Psychiatrist in the service of totalitarianism

Jozef Szaniawski

Brain washing, waffling, defining someone as insane, crank, psychopath, fanatic – al these things have happened. The totalitarian regimes in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union used these methods. And so did the communists in China, Korea, Cuba and East Germany. But the democratic countries have also gagged freedom of speech and closed the mouths of political enemies with the help of political correctness. The fundamental element of political correctness is to regard somebody as madman, psychopath, fanatic. Exactly so – if you lack logical arguments to engage in polemics with your enemy to contrast facts with facts when the truth is an eyesore, then you should call someone a madman. And then you can really shut his mouth, make unreliable before society and public opinion. You can dress such a ‘madman’ in a kind of media straitjacket, gag him in the media and do not let him speak, push to some niche and margin of social life. The one that has been defined as insane, a psychopath will be left sooner or later by his followers and even his closest friends, family and even beloved woman. I know about that from my own bitter experiences. It was in 1985 when I was in prison in Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw. Towards the end of one of the standard questionings some colonel of the Security Service made a proposal that I could not refuse: to plead guilty and then I would be in prison for ‘only a short time’ or they would make me insane and I would not leave the closed psychiatric hospital till the end of my life. Finally, in his indictment in the marshal law court the prosecutor demanded 15-year imprisonment.

Verdict against Jaroslaw Kaczynski

The District Court in Warsaw sentenced Jaroslaw Kaczynski to undergo an obligatory, under compulsion, psychiatric examination. I write ‘sentenced’ on purpose although formally it was not a verdict but only a decision dated 14 June 2011. But in fact, it is a judicial sentence against Kaczynski and obvious penal repression as in the system of totalitarian communism. The assumption was: either Kaczynski would undergo a compulsory psychiatric examination or would be brought up. In both cases he would be discredited as a citizen who does not respect the state of law and the media can make people believe that he is insane anyway, i.e. he is crazy. Thus they can effectively eliminate the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and currently the leader of the parliamentary opposition, anti-communist and independence activist. Additionally, the court did not define whether Kaczynski was to be placed in a psychiatric ward to be observed or whether it would be enough to examine him by a doctors’ commission. There are justified fears that the court wanted to isolate the former prime minister in hospital. The especially dangerous fact is that the court issued a ‘verdict’ against Jaroslaw Kaczynski in accordance with the abiding law although we do not live in the Polish People’s Republic but in the Third Polish Republic. That’s why this ‘verdict’ against Kaczynski is another proof of the degeneration of the state caused by the present ruling party. Here we have a court that peculates its own constitutional independence and plays a servile role towards its ‘customer from on high.’ The court harasses, persecutes and humiliates the outstanding statesman and leader of the opposition. The court, violating the elementary standards of civilised state – as if acting on political order, disavows the leader of the political competition at the threshold of parliamentary elections. This kind of court disgraces the Polish justice administration. At the same time the court commits wickedness to an exceptional measure. It sows doubts in public opinion that the person obliged to undergo psychiatric examination can be insane and it does irreparable harm to him. Thus in Poland another limit of foulness and political barbarity has been broken. Another step towards re-Sovietisation has been made. In the Soviet Union the authorities forced outstanding and non-submissive people to be under psychiatrists’ care. Is it accidental that such practices regain favour with the government of Donald Tusk in Poland and it happens when the obligatory reconciliation with the Russia of Vladimir Putin, who was a high-ranking KGB officer, was proclaimed?

Testimony of Vladimir Bukovsky

Vladimir Bukovsky (born in 1942), called the ‘conscience of the Russian democracy,’ is the man who 45 years ago informed the West about the truth of the ways the KGB used to make criminal medical experiments using psychiatrists to destroy the democratic and anti-communist opposition in Soviet Russia. The scientist, writer, humanist was sentenced for his activities against the Soviet regime to a total of 16 years of imprisonment in the gulags and 12 years in a closed asylum where he was tortured psychologically with the aim of changing his personality. The Soviet authorities recognised Bukovsky as crazy since only a madman, a mentally ill person, could fight against the communist regime and claim in public that it was a criminal and genocidal regime. In 1976, Bukovsky was exchanged for the KGB agent Luis Corvalán and since that he has lived in Great Britain and has been a professor at the famous Cambridge University. He has written many books, including books that reveal the truth about Soviet Russia, communism and the naivety of the West towards Russia. While still living in Russia Bukovsky wrote and published in secret the book for the democratic opposition ‘Manuel for Dissenters’ in which he described the criminal psychiatric methods used en masse by the KGB in the Soviet Union. It was Bukovsky that revealed the origin of the psychological crime. During the dictatorship of Lenin and Stalin CZEKA, GPU and NKWD murdered not less than 20 million people either by shooting them or sending them to the concentration camps-gulags. After 1956 the new Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev condemned the Stalinist repressions and announced that he would stop them. It was not true but they were really limited. How was the communist regime to fight against its enemies? They resorted to psychiatry. In 1959, Khrushchev said straight, ‘Can mental illnesses and disorders occur in some people in the communist society?’ And he agreed that they could, adding, ‘And therefore, there can be crimes characteristic of mentally ill people. Currently, in the USSR there are people who are fighting against communism but their psychological conditions are undoubtedly abnormal.’ In the Soviet reality this reasoning of Khrushchev was actually a real decision for the communist authorities to define their political opponents as madmen, fanatics and insane. Since after the decades of propaganda, total and daily ‘brain washing’, proving that communism was the most perfect system and that God did not exist, there were still people who had different opinions and they had to be foreign agents or insane. When it was inconvenient to bring them to court or imprison them they were made mentally ill, which became an element of the Soviet penal policy towards those who thought independently. And that policy proved to be extremely successful. It was the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow that played a special and sinister role. It was its workers that realised the commands of the KGB to write diagnosis that had nothing to do with the actual mental condition of people whom they presented as insane, defining their illness as ‘progressing schizophrenia’ that allowed to have total freedom in diagnosing, the more that one of the symptoms of this ‘illness’ was ‘dissidence.’ General Timofeyev, chief psychiatrist of the Soviet army, wrote, ‘Dissidence may be caused by a disease of the brain in which the pathological process develops very slowly and mildly (creeping schizophrenia) and its other symptoms sometimes remain unnoticeable until committing criminal deeds.’ The psychiatric hospitals, called ‘psychushkas,’ became terror of Soviet Russia during the last decades of its existence. According to the top secret reports of the head of KGB General Jurij Andropov it was estimated that in the whole territory of the Soviet Union there were ca. 70,000 ‘mentally dangerous’ people and over 1.2 million ‘required mental hospitalisation!’ On the basis of this report, on 22 January 1970, the Soviet Politburo in the Kremlin made a formal decision to create a psychiatric gulag, as Bukovsky called it.

Psychos, fanatics and fanaticism

During the government of Prime Minister Jan Olszewski (1991-92), both the Prime Minister and his followers were fought against with all ruthlessness by the environment headed by Lech Walesa, Jacek Kuron, Adam Michnik, Donald Tusk, Tadeusz Mazowiecki and all post-communist and ultra-leftist environments. It was then that the credibility of Prime Minister Olszewski, Jan Parys, Antoni Macierewicz, Radek Sikorski, Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski was undermined by calling them psychos and fanatics. That became part of the political language of the Third Polish Republic. These terms aiming at discrediting and mocking the patriotic, independence environments are still being used. A fanatic and a psycho mean a madman, mentally ill, abnormal that should be isolated from politics and preferably, from social life. These shameful terms are used with delight by the publicists of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ and the weekly ‘NIE’ headed by Urban. I have experienced that many times, the last time in June 2011 when the weekly ‘NIE’ published an article entitled ‘A crank at the Vistula.’ It was about me. ‘Crank’ is a mild form of psycho, insane, who dared to write the book ‘Imperium Zla – Rosja przeciw Polsce i Europie’ [The Empire of Evil – Russia Against Poland and Europe], which has a chapter about the Miracle at the Vistula 1920 and the Polish victory. And for that the book should be ridiculed and its author should be mocked as a crank, freak – a harmless madman but still a madman.

"Niedziela" 29/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: