In the Psychiatric Hospitals, October 1972 (27.6)

<<No 27 : 15 October 1972>>

In accordance with instructions from Moscow, political prisoners in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital [SPH] are being transferred to other establishments of the same type in towns where they have no relatives, thus restricting the opportunities for meetings and handing in parcels.


Those transferred to the Dnepropetrovsk SPH are biochemist A. F. Chinnov (CCE 26.5) and Zabolotny, a labourer. Writer B. Yevdokimov (CCE 26.2) and engineer Purtov (CCEs 23, 24 and CCE 26.2) have been transferred to the Sychovka SPH [Smolensk Region]. Also transferred are political prisoners N. I. Baranov (CCE 18.1, item 4), A. V. Kochkin, N. P. Galashov, A. V. Dzibalov (CCE 26.2), S. M. Stroganov and Panteleyev. The Chronicle has no precise information as to where they have been sent.

The following political prisoners have been threatened with a transfer to Chernyakhovsk [Kaliningrad Region], Oryol and other Special Psychiatric Hospitals:

  • [Anatoly] Chernyshov (CCE 18.1, item 3),
  • [Anatoly] Ponomaryov (CCE 23 and CCE 26.5),
  • Panov, Zharov and Fedotov.

Borisov and Fainberg

It was reported in CCE 25.10 (item 6) and CCE 26.5 that a diagnostic commission in the Serbsky Institute had found V. Borisov of sound mind and announced a decision on the permissibility of V. Fainberg’s transfer from a special hospital to a hospital of ordinary type.

Victor Fainberg, b. 1931

On the basis of the commission’s decision the Leningrad SPH petitioned the court to examine Borisov’s case. A judicial hearing was arranged for 10 July but the court, at the request of the Procurator, refused to hear the case. Its reason: that according to the relevant instruction “The re-examination of mentally sick persons undergoing compulsory treatment is carried out by the Central Forensic-Psychiatric Diagnostic Commission”.

The Serbsky Institute is not the Central Commission. However,

  • 1. it is the highest psychiatric-diagnostic authority in the country;
  • 2. the Central Commission is made up mainly of staff from the Serbsky Institute; and,
  • 3. there have been similar cases when a court has not only re-examined a case but made a favourable decision on the basis of findings by a diagnostic commission from the Serbsky Institute.


Fainberg’s case was sent to the court from the Leningrad SPH on 7 July. But as far as is known it did not come up for judicial consideration. The Central Forensic-Psychiatric Diagnostic Commission has not yet re-examined Borisov or Fainberg in 1972,[1] since they were in the Serbsky Institute in Moscow when the Commission was in session in Leningrad.

From 29 to 31 July 1972, Fainberg declared a hunger strike in protest at the prescription of Aminazin injections for the prisoner Purtov, for whom such injections were therapeutically contra-indicated. Fainberg had already taken part in several previous hunger strikes, including one of over 70 days in 1971 (see CCE 19.3 and CCE 22.8, item 14). Towards the end of this summer Fainberg’s health sharply deteriorated and his Basedow’s disease [exophthalmic goitre] became acute. On 28 September, Fainberg declared another hunger strike in protest at the transfer of political prisoners from Leningrad SPH to similar hospitals in other towns. At the same time Fainberg appealed to UN Secretary-General K. Waldheim,[2] in a letter, defending “persons declared mad as a result of their political convictions and subjected to what are in practice indefinite terms of imprisonment in special prison psychiatric hospitals”.

The letter describes various methods of pressurizing these prisoners, the situation in the Leningrad SPH, the transportations now under way and the situation in provincial hospitals, where “conditions are far worse than they are here” (i.e., in the Leningrad Hospital).

“There arbitrary treatment knows no bounds. Mentally ill people and political prisoners are incessantly beaten; inmates are forced to go about wearing nothing but their underclothes; and in some hospitals no books at all are given out. Moreover. they ‘treat’ everybody there, treat them energetically  – with Aminazin, electric shocks and Insulin , . . Our comrades taken away to Dnepropetrovsk are being held in dreadful conditions. Some of them are in danger of losing their life. The writer Yevdokimov, for example, suffers from asthma, heart murmurs and high blood-pressure; his organism may be unable to withstand ‘energetic treatment’.”

Two other patients

Oleg Georgievich SOLOVYOV, a chemical engineer (age 35 or 36), was arrested in March 1969 and charged under Article 190-1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Dissemination of fabrications known to be false, which defame the Soviet political and social system”). He admitted to being the author of the manuscripts that formed the charges against him.

A forensic-psychiatric commission in Stavropol [North Caucasus] found Solovyov of unsound mind and he was sentenced to compulsory treatment in a SPH. In November 1970 he was sent to Chernyakhovsk – until then he had been held in a psychiatric hospital in Stavropol–and in January 1971 he was moved to Oryol. In July 1972 he was transferred back to the Stavropol hospital, from which he was released on 15 August.


Stanislav Ivanovich TYSTSEVICH, an economist born in 1924, was arrested in April 1967 and charged under Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code (“anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”).  He was accused of having written anonymous letters of political content which were sent to various addresses. Tystsevich denied any connection with these letters.

A diagnostic commission at the Serbsky Institute, which included D. Lunts, pronounced him of unsound mind. Tystsevich was sent for compulsory treatment to the Kazan SPH; in September 1967 he was transferred to Chernyakhovsk, and in January 1971 from there to Oryol, together with Oleg Solovyov. In September 1971 on the basis of a court ruling he was moved to a hospital of ordinary type in Moscow. In March 1972, a diagnostic commission reached the conclusion that Tystsevich needed no further treatment and in June the Moscow City Court released him.

Staff at the Leningrad SPH

The Chronicle has some information about the staff at the Leningrad SPH.[3]

Prokofy Vasilyevich Blinov — head of the hospital since 1956, an MVD Colonel. Honoured Physician of the RSFSR; formerly doctor to a partisan unit. At 9 Arsenalnaya Street [the prison’s address] since 1952. Blinov reduced the two-hour exercise period to one hour, and permitted patients to be strapped into their beds.

Leopold Nikolayevich Zemskov — head doctor [see CCEs 19], MVD Major. Master of Medical Sciences (thesis supervisor D. R. Lunts); at Leningrad SPH since 1954. Zemskov prescribes injections and psychotropic drugs regardless of the patient’s general physical condition (for example, he prescribed Aminazin injections for prisoner Purtov despite the objections of the therapeutist).

Tamara Anatolyevna Klychkova — head of 1st section, MVD First Lieutenant. Master of Medical Sciences; at Leningrad SPH since 1963.

Veronica Mikhailovna Telyakovskaya — head of 2nd section, MVD First Lieutenant. At Leningrad SPH since 1962.

Yekaterina Ivanovna Kuznetsova — head of 3rd section, MVD Major, Master of Medical Sciences; At Leningrad SPH since 1958.

Maria Nikolayevna Fyodorova — head of 4th section, MVD Major; at Leningrad SPH since 1952.

Lev Anatolyevich Petrov — head of 5th section, MVD Captain. At Leningrad SPH since 1954. Petrov is known for the part he has himself played in beating up patients.

Faina Viktorovna Ryabova — head of 9th section, MVD Captain. Master of Medical Sciences; at Leningrad SPH since 1956.

Oleg Mikhailovich Sovetov — head of 7th section, MVD First Lieutenant. At Leningrad SPH since 1969.

Rimma Ivanovna Sharova — head of 8th section, MVD First Lieutenant. At Leningrad SPH since 1955.

Margarita Dmitrievna Vavilova — head of 10th section (no rank in the MVD). Master of Medical Sciences; at Leningrad SPH since 1959.

Yevdokia Ivanovna Ozhimkova — head of 11th (therapeutic) section, MVD Major. At Leningrad SPH since 1952.



“This subject continues to provoke concern and controversy outside the USSR,” commented the Amnesty editors in March 1973. The previous August “the Soviet Minister of Health, Dr. B. V. Petrovsky, gave a press-conference in Washington, D.C., at the end of a 10-day official visit to US medical institutions. American doctors asked him pointed questions, but he side-stepped them.” (See Commentary CCE 26.)


This report demonstrates the difficulty the Chronicle‘s informants and editors faced in securing full and accurate information, and explains the perseverance with which the periodical admitted and corrected its mistakes (see CCE 11.7 entry about “Novotvorskaya”). Of those mentioned above, a first report about Dzibalov referred to him as “Vyacheslav” and the author of a famous appeal was named “Vasily” (18.1) but later called “Anatoly”.



[1] The commission finally gathered in early December. It recommended Fainberg’s transfer to an ordinary mental hospital, but that Borisov remain in the SPH as “there was no guarantee that he would not go back to his former activities”.

[2] “The full text of Fainberg’s long letter to Waldheim has just reached the West, but not yet been published,” (March 1973).

[3] Extensive documentation on the Leningrad SPH and its staff appeared not only in earlier issues of the Chronicle, e.g. CCE 18.1, but also in the December 1972 report of the US Senate which contained “translations of Fainberg’s 1970 appeal, Borisov’s letters of 1969-1971 and V. Chernyshov’s 1971 declaration” (see also CCE 19.2).


Whatever other training they might have had, all but one of the men and women listed above as staff at the Leningrad SPH were ranking officers in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the MVD.