Medicine: A Profession Under Stress

Long ostracized by colleagues around the world, Soviet psychiatrists try to show that they are not instruments of oppression

Soviet doctors called it psychiatry, but sometimes it seemed decidedly unscientific. For decades, sane Soviet citizens were branded as lunatics because they defied the government. They were hospitalized for years under prison-like conditions and put on powerful drugs that turned them into zombies. Particularly unruly patients were sometimes wrapped in wet canvas and nearly suffocated. As word of such abuses spread outside the Soviet Union, the country's psychiatrists became outcasts in the international medical community.

Now the Soviets have mounted a concerted campaign to regain respectability. While never admitting that Soviet doctors had ever been instruments of political oppression, the Kremlin...

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