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Anatoly Koryagin

File:Anatoly Koryagin 1988.jpg
Anatoly Koryagin in 1988
Born (1938-09-15) 15 September 1938 (age 77)
Kansk, Russia
Nationality 23x15px Russia
Occupation Psychiatrist
Known for his participation in struggle against political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union

Anatoly Ivanovich Koryagin (Russian: Анато́лий Ива́нович Коря́гин) (born 15 September 1938) is a Russian psychiatrist and Soviet dissident. He holds a Candidate of Science degree (equivalent to PhD in the West).[1]

Early career

Koryagin was born on 15 September 1938 in Kansk (Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia).[2] After graduating from the Krasnoyarsk Medical Institute in 1963, Koryagin worked for 4 years as a psychiatrist in Abakan. In 1972 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis on apathetic aspects of schizophrenia, and in the same year he became deputy head doctor of the regional psychiatric hospital in Kyzyl. In 1978 he became a consultant at the Kharkov regional psychiatric clinic.[3]

Struggle against political abuse of psychiatry and trial

Koryagin served as chief psychiatrist to the underground Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes, which was formed in 1977. He and another psychiatrist examined 55 dissidents who had been released or were going to be involuntarily confined. They concluded that there was no medical justification for the confinement of these people, and then campaigned for the release of dissidents held in psychiatric facilities.[4]

Koryagin was arrested in February 1981.[5] In June that year he was sentenced to 7 years of hard labor, to be followed by 5 years of internal exile. The charge was anti-Soviet activities for having corresponded with the British medical journal Lancet, which published an article by Koryagin critical of the Soviet government's use of involuntary psychiatric confinement for political reasons.[6][7] Koryagin documented the existence of 16 special hospitals for dissidents and 183 political prisoners that were confined in them.[5] The transcripts of his trial, which were published by Amnesty International in 1982, record the following statement he made:[8][9]

My investigation and trial do not constitute an act of justice, but a means of suppressing me for my views. I know that the sentence will be harsh. I do not ask anything of this court. Regardless of the sentence imposed on me, I state that I will never accept the situation which exists in our country, where mentally healthy people are imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals for trying to think independently. I know that long years of physical imprisonment, humiliation, and mockery await me. Fully aware of this, I embark on it in the hope that it will increase the chances for others to live in freedom.

Detention, recognition and later life

While held in the Chistopol prison, Koryagin often went on hunger strike, and as a result he was forcibly fed and also drugged with antipsychotic medications.[1][5] During his imprisonment he managed to smuggle a letter to the West documenting his ordeal. The General Assembly of the World Psychiatric Association passed a resolution making Dr. Anatoly Koryagin an honorary individual member of the World Psychiatric Association for “demonstrating in the struggle against the perversion of psychiatry for nonmedical purposes, professional conscience, courage and devotion to duty, all in exceptional measure.”[10]:17 The American Psychiatric Association elected him an honorary member while he was still imprisoned, and the Royal College of Psychiatry, which elected him a Fellow, addressed a letter to Yuri Andropov requesting his release.[7] In 1983 the American Association for the Advancement of Science bestowed him with the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award.[11][12]

Koryagin was eventually released on 19 February 1987.[13] Although he had been offered asylum in Switzerland, he initially refused because one of his sons had just been arrested,[13] but finally emigrated to Switzerland with his entire family later that year after his son's release.[5][14] During the Glasnost period, he remained a vocal critic of the Soviet psychiatric system,[15] and a harsh critic of torture.[16]

In 1988, Koryagin sent the letter of appreciation for having been honoured with Fellowship in the Royal College of Psychiatrists to its President, Dr. Birley.[17]

In 1990, Psychiatric Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists published the article Compulsion in psychiatry: blessing or curse? by Anatoly Koryagin.[18] It contains eight arguments by which the existence of a system of political abuse of psychiatry in the U.S.S.R. cаn easily be demonstrated and analysis of the abuse of psychiatry.[18]

In 1995 Koryagin returned to Russia. Now he lives in Pereyaslavl-Zalessky.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "An Appeal for Dr Anatoly Koryagin to the Medical Profession" (PDF). Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 9 (12): 244–244. 1985. doi:10.1192/pb.9.12.244. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Karasik S. "Koryagin, Anatoly Ivanovych (Biography)". Dissident movement in Ukraine: Virtual Museum. Archived from the original on 19 March 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010. 
  3. Geraty R. (November 1988). "Risking Martyrdom for Sabbathkeeping Adventists" (PDF). Spectrum 19 (2): 49–52. 
  4. Nightingale E.O., Stover E. (1985). "Call for Koryagin's Release". Science 230 (4723): 237–8. Bibcode:1985Sci...230..237N. JSTOR 1695338. PMID 3863252. doi:10.1126/science.3863252. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Soviet psychiatrist describes abuse". Science News 131 (21): 328. 23 May 1987. 
  6. Koryagin A (April 1981). "Unwilling patients". Lancet 1 (8224): 821–4. PMID 6111681. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(81)92691-X. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wynn A. (22 January 1983). "Imprisonment of Dr. Anatoly Koryagin". British Medical Journal 286 (6361): 309–309. PMC 1546518. PMID 6402080. doi:10.1136/bmj.286.6361.309-a. 
  8. Bloch, Sidney; Reddaway, Peter (1985). Soviet psychiatric abuse: the shadow over world psychiatry. Westview Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-8133-0209-9. 
  9. Winslow, Richard (October 1998). "No Asylum: State Psychiatric Repression in the Former U.S.S.R". Psychiatric Services 49 (10): 1372–1373. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  10. Abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union: hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth Congress, first session, September 20, 1983. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1984. p. 106. 
  11. "Scientific Freedom and Responsibility and Science Journalism Awards". Science 220 (4601): 1037–1037. June 1983. Bibcode:1983Sci...220Q1037.. JSTOR 1690812. PMID 17754544. doi:10.1126/science.220.4601.1037. 
  12. "Anatolyi Koryagin: AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award, 1983.". The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 1983. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Keller, Bill (17 March 1987). "Soviet Study of Abuse of Psychiatry Is Urged". New York Times. 
  14. "Dissident Koryagin's Son, 19, Released From Labor Camp". Los Angeles Times. 26 March 1987. p. 2. 
  15. Appleby L. (7 November 1987). "Anatoly Koryagin: what next on Soviet psychiatric abuse?". British Medical Journal 295 (6607): 1164–1164. PMC 1248242. PMID 3120927. doi:10.1136/bmj.295.6607.1164. 
  16. Koryagin A. (9 September 1988). "Toward Truly Outlawing Torture". Science 241 (4871): 1277–8. Bibcode:1988Sci...241.1277K. JSTOR 1702074. PMID 3137659. doi:10.1126/science.241.4871.1277. 
  17. Koryagin, Anatoly (1988). "Letter to the President" (PDF). Psychiatric Bulletin 12 (1): 32–32. doi:10.1192/pb.12.1.32. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Koryagin, Anatoly (1990). "Compulsion in psychiatry: blessing or curse?" (PDF). Psychiatric Bulletin 14 (7): 394–398. doi:10.1192/pb.14.7.394. 

External links

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