Sakharov's Telegram



MINISTRY OF HEALTH                                                           
Secret OF THE USSR                                                              
Copy no. 1 March 16, 1971
No.704c
Moscow

      CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE
SOVIET UNION

Not for publication

       I am sending for your familiarization the text of a telegram
from Academician Sakharov that was received in the Ministry of
Health of the USSR.

       Enclosure:  The aforementioned text.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH
OF THE USSR

                                                 B. Petrovskii                                                                                      
COPY        
       MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION OF THE USSR

  TELEGRAM                                  MOSCOW 3502 71 15 1151

NOTIFICATION BY TELEGRAM
MOSCOW I-51 RAKHMANOV LANE 3
MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF THE USSR
TO THE MINISTER,
ACADEMICIAN B.V. PETROVSKII

DEAR BORIS VASIL'EVICH:
FAINBERG AND BORISOV, POLITICAL PRISONERS IN THE
LENINGRAD PSYCHIATRIC PRISON, HAVE ANNOUNCED A
HUNGER STRIKE AGAINST  COMPULSORY THERAPEUTIC
TREATMENT WITH MEDICATIONS INJURIOUS TO MENTAL
ACTIVITY.  I AM ENDORSING THEIR DEMANDS.  I ASK YOU
URGENTLY TO INTERVENE TO PRESERVE THE HEALTH [AND]
DIGNITY OF PRISONERS IN THE PSYCHIATRIC PRISON.  
PROMOTE THE REMOVAL OF EVEN THE POSSIBILITY OF
VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND MEDICAL ETHICS IN THE
RUNNING OF PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTIONS AND THE
CORRECTION OF OVERLOOKED VIOLATIONS-
ACADEMICIAN SAKHAROV-


                               True copy: [signed] Krutova [?] MINISTRY OF HEALTH OF THE USSR
March 25, 1971
No. 828 c
Moscow

             TO THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND 
                                 EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

      CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE
SOVIET UNION

                                  Comrade S.P. Trapeznikov

       In connection with the telegram to me from Academician
Sakharov, in which he requests the adoption of measures against
the alleged "compulsory therapeutic treatment with medications
injurious to mental activity" of "political prisoners" Fainberg and
Borisov in the "Leningrad Psychiatric Prison," the chief specialist for
neuropsychiatry of the Ministry of Health of the USSR, candidate of
medical science Z.N. Serebriakova, and the Deputy Director of the
Scientific Department of the Institute for Psychiatry of the Academy
of Medical Sciences of the USSR, Prof. R.A. Nadzharov, were sent
to Leningrad.

       An investigation has established that the patients F.I. Fainberg
and V. E. Borisov were sent for compulsory therapeutic treatment
to the special psychiatric hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
of the USSR by court order in compliance with existing legislation
after they were found by forensic-psychiatric experts to be suffering
from mental illness and mentally incompetent.

       In the patient V.I. Fainberg, are noted personality changes and
persistent quasi-psychopathic disorders (paranoid development of
the social reforming type), carried over from a schizophrenic
condition in his youth, for which he has repeatedly been
hospitalized in psychiatric clinics in Kharkov, Moscow, and
Leningrad.

       In the patient V.E. Borisov, are also noted persistent, quasi-
psychopathic personality changes (infantilism, paranoia) against a
background of residual, organic neurological symptoms.  He has
repeatedly undergone compulsory therapeutic treatment in the
special psychiatric hospital in Leningrad in connection with anti-
social behavior.
       
       An earlier transfer of the patient for treatment at a standard
psychiatric hospital led to negative results.

       The patient was returned to the special psychiatric hospital
after an attempt to kidnap him by persons unknown who attacked 
the [hospital] personnel.

[ ... ] 

       Taking into account the origin of the situationally conditioned
psychogenic reaction of the patients with refusal to eat and the
limited possibilities for medical treatment, a change in the
conditions of their custody in the given hospital was declared
advisable, having in mind more active psychotherapeutic and
readapting measures, but also the exclusion of undesirable
influences from the outside that would lead to the reinforcement of
their paranoid precepts.

                                           [ ... ]

MINISTER OF HEALTH OF THE USSR                                      
[signed] B. PETROVSKIICENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE
SOVIET UNION

                                        To No. 12065

        In a telegram addressed to the Minister of Health of the
USSR, Comrade Petrovskii, Academician Sakharov reports that
"political prisoners Fainberg and Borisov of the Leningrad
Psychiatric Prison have announced a hunger strike against
compulsory treatment with medications injurious to mental activity"
and asks that measures be taken to correct overlooked violations.

       The facts indicated in the telegram were investigated by the
Ministry of Health of the USSR.  It has been determined that the
patients V.I. Fainberg and V.E. Borisov were sent for compulsory 
therapeutic treatment to the special psychiatric hospital of the
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR [MIA SSSR] in compliance
with existing legislation after forensic-psychiatric experts declared
them incompetent by reason of mental illness.

                                           [ ... ]

       Both patients have had their symptoms treated in a way that
has no effect on mental activity.

[ ... ] 

       During the investigation, it was noticed that the internal
regime of the special psychiatric hospitals of the MIA SSSR do not
meet modern requirements for the rehabilitative treatment of the
mentally ill in inpatient hospitals.

       The MIA USSR has now outlined a series of measures to
improve medical service for the mentally ill in said hospitals.

       Comrade Sakharov has been informed of the results.


Deputy Director of the Department
of Science and Educational 
Institutions of the Central               [signed] V. Baltiiskii
Committee of the Communist 
Party of the Soviet Union

June 10, 1971
320-A/7


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