Moscow and made inquiries at the Main Administration for Corrective Labour Institutions and at the medical department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Even here she did not obtain an answer immediately. Asked if this “medical institution” was connected with psychiatry, a (female) official named Kalinchets from the medical department responsible for the Vladimir Region, refused to answer. If it was a psychiatric hospital, Raisa Moroz told Kalinchets on 17 May, she would not keep quiet, as she was convinced of her husband’s sanity: “You’ll have another Plyushch on your hands.”

Valentyn Moroz, 1936-2019

The next day Raisa Moroz was received by V.N. Popov, deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ medical department. There were five other people in his office. Her husband  was at the Serbsky Institute for “a physical examination”, said Popov. There, it turned out, Valentyn Moroz had arrived on 10 May for a psychiatric diagnosis: it had been observed lately that he was in “a depressed mood”. The examination would continue for about a month. Raisa Moroz was told this by her husband’s doctor, Margarita Feliksovna (her surname is a secret [note 1]). The doctor also informed her that Moroz was calm, polite and friendly, and on good terms with his neighbours.

On 19 May 1976, Valentyn Moroz was allowed an hour’s visit from his wife, and he told her that V.L. Rogov, a psychiatrist with the Vladimir Region health department, had noted two symptoms in his referral: (1) Moroz had practised self-mutilation; (2) he was excessively religious. (Rogov also gave religious faith as a symptom of illness when he referred Igor Ogurtsov [CCE 1.6] for psychiatric diagnosis: the latter was later declared healthy by experts.)

Raisa told her husband that she would get him out of this psychiatric hospital, even if it killed her. Grateful for her determination, Moroz said only that it might not lie within her power to do so. “I am not alone,” she replied, “everyone has already heard that you’re here.”

The Chronicle would like to remind its readers of the following.

Valentyn Yakovlevich MOROZ (b. 1936), a Ukrainian historian and journalist, was first arrested during the August 1965 campaign of repression against intellectuals in the Ukraine; Ivan Svetlichny, the Goryn [Horyn, Ukr.] brothers, Mihail Osadchy, Ivan Gel [Hel, Ukr.] and others were also then arrested for the first time. Moroz was sentenced to 4 years in a camp and was sent to Mordovia. There he wrote his now well-known “Report from the Beria Reserve” [note 2].

On 1 June 1970, nine months after his release, Valentyn Moroz was arrested once again, because of this piece and three other articles circulated in samizdat. He was sentenced to 9 years loss of liberty: 6 years in prison followed by 3 years in a camp and 5 years’ exile (CCE 17.2).

In August 1972 a convicted criminal, who had been put in the same cell, slashed Moroz’s stomach with a sharpened spoon handle. It is this incident that Rogov now calls self-mutilation, although at the time the prison governor confirmed in writing that it had been an attack.

After this Moroz was placed in a solitary cell “at his own request”, where he went on a 145-day hunger-strike in 1974 (CCE 32.12, CCE 33.7).

The threat of psychiatric repression against V. Moroz, suggested by V.L. Rogov, was reported in CCE 36.6.


Recently, the United States Congress announced that Valentyn Moroz was on a list of persons in whose fate the Congress was taking a special interest.



[1] The doctor’s full name was Margarita Felixovna Taltse. She had worked at the Institute since the 1940s and was deputy to D.R. Lunts (head of the Serbsky Institute’s Section 4). Also see Bloch and Reddaway, Russia’s Political Hospitals, 1977.

[2] The text of “Report from the Beria Reservation” was translated and published in full in Michael Browne (ed.), Ferment in the Ukraine, Macmillan, 1971.