Copyright © 2024 Euromaidanpress.com

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Umerov case highlights why Crimean Anschluss a threat to Russians, Portnikov says

Ilmi Umerov (Image: qha.com.ua)
Ilmi Umerov (Image: qha.com.ua)
Umerov case highlights why Crimean Anschluss a threat to Russians, Portnikov says
Edited by: A. N.

All people of good will can only welcome the release of Ilmi Umerov from a psychiatric hospital, after an international campaign including quite possibly the intervention of US President Barack Obama; but this use of Soviet-style psychiatric prisons should lead Russians to revise their view of the Crimean Anschluss, Vitaly Portnikov says.

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer
Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

The Ukrainian commentator notes that a large majority of Russians still view Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea as something positive despite sanctions, but the Kremlin leader’s actions in Crimea, including the incarceration of the Crimean Tatar leader, should cause them to rethink their position.

That is because, Portnikov points out, Putin over the last two years has used Crimea as a laboratory to test out new or restored repressive measures like punitive psychiatry that all too easily could spread to Russian society because the Umerov case is a bellwether of a situation in which “the insane are treating the healthy.”

Indeed, he suggests, whatever psychological benefits Russians may have derived from the seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea are far exceeded by the dangers that “the rebirth of [Soviet-style] punitive psychiatry” represents.

What the Russian occupation authorities have done to Umerov is “an act unprecedented for our times,” Portnikov says, “but it isn’t for the times of the Soviet Union when punitive psychiatry was one of the important instruments for dealing with dissent.” And what is especially worrisome is that this time around those using this instrument have been quite open about it.

In Soviet times, he continues, “the communist rulers who themselves believed in the correctness of their hypocritical ideology no more than they believed in the landings of people from other planets considered anyone who didn’t want to share their idiocy to be an idiot” and thus requiring treatment to make them “’like all’ other Soviet people.”

The situation in today’s Russia is “much worse,” Portnikov says, “because many of its leaders and many of its residents really and sincerely believe in that chauvinist nonsense which Putin uses and television repeats. And Putin himself believes it” because it is “much easier to believe in fascist slogans than in communist ones.”

As a result, Putin and many Russians “sincerely believe that those who do not consider the annexation of Crimea lawful just to be mad” and thus requiring treatment. Because they believe that, “Russia [has become] an enormous mad house, the denizens of which sincerely consider those outside its walls to be insane.”

It is no surprise that Putin has begun to institutionalize such feelings in Crimea because “Crimea is not Russia but a territory occupied by it. In Crimea are possible any ‘legal’ experiments,’” as it is “the most genuine polygon of hatred” available to the Kremlin.

Such “experiments” are likely to become policy and spread, and the psychiatric hospitals of Russia are thus likely to be filled again with dissidents. That is something those who support the Crimean Anschluss should think about before they become the real victims of what Putin has done.


 

Edited by: A. N.
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here


    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts