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Last updated 07.18.99
Open letter to General Assembly of the World Psychiatric Association

To: General Assembly of the World Psychiatric Association
OPEN LETTER OF THE IDEPENDENT PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION OF RUSSIA

Taking all the responsibility for the action involved in this statement, we consider it indispensable to draw the attention of the WPA General Assembly to the recurrent use of psychiatry for non-medical purposes, which has been renewing in Russia since 1994-1995 and has been going on a large scale up to now without slackening. This time - for suppressing not persons of a different trend of thought, but of different religious beliefs.

On August 21, 1996 the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior distributed the letter of instructions to “heads of health protection bodies of the RF subjects and to rectors of medical and pharmaceutic establishments of higher school of the RF”. The regions were instructed to send data on “inflicting harm on mental health of people” by activities of new religious organizations. As a result, enlisting the services of psychiatrists for evaluation of video- and press-materials and guided by their private opinions, not corroborated by scientific and/or expert evidence, the offices of the Public Prosecutor have initiated for the last three years scores of suits against various religious organizations supposedly for inflicting gross harm on mental health and for unhealthy changes of personality with the aid of covert hypnotic influence (zombiing, coding and programming). These cases are being deliberately delayed for a long time and everything that is going on has characteristic features of internal political campaign and its center as in 1960-1980, is the Serbski State Center of Social and Forensic Psychiatry. The Appeal of the Permanent Chamber for Human Rights at the RF President of December 27, 1996 to the Health minister T.Dmitrieva (the Director of the Serbski State Center) with request to recall the above mentioned letter of the Ministry of Health was ignored. Several appeals of the IPA to the WPA have not been supported either.

Numerous appeals and materials, which has been coming to the IPA of Russia, the results of participation in trials against the Unity Church (ST-Petersburg), the International Federation of Families (Ekaterinburg), Jehova’s Witnesses (Moscow), Church of “Last Generation” (Yaroslavl), “Word of Life” Church (Magadan) and so on, ignoring our statements, attempts of coercion and passive attitude of state psychiatry in this connection compel us to request the General Assembly of the WPA to adopt the following Appeal.

The World Psychiatric Association expresses its concern in connection with numerous suits against various religious organizations in Russia for supposedly “inflicting by them gross harm on mental health and for unhealthy changes of personality”.

The World Psychiatric Association expresses its solidarity with the attitude of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia and Russian Society of Psychiatrists in regard to inadmissibility of involving psychiatrists in solving inter-confessional and political problems and conflicts outside their professional competence.

On behalf of the IPA Council -Yuri Savenko, M.D.
President, Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia

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