Vladimir Bukovsky in the U.S. Press
VLADIMIR BUKOVSKY'S ADVICE TO PRESIDENT BUSH SENIOR
COUNSELING THE PRESIDENT
National Review asked 12 distinguished contributors—not all of them American, not all of them conservative—two questions: What did they think were the most important problems facing the new President, and what should he do about them?
What is the definition of a "pragmatic Communist"? It is a Communist who has run out of money. By definition, the Soviet Union is pragmatic in a big way. And this fact is revolutionizing attitudes in Western Europe.
My first advice to President Bush, therefore, is to brush up his German and learn the expression "Wandel durch Handel" because in plain English it spells out one unmitigated disaster for his Presidency.
The actual translation of the phrase is something like "change through trade," or "trade produces change." The idea itself is not terribly new: you pay the "good guys" and the "bad guys" don’t come round to loot your shop. This idea might not work in Chicago any more, but sure does work in Europe. Current Soviet borrowing has reached a staggering $2 billion a month, mostly in untied loans. Overall Soviet-bloc debt has increased 55 per cent since 1984—since the Communists promised to be "good guys," that is, and report on their natural disasters. If Western trade changes them as much as predicted, then we might in a few years learn about the next Chernobyl before the local population does, or, perhaps, even in advance of the actual catastrophe.
But we are merely at the beginning of a new era. Recently, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl brought another $11 billion to Moscow as a Christmas gift from Santa Claus, while his Foreign Minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher, shuttled between European capitals trying to launch a new Marshall Plan for the Soviet empire. Rumor has it that the ruble will soon become convertible, with West German banks underwriting its value.
In short, the crisis might be in the Soviet Union, but the trouble is in Western Europe. At long last a peace offensive is bringing the Soviets tangible results. All they need to do is to cut a few more tank divisions, offer more hints about the possible reunification of Germany, display their "new thinking" a bit longer, and there will be no more NATO to speak of. Trade produces change, indeed.
However, if the crisis is in Moscow, and the trouble is in Europe, the problem is certainly in Washington. Some naive outsider might think that there is only one President the United States, with the power to conduct foreign policy, at any one time. In fact, there are 535 of them all over the country. They might not know exactly where Germany is located, but each has a grand idea about international affairs. The resulting American foreign policy is always inconsistent, short-sighted, and uncertain — which can only add to European anxiety. The most vivid example of such inconsistency was the American attempt to block European involvement in constructing the Soviet natural-gas pipeline, while the U.S. still sold grain to the Soviet Union. What else could that achieve but a growing European resentment?
Bearing in mind all these limitations, how much can the President do? I suggest he start with a bit of glasnost. Surely, if this device could help Gorbachev, there is no reason why it should not help a democratically elected leader of a democratic country. All Soviet-bloc borrowing from all Western financial institutions, all transactions conducted with the Soviet-bloc countries should be tracked and publicized. Indeed, why is this information kept secret now? And from whom? The Soviets, after all, know it, and so do the institutions conducting such transactions. The public is kept in the dark. Where then, is our "right to know"? if the transactions are truly in the Western countries' interests, and there is nothing to be ashamed of, the businessmen and bankers should be proud to report in some detail. If they are not, we are entitled to be suspicious.
Needless to say, the political atmosphere created by such awareness will make further loans and transactions with the Soviets much more difficult. Active campaigning by the U.S. Government against them might well be sufficient to slow them down. The threat of American withdrawal from Europe might prove effective in forcing the Europeans to abandon their dreams about Marshall Plans Moscow, After all, one cannot seriously expect Americans to spend billions on protecting Europe, if Europe spends billions on strengthening the very same enemy it is protected from.
We have to be prepared for a protracted crisis of the Soviet empire, with its inevitable cycles of detente and war succeeding each other. So we need a common long-term strategy for the Western Alliance, if we want it survive. In the final analysis, history will judge President Bush by his success in halting the epidemic spread of the German disease.
Bukovsky is President of Resistance International and author of, among other books, To Build a Castle and To Choose Freedom.
National Review, February 10, 1989.
Автор: Владимир Буковский
Журнал National Review
10 февраля 1989 г.
Рубрика "Новый Макиавелли"
Что означает фраза "прагматичный коммунист"? Это коммунист, у которого закончились деньги. Согласно этому определению, Советский Союз черезвычайно прагматичен. И этот факт меняет отношение к СССР в Западной Европе.
Поэтому мой первый совет президенту Бушу -- это подучить немецкий язык и выучить выражение "Wandel durch Handel", потому что на обычном английском оно означает абсолютную катастрофу для его президентства.
В переводе эта фраза означает что-то вроде "перемены через торговлю" или "торговля влечёт за собой перемены". Сама идея не очень нова: ты платишь "хорошим ребятам", и "плохие ребята" не приходят больше громить твой магазин. Идея эта, возможно, не имеет хождения больше в Чикаго, но совершенно определённо имеет хождение в Европе. На данный момент государственный заем СССР достиг невероятной цифры -- два миллиона долларов в месяц, и состоит, в основном, из необусловленных займов. В общей сложности задолжность советского блока увеличилась на 55 процентов с 1984 года -- с тех пор, как коммунисты пообещали быть "хорошими" и впредь сообщать о происходящих у них стихийных бедствиях. Если торговля с Западом изменит Советы до той степени, которую некоторые предсказывают, то через несколько лет мы начнём узнавать об очередных чернобылях до того, как об этом будет узнавать местное население, или, возможно, даже заранее -- до самих трагедий.
Но мы всего лишь находимся в начале новой эры. Недавно канцлер Западной Германии Гельмут Коль привёз дополнительные 11 миллиардов долларов в Москву в качестве рождественского подарка от европейского Санта Клауса, в то время как его министр иностранных дел Ганс-Дитрих Геншер объездил все европейские столицы, пытаясь запустить новый План Маршалла для того, чтобы помочь советской империи. Ходят слухи, что рубль скоро станет конвертируемым, а западногерманские банки выступят в качестве гаранта.
Одним словом, кризис, может быть, и имеет место в Советском Союзе, но беда пришла в Западную Европу. После их долгих стараний наступательные действия в борьбе за мир начинают приносить Советам конкретные результаты. Всё, что им остаётся теперь сделать -- это сократить ещё несколько танковых дивизий, намекнуть ещё несколько раз на объединение Германии, продолжать демонстрировать своё "новое мышление", и от НАТО уже ничего не останется. Торговля влечёт за собой изменения -- это правда.
Тем не менее, если кризис пришёл в Москву, а беда -- в Западную Европу, то проблема, однозначно, находится в Вашингтоне. Какой-нибудь наивный профан может думать, что на время каждого президентского срока существует всего один президент Соединённых Штатов, в руках которого находится власть, позволяющая ему осуществлять руководство международной политикой. На самом деле, президентов 535, и они разбросаны по всей стране. Они, возможно, и не знают, где точно находится Германия, но у каждого имеются свои представления о положении дел на международной арене. Проистекающая из этого международная политика США всегда непоследовательна, близорука и неясна, что только усиливает страхи Европы. Самый яркий пример такого рода непоследовательности -- это попытки США воспрепятствовать участию Европы в строительстве советского газопровода, в то время как Соединённые Штаты продолжают продавать зерно Советскому Союзу. Что это могло вызвать в Европе, кроме растущего возмущения?
Принимая во внимание все эти ограничения, насколько свободен президент США в принятии решений? Я предлагаю, чтобы он начал с введения гласности. Я уверен, что если этот подход помог Горбачёву, то нет причины, по которой он не помог бы демократически избранному руководителю демократической страны. Все займы советского блока, предоставляемые западными финансово-кредитными организациями, все транзакции, проводимые со странами советского блока, должны быть отслежены и опубликованы. Действительно, почему эта информация держится в секрете? И от кого её прячут? Советы, если уж на то пошло, ей владеют, равно как и организации, проводящие эти финансовые операции. Скрывают её только от общественности. Где же наше "право знать"? Если эти сделки действительно в интересах западных стран, и если стыдиться нечего, то тогда бизнесмены и банкиры должны с гордостью и подробно рассказывать о них. А если нет, то мы имеем право иметь свои подозрения.
Не приходится и говорить, что политическая атмосфера, которую создала бы такая информированность общественности, существенно затруднила бы дальнейшие займы и транзакции с Советами. Активных выступлений против них со стороны правительства США, возможно, будет достаточно, чтобы уменьшить их размах. Угроза ухода США из Европы, вероятно, поможет вынудить европейцев оставить свои мечты относительно Плана Маршалла для Москвы. В конце концов, глупо надеяться, что американцы будут тратить миллиарды на защиту Европы, в то время как Европа будет тратить миллиарды на укрепление того самого врага, от которого её защищают.
Мы должны быть готовы к затяжному кризису советской империи, с её неизбежными сменяющимися циклами разрядок и холодных войн. Поэтому нам нужна разделяемая всеми долгосрочная стратегия для Западного союза, если мы хотим выжить. По большому счёту, история будет судить о президенте Буше по его успешности в деле остановки эпидемического распространения немецкой болезни.
Перевод с английского Алисы Ордабай.
Excerpts from Vladimir Bukovsky 's June 1977 Interview in Psychology Today
Vladimir Bukovsky read the wrong books. Defended the wrong writers. His government declared him legally insane and committed him to a mental hospital. In this conversation with psychiatrist E. Puller Torres he tells what happened next.
Vladimir Bukovsky was born 34 years ago in Moscow, the offspring of a professional writer and a journalist. As a first year biology student at Moscow University he was expelled for becoming involved with a literary journal. In 1963 when he was 20, Bukovsky was first arrested for possessing copies of The New Class, a book by dissident Yugoslav Communist Milovan Djilas. After being examined at the notorious Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry he was declared insane and sent to Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital where he spent 15 months. Released, he almost immediately became involved in the defense of writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel who were under arrest, and organized a small demonstration on to demand that the freedom guaranteed by the Soviet Constitution be honored. This earned him confinement in three more psychiatric wards, including an eight-month return visit to the Serbsky. Following his release, he continued his fight for civil liberties in the USSR, and in 1967 was arrested again for organizing a demonstration to protest the arrest of four other dissidents. This time Soviet authorities decided to try a new tack, and rather than call him mentally ill, they sentenced him to prison for three years, which he served in a labor camp.
His ensuing freedom lasted just over a year. In 1971 he gathered together case records of six dissidents who had been declared insane and held in mental hospitals, and had these records smuggled out of Russia to the West. Simultaneously he appealed to Western psychiatrists, and especially to the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) who would meet in Mexico City later that year, to examine the records. A group of 44 British psychiatrists eventually did examine them and concluded the six weren’t mentally ill, but Soviet psychiatrists and the leadership of the WPA vented the issue from being discussed in Mexico City. These records were the first hard evidence that Soviet authorities were systematically abusing mental illness as a label for dissidents, and mental hospitals as prisons with indeterminate sentences. They were also the first hard evidence that some Soviet psychiatrists were allowing themselves to be prostituted by the State. The reaction of Soviet authorities to Bukovsky's act was fast and furious—12 years in prison, labor camps, and internal exile.
By this time Bukovsky had become known in the West, and had been "adopted" as a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Not deterred by his sentence, he began a series of hunger strikes and demands for better prison conditions. In 1974 while in a labor camp with dissident psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, they collaborated and produced "A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents”, instructing dissidents how to avoid being labeled insane when they were arrested. A copy of the Manual was subsequently smuggled to the West and joined the growing volume of data on the abuse of psychiatry in the USSR. As Bukovsky's physical condition deteriorated through both punishment and hunger strikes, his mother, as well as Amnesty International and other groups, increased demands for his release. Finally on December 18, 1976, he was released and exiled in exchange for imprisoned Chilean communist leader Luis Corvalan. As an exchange of one political prisoner for another, it was the first implicit admission by the Soviet Union that they do indeed hold such prisoners. Two months later Bukovsky addressed a joint Commission of the United States Congress, and the following week he met with both President Carter and Vice-President Mondale. He had become a symbol for human rights.
A note on Vladimir Bukovsky’s mental health: Bukovsky had been diagnosed in the Soviet Union as having schizophrenia. Following his release in December 1976 he met with a group of British psychiatrists and was declared to be eminently sane, and with no evidence whatsoever of schizophrenia. The author, a clinical psychiatrist presently responsible for two wards of schizophrenic patients and doing research of this disease, strongly concurs with the opinion of the British psychiatrists after interviewing Bukovsky for over an hour. Bukovsky is a modest and self-effacing man, proud that he never compromised, and for whom principle is a way of life and not just a word. He retains a wry sense of humor, and an unusual ability to step back and look at himself and the world.
E. Fuller Torrey: What was it like, being a sane man in an insane asylum?
Vladimir Bukovsky: Well, I found many people in the place who were quite sane.
Torrey: So you were only one of several sane people in the mental hospital?
Bukovsky: Yes, and we formed a sort of group to communicate with each other. With the other patients it was impossible to communicate, for some of them were extremely ill. So those of us who were sane formed a sort of club.
Toney: A club of sane people in an insane asylum. That must have been a very interesting club. How were you personally treated by the doctors there?
Bukovsky: I was lucky in that hospital. I wasn't given any forced medicine.
Torrey: Was that unusual?
Bukovsky: Yes, very. Almost all the other dissidents there were forced to take medicine that made them sleepy and hard for them to think.
Torrey: How did you escape it?
Bukovsky: When I got to the hospital I was assigned to an old Russian psychiatrist. I think he was around 80. After our first interview he told me he thought I was quite sane. He thought I had pretended to be crazy to get into the hospital and escape a prison sentence or something, that I was a malingerer. I tried to explain that he had it wrong but he had made up his mind and fought very hard to get me released. He would go in front of the commission (which determines when a patient may be released) and say I was sane. This made the KGB mad, but they didn't know what to do with this old psychiatrist who didn’t understand or wouldn't understand that he was supposed to find me insane. Anyway he didn't give me drugs because he thought I was sane.
Torrey: How many special psychiatric hospitals like the one you were in are there?
Bukovsky: There are at least 12. I am not sure how many more there are.
Torrey: And how many sane people were in your insane asylum?
Bukovsky. Out of 1,000 inmates I think about 150 were political prisoners and perfectly sane.
Torrey: That means that there are probably over 2,000 political dissidents in mental hospitals in the Soviet Union?
Bukovsky: Yes, there are probably at least that many. We do not know for sure how many there are.
Torrey: Besides the psychiatrist who was in charge of you, what were the other psychiatrists there like? Did they realize that you weren't mentally ill?
Bukovsky: Yes, of course. They all understood quite well that we were sane people. Many of them were quite cynical. One of them once told me that the hospital we were in was really more like a concentration camp. It is our own little Auschwitz, he said. Yes, they understood how things were very well, but they were not in a position to do anything about it. They had neither the desire nor the power to change things.
Torrey: What kind of psychiatrists are these people who would work in an in insane asylum with sane people? Why would they take the job?
Bukovsky: They probably do it because they earn more money than if they work in a regular mental hospital. They get special pay because it is a special hospital.
Torrey: Are they army psychiatrists?
Bukovsky: Not exactly. They are military, but not army. They work for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is the Ministry responsible for the special psychiatric hospitals. Regular psychiatric hospitals are under the Ministry of Health. So these psychiatrists in the special hospitals have ranks, like captain, major, and are promoted from rank to rank if they do a good job and don’t cause trouble.
Torrey: And doing a good job includes testifying that people like yourself, who wish to protest the lack of civil rights, are insane and should be kept in a mental hospital?
Torrey: When you first entered the Leningrad Special psychiatric Hospital, how long did they say they were going to keep you?
Bukovsky: It was quite clear from the beginning that they would keep me as long as they liked. I was told that it all depended on my behavior. If I would recant, if I would be good, how do you say?
Bukovsky: Yes, tractable. If I would be tractable then they would let me out.
Torrey: They could have kept you there for 20 or 30 years if they had wanted, and if you hadn't had an older psychiatrist who wouldn't cooperate with them.
Bukovsky: Oh yes. I knew some who had been in for over 10 years. It is an indeterminate sentence.
Torrey: Is that why Soviet officials put you in a psychiatric hospital rather than in prison?
Bukovsky: That is one reason. If they had put me in prison originally I would have had a sentence to serve and then I would be released. There wouldn't be the same pressure on me to recant. Of course sometimes they just sentence you again to a new term when you finish your term, but that's harder to do. It’s much easier to put you away in a mental hospital.
Torrey: What are the other reasons they use mental hospitals rather than prison?
Bukovsky: Well, it discredits the person. Especially if the person is prominent and speaking out, that's a big problem for the Soviet leaders. For instance, General Grigorenko, who was a great general, spoke out against the invasion of Czechoslovakia. That made a big problem. It would have been hard to bring him to trial so they called him insane and sent him to a mental hospital. Then people won't pay attention to what he says. And people understand that other people can become mentally ill.
It's easy to explain to common people, the people in the street. Also, sometimes they put people who speak out into mental hospitals when they don’t have a very strong case against them, when it would be a difficult trial.
Torrey: Is it true that mental patients have fewer rights than civil prisoners in the Soviet Union?
Bukovsky: Yes, absolutely. As a mental patient you have no rights. Any sort of protest you make they just say is because you are mentally sick. Anything the you say or do becomes part of your case record, which can then be used against you to justify keeping you there indefinitely. Anything you write, letters or anything, may turn up in your case folder to be used against you. If you recant they say, see, it proves he was crazy. If you refuse to recant and protest, they say, see, it proves he is crazy. You take your choice.
Toney: When they first picked you up in 1963, do you think they intended then to send you to a mental hospital?
Bukovsky: No, I think they wanted me to recant. They wanted to make a traitor out of me and make me inform against my friends. They wanted some information from me, then probably they thought they would put me in prison for a little while. They put me in solitary confinement to change my mind.
Torrey: But you didn't cooperate with them, I guess.
Bukovsky: No, I refused to speak with them at all.
Torrey: That must have made them furious.
Bukovsky: Yes, and after they had tried for a month they gave up and turned me over to psychiatry. That was the end of my case legally. From then on I was just a psychiatric patient.
Torrey: They diagnosed you as a schizophrenic, isn't that correct?
Bukovsky: With schizophrenia of the continuous type. But some of the psychiatrists said that schizophrenia was the wrong diagnosis and that really I had a paranoid development of personality. They couldn't decide between these two diagnoses.
Torrey: I have been to the Soviet Union twice and am familiar with how schizophrenia is classified there. The continuous type of schizophrenia is said to begin very slowly but is progressive. This is especially true of the "sluggish" or "creeping" subtype in which a person is said to only have mild personality changes in its early stages.
Bukovsky: Most of the political prisoners are diagnosed as schizophrenics. Anything they do, any protest they make; even a hunger strike is said to be proof of the diagnosis.
Torrey: G.V. Morozov, the head of the Serbsky Institute, has even written that argumentativeness is an important symptom of schizophrenia.
Bukovsky: Then I guess it's a pretty common disease even in the United States if that is its definition.
Torrey: The man who is responsible for the classification of schizophrenia in the Soviet Union is Professor Snezhnevsky of the Institute of Psychiatry in Moscow. He is the one who has stressed that misbehavior in adolescence or even earlier is often a symptom of early schizophrenia, especially if there is any family history of mental illness.
Bukovsky: I have read some of Snezhnevksy's works. He has also been one of the main psychiatrists behind the scenes who sees that dissidents are labeled mentally ill and put away.
Torrey: Do You think his theories of schizophrenia developed to accommodate the needs of the state, or that he was selected out for advancement because his theories were convenient.
Bukovsky: Probably the latter, a kind of selectivity. Survival of the most convenient theory so to speak. In a socialist state that is supposed to be perfect there can, by definition, be no social condition that could create true dissenters. Therefore, the dissenter must be crazy, sick. The logic is very neat.
Torrey: Some people have written that the Soviet Union has a long history of calling dissidents mad, and that this was also used by the czars. For example Czar Nicholas called the philosopher Chaadaev mad over one hundred years ago because Chaadaev had disagreed with him.
Bukovsky: To begin with, Chaadaev was never put into a hospital. It was just a statement that he was insane.
Torrey: When did it begin, then, in a widespread way as it is now found in the Soviet Union?
Bukovsky: It began under Stalin. But at that time there were only two mental hospitals, in Leningrad and Kazan, for dissidents. Stalin didn't need many. He could just destroy people if he wanted. But if they were prominent he might use the mental hospital.
Torrey: And what happened after Stalin?
Bukovsky: It is interesting. There was an old Communist Party member named Sergei Pisarev who was a member of the Party's Central Control Commission. He prepared a report that the cases against the Jewish doctors prepared by an investigating committee in 1952 were concocted and he handed the report over to Stalin. Two weeks later Pisarev found himself in a mental hospital and labeled insane. In 1956, after Stalin's death, he arranged to get rehabilitated. He even made the psychiatrists reconsider their diagnosis and say he was sane. He got to know the chairman of the committtee for rehabilitation, and persuaded him that an investigation should be made into the abuse of psychiatry. This was a golden age after Stalin's death when such things were possible. He succeeded in getting such a commission created. They investigated both hospitals and concluded that psychiatry had been abused, and got a lot of people released.
Torrey: So then it got worse again?
Bukovsky: Yes, especially under Khrushchev. Then it became a common practice and new hospitals started to be opened.
Torrey: So that by the time you were arrested in 1963 it was a common practice to label sane people insane and put them away to get them out of sight.
Bukovsky: Yes, I wasn't unique at all. The only way I am unique is that I am here to be able to talk to you about it. There are many hundreds of dissidents in the mental hospitals even today as we talk.
Torrey: When you were at the Perm labor camp with Semyon Gluzman, the young psychiatrist who had publicly said that General Grigorenko was not mentally ill and was then thrown in jail for saying it, you wrote a manual together, "A Manual on Psychiatry for dissidents." I read it several months ago and was profoundly impressed by it, impressed that manuals should be needed for people to defend themselves against my chosen profession. It is an excellent document. How did you manage to write it while in a labor camp?
Bukovsky: We put it together in bits and pieces. We had a small symposium that met under the pretense of having tea. We used to sit quietly in a circle, and one of us who had prepared a report would give it and then we would discuss it. We started out to do it because some people in the labor camp needed to know how to defend themselves from psychiatrists. Even though they had been sentenced to prison sometimes when their sentence was up they would be taken to a psychiatrist and declared insane and sent to a mental hospital. So it had a very practical value.
Torrey: Then how did you get it out?
Bukovsky: People started saying that the “Manual” would be useful to others as well. So we tried to smuggle it out. The first time we tried it we failed and the authorities seized it. But the second time it was a lucky case and it made it. Everything had to be done in secrecy.
Torrey: The KGB must have been furious with you.
Bukovsky: Even now they are threatening to start a new criminal case against Gluzman. They are threatening to sentence him to many more years in prison. It is only the agitation of Westerners on his case so far which has stopped that from happening.
Torrey: How can Westerners help dissidents in the Soviet Union? How can we help to bring about basic civil rights there? Should we cut off contact with Russian professionals? Should we not attend meetings attended by them?
Bukovsky: I am opposed to a complete boycott altogether. Rather you should boycott selectively and make contact with the good psychiatrists there. For example, you should have nothing to do with Snezhnevsky; he is a criminal and you should never sit at the same table with him. Your National Institute of Mental Health should not deal with him as they do. They are just supporting a criminal and making him respectable.
What you should do is to make contact with the good psychiatrists in Russia, the ones who will not allow themselves to be prostituted. For example, Professor Melekhov and Professor Lukomsky both sat on the commission in 1971 to determine whether I was sane. Both behaved extremely honestly in the face of obvious pressure on them by Soviet authorities. And there are honest young psychiatrists who too refuse to abuse their profession. For instance, when I was arrested in 1965 I was first taken to the psychiatric ward of Moscow City Hospital Number 13. There I was examined by two young psychiatrists, Drs. Arkus and Dumbrovich, and declared to be sane. The KGB was even more furious so they took me back to Serbsky Institute. It was difficult for them to declare me to be insane when two other sets of psychiatrists had just declared me sane so they just kept me there for eight months.
What you should do is to invite doctors like Melekhov, Lukomsky, Arkus, and Dumbrovich to your professional meetings in the West. Publish their papers. Give them recognition. Visit the psychiatric ward of City Hospital Number 13 when you come to Moscow. But don't cut off all contacts, just cut off selective contacts.
Torrey: It sounds like we should draw up a blacklist of Soviet psychiatrists who have compromised themselves and not attend any meeting with them or invite them.
Bukovsky:Exactly right. And at the top of the blacklist you might put Snezhnevsky, Morozov, and Lunts, but there are many more.
Torrey: And on our visits to the Soviet Union make the effort to contact psychiatrists who are not on the blacklist.
Bukovsky: Yes. You won't get much help from Intourist but it can be done.
Torrey: I know that psychiatrists in England have provided more support for you than psychiatrists in the United States. For example, when you sent the six case histories out in 1971 it was only the English psychiatrists who evaluated them. How did you feel when you heard that the World Psychiatric Association meeting in Mexico City in late 1971 had ignored your plea? Weren't you angry and disappointed?
Bukovsky: We are all human, and we are all subject to pressure on us. In Mexico City there was strong pressure on some psychiatrists to do nothing. And so nothing was done. You were all afraid to offend Snezhnevsky.
It was sad, yes.
Torrey: Some of us, including myself, are afraid that psychiatry could also be abused on a large scale in the United States. How can we prevent it happening here?
Bukovsky: The best way to fight a battle is to fight it on someone else's territory. You can prevent it here by fighting the abuses of psychiatry elsewhere.
Torrey: I suspect that all countries have psychiatrists who will allow themselves and their profession to be prostituted given the right circumstances, and that in every country there is a Lunts or a Morozov waiting to do his job if given the opportunity.
Bukovsky: Most certainly there is. Look at France in 1941. Here was a country that was supposed to love freedom. You know, the French Revolution. And look what happened. Many of the people tripped over each other in their rush to collaborate with the enemy, willing to allow themselves to be used.
Toney: If we don't fight the abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, what are the consequences?
Bukovsky: If the abuses begin in your country then it will be too late. If you try and fight it once it begins they will probably just call you insane and put you away.
E. Fuller Torrey is a research and practicing psychiatrist in Washington, D C. After obtaining a BA in religion at Princeton, Torrey got his MD in Montreal; then, while completing his residency in psychiatry at Stanford, earned an MA in anthropology. He practiced medicine for two years in Africa and recently spent a year as a general practitioner on the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. He wrote The Mind Game: Witchdoctors and Psychiatrists, The Death of Psychiatry, and Why Did You Do That?
Letter to the Editor of Commentary magazine, November 1988
by Vladimir Bukovsky
It is a pity that in his otherwise interesting and informative article Waller Laqueur presents a somewhat inaccurate account of my views of Gorbachev and his policies. Thus, among other things, Mr. Laqueur writes that “Soon after the General Secretary came to power he was called a Stalinist by the prominent emigre intellectual, Vladimir Bukovsky …," and that my "original thesis was developed in an article in Obozrenie".
To begin with, there must be a mistake in his reference: I do not recall ever seeing a publication named Obozrenie, let alone writing an article for it. Perhaps Mr. Laqueur means the English magazine Survey (which in Russian is “obozrenie"), where a speech I gave at a conference of the Committee for the Free World was reprinted (Spring 1985).
What is more important, assuming my guess is correct, is that I did not there call Gorbachev a Stalinist. Commenting on the fit of euphoria that had overtaken many in the West upon Gorbachev’s accession, I simply pointed out that nothing in his previous career would indicate that he was in any way different from the so-called "old guard" which had, indeed, brought him up, educated him, and promoted him. I trust that Mr. Laqueur would agree with me that such patrons of Gorbachev as Andropov, Kulakov, and Suslov, and later Ustinov, Gromyko, and so forth, could hardly be described as a "new guard" or "liberals." Clearly, a man who joined the Communist party in 1952, during Stalin’s last campaign against Jews and intellectuals; who became a local party boss in 1966, just after Khrvishchev was dismissed; who became a member of the Central Committee in 1971, and a member of the Poiitburo in 1980, could hardly be a compulsive reformer. If nothing else, he must himself have been at least partly responsible for the "stagnation" of the Brezhnev era which he was now criticizing so much, and it was at best ridiculous to call him, as the Western media did back in 1985, "a new face in the Kremlin".
Furthermore, as I tried to explain in that speech, the tendency to portray the internal Soviet situation as a struggle between an old guard and a new guard, or between conservatives and reformers, was a simplification based on the "mirror-image" fallacy so common in the West. The reason for such senseless preoccupation with the personalities of Soviet leaders must lie in a failure to understand totalitarian systems. One could like or dislike Gorbachev, but one would have to "do business" (in Margaret Thatcher’s unfortunate phrase) not with him but with the whole political system. The General Secretary of the Communist party is not an autonomous individual, he is a function. His personal inclinations are irrelevant, because he is not a czar and the Soviet political system is not an autocracy. Thus, the emergence of a new leader does not automatically signify a new policy. Rather the opposite is true: a decision to change policy brings a change in leadership.
This was certainly true in the case of Gorbachev, whose renowned policies of glasnost and This perestroika were worked out in principle long before he became General Secretary—according to some reports, during the last years of Brezhnev’s rule and Andropov’s subsequent short term in power (see, for example, Dusko Doder, "Andropov Rushed Renewal into Motion," Washington Post, July 28,1985). Needless to say, this decision was not prompted by that anyone’s great urge for reform, or by a concern for the well-being of the Russian people, but by the catastrophic decline in the economy which was undermining the status
of the Soviet Union as a superpower.
There is no need to ascribe this interpretation to me, as Mr. Laqueur does in his article. The fear of lagging behind South Korea, to say nothing of the United States, is a constant theme in the Soviet press. The fear of being unable to maintain superpower status, of allowing the "position of socialism the modern world" to suffer, has been a constant theme of Gotbachev’s speeches starting with his maiden speech in 1985, and a justification for introducing radical change. Somehow, I find it easier to believe in the sincerity of this fear than in a sudden change of heart in yesterday’s oppressors.
The point I tried to make in my speech was that the West should not hasten to rescue its bankrupt enemy, should not eliminate the need for painful internal reforms by providing economic assistance to the Soviet Union and its client states or by reducing the pressure of the military competition. Mr. Laqueur asserts that "the Russians have not been beneficiaries of massive credits," and therefore that my "fears that the West will end up paying for Communist expansion" are not "fully warranted." But recent OECD estimates show, to the contrary, that Soviet-bloc debt has increased 55 percent since 1984. According to the Wall Street Journal (December 7, 1987), the current rate reached a staggering $700 million a month; at least half of the country’s hard currency income is spent to prop up client states like Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam. Moreover, the Journal indicates: "Remarkably, as debt rises, terms decline. From 1983 to 1986, the Soviet Union saw the average interest rate it pays drop from one to 0.15 point above the Libor benchmark. Brazil pays at least 0.75 of a point above Libor." This is exactly what I call "paying for Communist expansion," whether Mr. Laqueur finds my view "fully warranted" or not.
Even more frightening is Western willingness to disarm just for the sake of glasnost. No one has as yet explained why we need an INF treaty. In what way does it improve Western defense? All we hear are vague (and debatable) assurances that the treaty will not affect NATO capabilities. If so, why do we need it? Just to "help Gorbachev" in his struggle with the mysterious "old guard"? Or perhaps, to appease the Western peace movement? Or, better still, to pave the way for a START agreement? None of these reasons seems to me "fully warranted." And what if the Soviets were to redeploy SS-20s, or their like, three or five years hence? Can anyone truly believe Western governments would be able to summon the political will to counterdeploy Pershings?
No, I do not think that the West can actually make Communism work: there is probably not enough money in the entire world to fulfill that particular dream. But it is quite possible to keep the Soviet system alive, though doing so might entail the disappearance of a few more nations from the face of the earth. Why must we undertake such a thankless task? Franklin D. Roosevelt liked "Uncle Joe" Stalin and apparently felt he could "do business" with him and millions of East Europeans had to pay with their lives for that presidential urge. Ask the Cubans how they liked Khrushchev’s "peaceful coexistence." Ask the Ethiopians, Angolans, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Afghans how they liked Brezhnev's "detente." In those days, too, we were supposed to be helping "doves" fight "hawks" in the Kremlin. We were told that Brezhnev was the best we could hope for, and that we must not miss this golden opportunity to "improve relations." And now, just fifteen years later, no less an authority than Gorbachev himself has disclosed that Brezhnev was actually a "hawk." Whoops! Never mind, just a mild embarrassment for such wizards of Western Sovietology as Stephen Cohen and Marshall Shulman, and a bit too late for the nations listed above.
So why not stick to what we know reasonably well? And we do know that the huge Soviet empire is in the grip of a grave structural crisis. To judge by the experience of some East European countries, the empire is unlikely to solve its problems within the existing political framework, and seems headed for a period of popular unrest. We also know that in the past, every period of "thaw," "relaxation," "detente," etc. has ended in a further expansion of Communism and has led to a renewed period of "cold war" and international tension. Such is very likely to happen again, as the Soviet ruling elite may not be able to slow down the erosion of the political system by any other means. Should their current reforms fail, as they are likely to do, a renewed aggressiveness may be the only way for the members of the Soviet elite to save their political hides. Would it matter, then, whether they themselves are Stalinists, anti-Stalinists, or neo-Stalinists?
If there is even the slightest possibility of such an outcome, what right do we have to ignore it? Instead of playing the stupid game of good guys / bad guys in the Kremlin, why do we not prepare ourselves? Why weaken ourselves just at the moment when we may need all our strength? It is frightening to think how the West might be forced to respond to an unrestrained act of Soviet nuclear blackmail aggravated by a huge unrepaid Soviet debt. We have already had the pleasure of witnessing the mass hysteria of the peace movement of the early 1980’s, when NATO still provided a sufficient deterrent; imagine the hysteria when there will be no such deterrent! We already know how helpless and accommodating creditor nations are vis-a-vis debtor nations. And we have seen how servile democratically elected governments can become when dealing even with ordinary terrorists. Are we willing to test all this against the most powerful machine of subversion and terror ever known, a machine which has so far been completely unaffected by perestroika?
Unfortunately, after living nearly twelve years in the West, I am only too aware that my warnings, and similar warnings by other "emigre intellectuals," are destined to remain unheeded. Where Mr. Laqueur is quite on target is in reminding us how wrong were the seemingly sophisticated diagnoses of many Western Sovietologists in the 60’s and 70’s. Yes, indeed, these Sovietologists have a skeleton in their filing cabinets. Unlike real scientists, they would rather be "moderate" than correct, and so they invented a lot of reasons why the testimony of emigres should be ignored. We were, they said, "reactionary" and "biased"; and our views represented, at best, only a tiny minority. We were supposed to have chips on our shoulders, albatrosses around our necks, grudges in our pockets. Thanks to the efforts of these people, whose arrogance was matched only by their ignorance, we emigres were virtually ostracized, banned from the public debate, silenced in the media.
I am therefore afraid that the "full post-mortem on two decades of Western Sovietology" called for by Mr. Laqueur will be grossly incomplete unless there is some admission that the failures were due to more than simple mistakes of analysis. How many scholars were forced to sacrifice the truth in order to be accepted in academic circles as "moderates," or in order to get their works published by prestigious presses? How many of those (particularly in the emigre community) seeking grants and tenure were forced to lie in order to survive professionally? What we have here are not the honest errors of some misled scholars but the acts of a mafia establishing its authority and protecting its interests.
And yet, at the end of the day, all the sophisticated books and learned articles of the Sovietological mafia have been exposed for what they are—a pile of trash. When we emigre intellectuals were living in the Soviet Union we were sent to jails and lunatic asylums for demanding glasnost; today, now that glasnost has become official policy, Moscow itself has confirmed, almost word for word, what we have been saying for a good twenty-five years.
What amusing reading these "scholarly works" thus provide. But can we say that justice has finally triumphed? Have the godfathers of Sovietology lost their prestige and influence? Are they ashamed and repentant? Far from it. They are still all over the place, advising governments, enlightening public, writing their sophisticated articles and books about the struggle between "conservatives'' and "reformers'' in the Kremlin, as if nothing had happened.
As for us, we are still "emigre intellectuals" with something on our shoulders, or around our necks. We are still "too extreme" and not sufficiently "balanced." But I am confident that a few years hence the Sovietologists will be proved wrong once again, and we — right because they have only their (or someone else’s) opinions, while we have a knowledge of that unique political system in which we were born and brought up. If only the price to be paid for their "mistakes" were not so tragically high.
VLADIMIR BUKOVSKY ON RADIO LIBERTY, MARCH 2018
Original interviews in Russian:
Interview on March 16, 2018 on the Skripal poisoning:
My impression is that the Kremlin is doing this deliberately. This is what was called "brinkmanship" during the cold war. For some reason the Kremlin has decided to raise the stakes. It looks like they are hoping to break down the sanction regime and the tendency to deepen the sanctions. They have decided to go for broke, to bring the world to the brink of a war, to make everyone quake in their boots, to make the public put pressure on their governments over here and somehow force everyone to de-escalate the current tense situation.
It is difficult to imagine a situation that would be worse than the one we are facing now. You ask if this incident will put a strain on Russia's relationship with England. This relationship can't possibly be under a greater strain! This relationship is at a breaking point. I think that the British government will sever its diplomatic relations with Russia. What else do you expect? The meaning of what is happening right now is very serious -- it is a chemical attack on a NATO member state. This is precisely "casus belli" (an act provoking or justifying war -- translator). They will obviously not declare a war, this is out of question, but one is expecting a reaction from all NATO member states. Their response will be multifaceted. And Britain will not be the only country which will respond.
The second issue which becomes immediately apparent as slightly unusual is this: a person who has already been exchanged got murdered. So the West now loses interest in such exchanges: "If we do another such exchange, the people may get murdered." What sort of exchange is that? So in a way they disrupt certain mechanisms which have been long established in the world.
The response, of course, will be joint and the response will be high-pressure. If Putin wants to find himself on a brink of a war, he will find himself on a brink of a war. He is doing this for reasons of domestic policy, I assume, in order to unite the country, to make everyone rely on him in desperation, the way one relies on a savior and a protector. This is his reasoning, I suppose. I don't see what any other types of reasoning there could be. But he will get more than he bargains for. The problem is that the Kremlin never understood the West. They have this notion that they can get away with anything. As in, "What can they do to retaliate? Nothing." This is what Hitler thought when he attacked Poland and what he got was the world war. I am not saying that a world war will begin now because of this, but some sharp complications may take place. And today's Russia will not be able to withstand this tittering on the edge of a war for much longer, given all the sanctions and all other problems.
When suggested that Skripals' poisoning was conceived by a unknown group within Russia in order to harm a political opponent, Bukovsky responds:
I used to know the Soviet system well. Naturally, I am not familiar with the current Russian system as I don't visit Russia. But the tradition remains the same. It is a very bureaucratic system. And actions such as murder abroad -- especially a clearly demonstrative one -- are unlikely to be undertaken by officials without sanctions received from the top. Are you trying to tell me that Mr. Putin does not control his security services? I don't believe that. If he didn't control them, they would have devoured him a long time ago. And if these are autonomous actions of some groups within the security services, then why don't we see any punitive measures? Mr. Putin would have been very concerned with such developments and would have cracked down on security services. Otherwise, how does he sleep safely? No, I don't believe this.
Russia is a centralized, bureaucratic state. Of course, there is corruption there, there are many other things there. But nevertheless the foundation remains. For such kind of actions one needs a sanction from the top. In what way this sanction has been given and by whom, I cannot assert, but it comes from somewhere at the top. Such things are not done in any other way. Especially given that there were two incidents. The Glushkov story insistently provokes the West to react in a hostile, conflict-oriented way. This cannot happen without the upper echelons of power being involved.
Bukovsky discussing Skripals’ poisoning on Radio Liberty, March 19, 2018:
Responding to a theory that the United States could be behind Skripals' poisoning:
The sophisticated, complex calculations assumed here require unbelievable finesse. I, however, know that these organizations are incapable of finesse. They act rather primitively. I listen to current and past debates, and the same thing continues years on end: terrorist attacks, murders... Let us conduct an experiment. I am prepared to make the following bet: If two cruise missiles were to be launched at Lubyanka (the FSB headquarters -- translator), then the level of terrorism worldwide would drop by approximately 80 percent.
When asked what Putin has to gain from Skripals' poisoning:
It depends on how you define Putin's goals. If you assume (against common sense) that he wishes to live in peace with the entire world and to improve international relations, then, of course, such action appears completely illogical. But objective evidence that we have shows a different picture. His aim is to raise the bets, to increase tension, to bring the world to the brink of war in the hope to break the resolve of his Western opponents who will then begin to withdraw their sanctions. In my opinion this is the aim of the Putin government.
The murder of Glushkov, which happened immediately after this, right in the middle of this scandal, fits quite logically into this assumption and the murder to Skripal. This is a deliberate intensifying of the situation. He, as the folk saying goes, is deliberately asking for trouble, knowing that no one will declare a war on him, knowing that it is impossible to make his position any worse, that it is impossible to devise any additional sanctions. This is why he goes further and further, bringing the situation to the point of absurdity, to the point of where a person in the street becomes frightened. And, as we know, Russian immigrants started writing to the police asking for protection. Although it is quite clear to everyone that the English police cannot protect them. It is a deliberate action -- a deliberate intensifying and scaremongering which Putin's leadership is counting on.
Replying to a question as to whether the murder of Glushkov is related to the poisoning of Skripal:
I think so. A political murder abroad is a kind of decision that is taken at the top. By the same people. The same people made a decision regarding the murder of Skripal as the people who decided on the murder of Glushkov. The operations, however, were different. One operation carried on since the times of Berezovsky and the other one rolled up just now.
But let me respond to the previous speaker who argued that Russia doesn't benefit from this. If Russia doesn't benefit from this, then why is Putin coming out with aggressive statements threatening nuclear war on the entire world? If they wanted peace, good relations and so forth, would they come out threatening nuclear war? They would not. This means that Russia is interested in raising the stakes, in raising tensions. Therefore, any related murders, suspicions, and campaigns come in handy.
Commenting on expulsion of diplomats and on how the events will continue to develop:
It is difficult to predict how events will develop. The more evidence we have, the more agreements are reached in the European Union and particularly among the NATO member states, the more united the response will be. One can imagine that all NATO states will expel a certain number of Russian diplomats. Of course, this is a soft approach. Economic sanctions will get tougher too.
In reality, the sanctions have gone so far that one can't add much more. One can only increase the degree of sanctions, but something entirely new would be very difficult to devise. There is also SWIFT (the enabling network for financial institutions -- translator) which Russia can be banned from. But I think the West will reserve this as the last measure because beyond that there is nothing but war.
But I would like to make a general commentary. People are inclined to consider detailed subtleties and to attribute some exceedingly sophisticated schemes regarding the inner workings of the Russian establishment and so forth. I, however, look at these matters from the point of view of my own experience. I know hundreds of people of Putin's type and I know them quite well. It is the West's problem that it perceives them as some sort of very clever or very sophisticated people. I, nonetheless, know that this is a widely spread personality type in Russia. It is a type of a labor camp governor. His caliber doesn't go beyond that. And his actions are very predictable. And within this pattern all his actions in regard to blackmail and bluffing are clear. He, in a labor camp language, is a "showboating patrolman". He shows off -- this is his favorite pursuit. I used to come across these types for many years, so it doesn't surprise me.
On whether an amnesty should be expected in Russia:
No, there won't be one. On the contrary, the regime will tighten the screws and will raise the stakes. This tendency has been continuing for many years already. They do not have a single reason to try to reverse it. Unless international leaders at the very top level will come to an agreement on some serious issues. Right now Putin is prepared to do anything to break away from the sanctions. If he is offered to provide amnesty or to loosen his grip in exchange for removal of the sanctions, then he may accede. But no one will offer this to him.
Answering a question in relation to Mikhail Khodorkovsky's release before the Olympic Games in Sochi:
This was done for one single person. This was connected to a larger power landscape. Very serious negotiations went on regarding Khodorkovsky. This decision was taken in regard to one single person, but it wasn't a typical decision or a template. After this they continued to lock people up.
Responding to whether Russia is a police state:
Yes. They will continue suppressing. The last soft spots will be identified and quashed. Take, for example, the issue of free travel. Free travel will come under increasing control. And inevitably we return to the Soviet model. This is the template in people's minds which everything gravitates toward. They will not rest until they resurrect the "great and powerful" Soviet Union. The same "great and powerful" Soviet Union which collapsed due to quite logical reasons. Not because someone got betrayed or because Gorbachev "worked for CIA", as they now say. All this nonsense needs to dissipate. Collapse of the Soviet model is inevitable. But if Putin wants to restore it, he is begging for another downfall.
Translated from Russian by Alissa Ordabai.
Vladimir Bukovsky and Nora Beloff: a Discussion
Commentary magazine, February 1987.
Nora Beloff: Though I have the greatest respect for Vladimir Bukovsky and rate his book, To Build a Castle, as one of the classics of resistance literature, may I venture to disagree with his proposition ["Will Gorbachev Reform the Soviet Union?," September 1986] that Gorbachev has only three options in confronting his internal troubles? Besides the three which Mr. Bukovsky mentions (leaving things as they are, experimenting with some form of NEP, and relying on Western aid), there is a fourth, which I believe is currently being tried out: the decoupling of Western Europe from the United States, neutralizing its will to resist, and, having imposed Soviet domination, exploiting its technological and economic resources to compensate for the insufficiencies in the Soviet bloc.
Nothing is more likely to turn the West Europeans (who are not in Mr. Bukovsky’s heroic mold) away from the Americans than the spectacle of a U.S. administration implementing a policy of all-out production of all the most advanced weapons, as he seems to recommend, in the hopes that, in ten or twenty years, the Soviet economy may falter and collapse. The ubiquitous implements of mass destruction dotted all over our unfortunate continent cannot be guaranteed against irrational use by desperate men in circumstances as impossible to predict as some of the events which have occurred in my own lifetime. Our aim must surely be to achieve balanced, verifiable reductions of arms, if indeed Soviet habits of secrecy make that possible. The only civilized solution is to strive to contain and win the struggle which the Soviets are waging against us by non-military means.
Vladimir Bukovsky: Nora Beloff does not disagree with me when she suggests that current Soviet strategy is aimed at decoupling Western Europe from the U.S., neutralizing it, and then exploiting its economic resources. This is precisely what I meant in my third option, détente, which has never been viewed by the Soviets as a "relaxation of class struggle," and is, moreover, the only form of "peaceful coexistence" possible with the Soviet regime. The essay from which my COMMENTARY article was adapted dealt at greater length with this problem in a discussion of Soviet foreign policy.
As for the less-than-heroic Europeans, I do not know whom Miss Beloff is referring to. If she means the hysterical crowds of the peace movement, their time has passed. Besides, she should know better than most that these people have never represented all Europeans, but only a small and noisy minority that exists in every country in the West. Indeed, if we were to take them seriously and permit them to dictate our foreign policy, Soviet domination of Western Europe would occur that much faster, since such people are simply instruments of the Soviet "struggle for peace."
Contrary to Miss Beloff’s claim, it was a recent suggestion by the United States to eliminate nuclear weapons in Europe that worried Europeans, and prompted the leaders of France, Germany, and England to hurry to Washington to argue against such a move. Surely these Europeans represent the majority of their populations.
Frankly, I do not understand Miss Beloff’s phrase about "balanced, verifiable reductions of arms," when right next to it she admits that "Soviet habits of secrecy" make this impossible. What then does she suggest? Should we deceive ourselves with yet another "balanced and verifiable" round of arms reductions and expose Europe to relentless Soviet blackmail, just to calm some super-nervous Europeans? All of this, mind you, when Miss Beloff herself admits that the current Soviet goal is to dominate Western Europe after neutralizing it.
Even less clear to me is what she means when she says that the "only civilized solution" is to "contain and win the struggle" by non-military means. Is she really suggesting an active ideological war against the Soviets? I would be the last person on earth to disagree with this, but, alas, even Ronald Reagan has not ventured to proclaim it as a policy. All he did was to make one speech about the "evil empire," and multitudes of fainthearted well-wishers persuaded him to stop. Besides, such a policy can be successful only if it is supplemented by tough military competition and an increasing challenge to the Soviet empire. But surely Miss Beloff would not advocate an aggressive ideological pressure on the Soviets while the West remains defenseless.