07MOSCOW3805, UPDATE ON UNITED CIVIC FRONT ACTIVIST’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3805 2007-08-02 15:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0019
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3805 2141508
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021508Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2652

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003805 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/02/2017 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR RS
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON UNITED CIVIC FRONT ACTIVIST'S 
HOSPITALIZATION 
 
 
Classified By: Charge d'affaires Daniel A. Russell.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
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1. (C) A Consulate St. Petersburg officer in Murmansk has 
confirmed the substance of media accounts that United Civic 
Front activist Larissa Arap has been involuntarily committed 
to a psychiatric hospital in the Murmansk region.  Arap was 
apparently hospitalized by local psychiatric authorities 
unhappy with the bad publicity about practices in their 
institutions generated by an earlier media account for which 
she was a source.  At the request of Human Rights Ombudsman 
Vladimir Lukin, the head of the Independent Psychiatric 
Association has assembled a panel of experts that was 
scheduled to travel to Murmansk August 2 in order to 
investigate the case.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) During August 1 meetings in Murmansk, a Consulate St. 
Petersburg officer confirmed media accounts that United Civic 
Front (UCF) activist Larissa Arap was involuntarily committed 
to a psychiatric hospital in Murmansk on July 5, then 
transferred on July 26 to a psychiatric hospital in the town 
of Apetity, about 300 kilometers from Murmansk, following a 
 
July 18 district court ruling. 
 
3. (U) UCF representatives said that Arap had been 
institutionalized July 5 while obtaining medical documents 
necessary to renew her drivers license.  UCF and members of 
Arap's family believe she was committed because she had been 
quoted in a June 8 article on abuse in psychiatric hospitals 
entitled "Madhouse" and published by the opposition group 
"Other Russia" on the occasion of its June 12 "March of 
Dissent" in Murmansk.  UCF told the Consulate that doctors in 
both the Murmansk and Apetity hospitals had referred to the 
article as if it were in some way related to Arap's 
hospitalization. 
4. (U) Arap had earlier been committed to a psychiatric 
institution, in 2004, after she had sought treatment from a 
doctor at her local clinic, reportedly for stress she was 
experiencing as chairwoman of her neighborhood's housing 
cooperative.  UCF claimed she was at that time 
institutionalized for about two months, again allegedly 
against her will. 
 
5. (U) Arap's lawyer has reportedly appealed the district 
court's ruling to the Murmansk regional court.  Her husband 
has filed a complaint with the district prosecutor's office. 
 
6. (SBU) Arap's institutionalization has been the subject of 
dozens of articles in national and local newspapers, and has 
sparked an outcry by the Russian human rights community.  In 
response to appeals by UCF and others, Human Rights Ombudsman 
Vladimir Lukin on July 30 asked the President of the 
Independent Psychiatric Association Yuriy Savenko to assemble 
a panel of experts to investigate the Arap case. Panel 
representatives reportedly departed Moscow August 2 for 
Murmansk. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) All of the information we have so far on this case 
comes from the UCF.  Dr. Savenko, who is well known to the 
Embassy, is an excellent choice by Lukin to try to establish 
the facts in this case.  Based on our limited information, 
the mistreatment of Arap appears to be the work of local 
psychiatric authorities, unhappy with the bad publicity about 
practices in their institutions generated by the June 8 
"Other Russia" article.  That said, questions remain about 
Arap's hospitalization two years ago, which no one is 
claiming to have been politically motivated. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

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