The Gulag

…is back and in full force in Russian-occupied Crimea.  Russian dissidents—Tatars, this time—are being “diagnosed” as insane and locked away in “psychiatric” hospitals.

Since the annexation of the region three years ago many ethnic Tatar activists who oppose the occupation have been arrested and subjected to abuse and imprisonment in outdated mental institutions, said Robert van Voren, a Dutch human rights activist and political scientist.

“The number of cases has increased considerably over the past few years, in particular against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists who oppose Russia’s annexation,” he added.

Just as in the Soviet Russian gulag, conditions are appalling and along with Russian treatment of the “inmates” are intended to retrain them to ways of which Russia approves.  Emil Kurbedinov, a Crimean civil rights lawyer focusing on Tatar civil rights and himself locked up for 10 days, had this:

Some are placed in isolation and are denied their basic needs, such as access to a toilet. Others are housed with multiple people suffering from severe mental health conditions.

The activists are interrogated about their alleged involvement in “extremism” and their views of the government. They are also deprived of the right to speak with their family, or meet their lawyer on a one-to-one basis without a guard being present.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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