Dr. Anatoly Koryagin, Russian Dissident Psychiatrist

Psychiatric Abuse in Soviet Assailed by Daniel Goleman, Special to the NYT, May 14, 1987

Author, “Unwilling patients”. Lancet 1 (8224): 821–4. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(81)92691-X. PMID 6111681.   exposing abuse of soviet psychiatry to punish Soviet dissidents.

Anatoly KoryaginArrested in 1981 and sentenced to 7 years hard labor.  Brutally force fed and drugged while on a hunger strike.  

Received honorary membership in World Psychiatric Association, Royal College of Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association and support from Amnesty International

Released in 1986 and refused asylum until the Soviets released his imprisoned son who was harrassed for his father’s activity and his entire family could move to Switzerland.  Returned to Russia in 1995.


Allowed to immigrate from the Soviet Union in April, 1987

said, “People cannot tell apart those who heal and those who torture. Therefore world medicine is in need of a broad movement to reconfirm ethical standards.”

“Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, said today in a telephone interview that he and others had organized a group called Physicians for Human Rights to monitor abuses by physicians worldwide. Their present focus is on Chile and the Soviet Union, places where he said physicians were directly involved in torture or political repression.”

“Dr. Koryagin held the news conference before delivering a speech to a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association here. He and his family are now living near Lucerne, Switzerland, where he has been granted political asylum.”

First arrested in 1981, after pronouncing dissidents normal, April 1981 published his
report in Lancet. personally knew of 183 such “psychiatric prisoners” and suspected more in the 16 special hospitals for incarceration of dissidents.

It is particularly important to meet you here, where I can meet with my colleagues, the American psychiatrists who were so active in securing my freedom and in the fight against the abuse of psychiatry.

he was given powerful neuroleptics (usually used to quiet the more flamboyant symptoms of schizophrenia) he said the drugs were in a nutritional substance force fed him through a nose tube while he was on hunger strikes…one lasted 6 months, one lasted 15 months. He realized he was getting the drugs when he suffered through symptoms of withdrawal after the second hunger strike.

during force feeding he was handcuffed with no ointment on the tube, bur rather a corrosive coating that “caused excruciating pain” in his esophagus. prison authorities times the feeding so that “I was always craving food.”

The support he received from outside the Soviet Union gave him the courage to continue his protest, even in prison, he said. “When his wive told him he had been made an honorary member of the American Psychiatric Association, he said, “it gave me enormous strength.’”

Authorities also harassed his eldest son, age 13, to denounce his father, but his son refused. The boy was persecuted in a number of ways and dropped out of school. The father said he got in with the wrong crowd, got into a fist fight, and for that was sent to prison for three years. The son was released a month after the father was released and the family was reunited in Lucerne.

But at the time of his exile he said none of the dissidents in special psychiatric hospitals had been released.

Koryagin picture: credit is in Russian in http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Корягин,_Анатолий_Иванович