Alexander Podrabinek

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Alexander Pinkhosovich Podrabinek
Native name Александр Пинхосович Подрабинек
Born (1953-08-05) August 5, 1953 (age 69)
Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Citizenship  Soviet Union (1953–1991) →  Russian Federation (1991–present)
Alma mater I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University
Occupation physician, paramedic, human right activist, journalist, writer
Known for human rights activism with participation in the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes and struggle against political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, the founding of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia
Notable work Punitive Medicine, Dissidents
Movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union, Solidarnost
Spouse(s) Alla[1]
Children son Mark
Awards 2013 award of Znamya magazine, Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom

Alexander Pinkhosovich Podrabinek (Russian: Алекса́ндр Пи́нхосович Подраби́нек; born August 8, 1953, Elektrostal[2]) is a Russian journalist,[3][4] human rights activist,[5] editor-in-chief of Prima information agency and Ekspress-Khronika newspaper.[6][7] He works at Radio France Internationale[8][9] and Radio Liberty.[10]


Alexander Podrabinek was born on 8 August 1953 in Elektrostal near Moscow.[2] He enrolled in the Department of Pharmacology of a medical institute in 1970 and worked as an assistant in a biology laboratory at Moscow State University.[11] From 1971 to 1974 he studied at school for medial assistants and received certification as a paramedic. He went on to work in the Moscow ambulance service.[11]

Soviet dissident

Soviet dissidents in the upper row are Naum Meiman, Sofiya Kallistratova, Petro Grigorenko, his wife Zinaida Grigorenko, Tatyana Velikanova's mother, the Priest Father Sergei Zheludkov and Andrei Sakharov; in the lower row are Genrikh Altunyan and Alexander Podrabinek. Photo taken on 16 October 1977[12]

In the Soviet Union era, Podrabinek was a Soviet dissident.[13][14]

For political reasons, Podrabinek was denied entrance to medical school.[15] At the age of 20 in 1971, he worked in the ambulance service. During this time, he became interested the political abuse of psychiatry after reading poet Vladimir Gershuni's memoir of his treatment in Oryol Special Psychiatric hospital.[11][15] Podrabinek began to compile his own book, Punitive Medicine, in which he intended to examine such abuse in detail.[11]

On 5 January 1977, Podraninek initiated creating the Working Commission to Investigate the Use of Psychiatry for Political Purposes.[16] Members of the Commission visited psychiatric hospitals, wrote appeals to hospital doctors, and published information on psychiatric abuse in information bulletins.[11][17]

In 1977, Podrabinek published his observations in the groundbreaking book Punitive Medicine.[18][19] The KGB approached Podrabinek's family, threatening arrests of Alexander and his brother Kiril (who had criticized the treatment of conscripts in the Soviet army in a samizdat essay) if the family did not emigrate.[11] Alexander held a press conference at the home of Andrei Sakharov, stating his refusal to submit to blackmail.[11] On 15 August 1978, he was sentenced to five years of internal exile on charges of "anti-Soviet slander".[20]

After serving the time, Podrabinek was allowed to work in a medical emergency team again.[citation needed]

He was also editor of the first Soviet underground samizdat journal A Chronicle of Current Events.[citation needed]

From 1987, he edited the weekly samizdat bulletin Express Chronicle, which won a high reputation among Western journalists in Moscow and circulated in about one hundred of the major Soviet cities.[21] In 1987, he tried to initiate a campaign for amnesty for political prisoners.[22]

In March 1989, he participated in the founding of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia.[23]


Podrabinek started working freely as a journalist only from the beginning of Perestroika and Glasnost.[citation needed] From 1987 to 2000 he was editor-in-chief of the weekly human right magazine Express Chronicle («Экспресс Хроника»).[21][24] Since 2000, he became editor-in-chief of the Prima information agency, which specializes in human right questions.[25]

In 2004, he was involved in publishing and distribution of book Blowing up Russia: Terror from within written by Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky. Unsuccessful in finding a publisher for the book, authors printed an early draft in Russian for would-be publication in Moscow in 2004. On December 29, 2003, Russian Interior Ministry and FSB units seized 4,376 copies of the book printed in Latvia and purchased by Alexander Podrabinek's Prima information agency, which had passed customs control and were being trucked from Latvia to Moscow for retail delivery.[26] Podrabinek was summoned by the FSB to come for interrogation on January 28, 2004, but refused to answer the questions.[6][27][28][29][30][31][32]

In March 2006 Podrabinek was briefly arrested in Minsk for involvement in peaceful protests against the re-election of the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko for the third term.[33]

In some publications, he expressed his concern about the revival of the use of psychiatry for political repression in Russia,[34][35] including the non-voluntary hospitalization of Larisa Arap.[36]

On 3 June 2008, he became a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.[37]

Podrabinek was targeted by the nationalist youth movement Nashi after publishing an editorial on in September 2009 about a Moscow restaurant changing its name from "Anti-Soviet" under pressure from local officials who said it was offensive to "Soviet veterans."[38][39][40]

In March 2010 he signed the online anti-Putin manifesto of the Russian opposition "Putin must go".[citation needed]

On 25 September 2013, he held a protest in support of imprisoned Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot band.[41]

Since 2014, Podrabinek is a host of program "Deja Vu" at Radio Liberty.[10] His articles have been published by the Institute of Modern Russia.[42]

On 4 May 2016, Podrabinek published An Open Letter to the Prosecutor of Crimea.[43]

In 2015, Pordabinek was awarded with the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.[44][45][46]

Podrabinek appears in the 2005 documentary They Chose Freedom and in the 2013 documentary Parallels, Events, People.




  • Podrabinek, Alexandre; Mathon, Tania (June 1981). "Déclaration finale" [Final declaration]. Esprit (in French). 54 (6): 127–145. JSTOR 24268683.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Podrabinek, Alexander (1990). "Does the Soviet press have a future?". Index on Censorship. 19 (8): 2–3. doi:10.1080/03064229008534912.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Podrabinek, Alexandre (2009). "Liberté russe et tolérance européenne" [Russian liberty and European tolerance]. Revue Russe (in French). 33 (1): 17–23.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Александр Подрабинек (2014). Клеточников. Zvezda (in Russian) (2). Retrieved 21 March 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading



  1. Подрабинек, Алла (2010). "По пути к Большой Медведице" [On the way to Big Dipper]. Zvezda (in Russian) (2).CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The trial of Alexander Podrabinek" (PDF). A Chronicle of Current Events. Amnesty International Publications (Nr 50): 81–89. 1979.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Luty, Jason (January 2014). "Psychiatry and the dark side: eugenics, Nazi and Soviet psychiatry". Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 20 (1): 52–60. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.112.010330.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Russian journalist fears high-level death threat". Index on Censorship. 29 September 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Russian journalist fined for 'anti-Soviet' web article". Radio Liberty. 27 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Newsline - January 28, 2004. FSB summons activist editor for questioning". Radio Liberty. 28 January 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The persecution of Human Rights Monitor. December 1988 to December 1989. A worldwide survey. Human Rights Watch. December 1989. p. 330.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Davidoff, Victor (13 October 2013). "Soviet Psychiatry Returns". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 9 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Judan, Ben (1 October 2009). "Reporter says criticism of Soviets brought threats". The San Diego Union Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Автор: Александр Подрабинек" (in Russian). Radio Liberty.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Rubenstein, Joshua (1981). Soviet Dissidents: Their Struggle for Human Rights. London: Wildwood House. pp. 230–232. ISBN 978-0-7045-3062-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Подрабинек, Александр (2014). Диссиденты (in Russian). Moscow: АСТ. ISBN 978-5-17-082401-4. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Peunova, Marina (September 2008). "From dissidents to collaborators: the resurgence and demise of the Russian critical intelligentsia since 1985". Studies in East European Thought. 60 (3): 231–250. doi:10.1007/s11212-008-9057-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Shipler, David (Summer 1989). "Dateline USSR: on the human rights track". Foreign Policy (75): 164–181. doi:10.2307/1148870.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 Kosserev I, Crawshaw R (24 December 1994). "Medicine and the Gulag". BMJ. 309 (6970): 1726–1730. doi:10.1136/bmj.309.6970.1726. PMC 2542687. PMID 7820004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Miku, Natalya; Molkin Alexey [Наталья Мику, Алексей Молькин] (2015). "Консультант правозащитной ассоциации "Рабочей комиссии по расследованию использования психиатрии в политических целях"—врач-психиатр А.А. Волошанович" [The consultant of human rights association "The Working Commission on Investigation of Use of Psychiatry in Political Goals "—Psychiatrist A.A. Voloshanovich]. Современные научные исследования и инновации [Modern Scientific Studies and Innovations] (in Russian) (3).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Voren, Robert van (2009). On dissidents and madness: from the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev to the "Soviet Union" of Vladimir Putin. Amsterdam—New York: Rodopi. p. 45. ISBN 978-90-420-2585-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Langone, John (10 April 1989). "Medicine: a profession under stress". Time.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Langone, John (24 June 2001). "A profession under stress". Time.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Rohrer, Daniel (1979). Freedom of speech and human rights: an international perspective. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. p. 100. ISBN 0840319878.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. 21.0 21.1 Meier, Andrew; Reddaway, Peter B.; Podrabinek, Alexander (1988-12-08). "Soviet Psychiatry: A Message from Moscow". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2016-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Александр Подрабинек (2015). Наша кампания за амнистию. Zvezda (in Russian) (4). Retrieved 2 September 2015. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Savenko, Yuri [Юрий Савенко] (2009). "20-летие НПА России". Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal [The Independent Psychiatric Journal] (in Russian) (1): 5–18. ISSN 1028-8554. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Hodge, Nathan (2009-06-02). "Old Habits". International Reporting Project. Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved 2016-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Newsline – January 28, 2004: "FSB Summons Activist Editor For Questioning"". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 2004-01-28. Retrieved 2016-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. [1] Archived June 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  27. Гостайну не выдал by Orhan Cemal, Novaya Gazeta, January 29, 2004.
  28. Uzzell, Lawrence (4 February 2004). "Kremlin threatens human rights activist". North Caucasus Analysis. 5 (5).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Правозащитника Александра Подрабинека вызвали на допрос в ФСБ". 27 January 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. ФСБ: В книге "ФСБ взрывает Россию" разглашена гостайна,, January 28, 2004.
  31. "ФСБ и милиция арестовали тираж книги "ФСБ взрывает Россию"". 30 December 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. ФСБ задержала тираж книги "ФСБ взрывает Россию",, December 29, 2003.
  33. "Russian authorities support Lukashenko". Human Rights House Russia. Retrieved 2016-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Podrabinek, Alexander [Александр Подрабинек] (15 August 2015). "Российские коммунисты мечтают о советской психиатрии" (in Russian). Radio France Internationale. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Podrabinek, Alexander [Александр Подрабинек] (29 August 2015). "Тоска по советской психиатрии" (in Russian). Radio Liberty. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Podrabinek, Alexander [Александр Подрабинек] (2 August 2007). "Хотелось бы иметь права" [One would like to have rights]. Novaya Gazeta (in Russian) (Nr 58).CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. "Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, June 3rd, 2008, Prague, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Declaration text". 3 June 2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. Robinson, Matt (29 September 2009). "Russian journalist in hiding after Soviet critique". Reuters.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Odynova, Alexandra (6 October 2009). "Kremlin advisers warn Nashi youth". The Moscow Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. Pamfilova Won't Apologize to Nashi, The St. Petersburg Times (October 9, 2009)
  41. "Husband: Pussy Riot band member hospitalized". San Diego Union-Tribune. 29 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. Podrabinek, Alexander. "Articles". Institute of Modern Russia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Podrabinek, Alexander (14 May 2016). "Открытое письмо прокурору Крыма" [An Open Letter to the Prosecutor of Crimea] (in Russian). Eжeдневный Журнал.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. Сулькин, Олег (11 July 2015). "Александр Подрабинек: "Системе надо противостоять"" (in Russian). Voice of America. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. McIntyre, Ken (12 June 2015). "Anti-Communist Group Honors Cuban Dissident Who 'Lost Hope' in Obama". The Daily Signal.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. Edwards, Lee (19 June 2015). "Yes, communism is still with us". Human Events.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>