Viktor Nekipelov

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Viktor Alexandrovich Nekipelov
Native name Виктор Александрович Некипелов
Born (1928-09-29)September 29, 1928
Harbin, China
Died July 1, 1989(1989-07-01) (aged 60)
Paris, France
Nationality Russian
Citizenship  Soviet Union
Alma mater Kharkiv Medical Institute, Maxim Gorky Literature Institute
Occupation medicine, pharmacy, literature, poetry
Organization Moscow Helsinki Group
Known for human rights activism
Movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Criminal charge 1st term: spreading of known false fabrications that is damaging the Soviet political system (Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code), 2nd term: Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda (Article 70 of the RSFSR Criminal Code)
Criminal penalty two years in a labour camp (1st term), seven years in a labour camp and five years in internal exile (2nd term)
Spouse(s) Nina Komarova
Awards Order of the Cross of Vytis

Viktor Aleksandrovich Nekipelov (Russian: Ви́ктор Алекса́ндрович Некипе́лов, 29 September 1928, Harbin, China – 1 July 1989, Paris[1]) was a Russian poet,[2][3] writer,[4]:238 Soviet dissident,[5]:85 member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.[6][7][8]:265 He spent about nine years in prison for his participation in the Moscow Helsinki Group.[9]

Early life

Nekipelov was born to a Soviet family of workers of the Chinese Eastern Railway. In 1937, he and his mother came to the Soviet Union. In 1939, his mother was arrested and died in imprisonment. He left a high school in Omsk. From 1947 to 1950, he studied at the Omsk Army Medical School.[1] In 1950, he left the Omsk Army Medical School with honours.[10] In 1960, he graduated from the army medical faculty of the Kharkiv Medical Institute with honours as well.[10] In 1969, he graduated from an extramural faculty of the Moscow Literature Institute.[11] He worked as a pharmacist.[12][13]


In 1973, he was arrested for "spreading of known false fabrications that is damaging the Soviet political system" (Article 190-1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code).[10] According to Sakharov's letter to Gorbachev of 19 February 1986, Nekipelov was convicted for his philosophical verses that were considered defamatory by a court.[14]:560 Nekipelov was sent to the Section 4 of the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry for psychiatric evaluation, which lasted from 15 January to 12 March 1974, was judged sane (which he was), tried, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment.[2] In 1976, he published in samizdat his book Institute of Fools: Notes on the Serbsky Institute[15]:147 based on his personal experience at Psychiatric Hospital of the Serbsky Institute[16]:86 and translated into English in 1980.[17][18]:312

In October 1977, Nekipelov joined the Moscow Helsinki Group.[11] In 1977, the joint book From Yellow Silence: The Collection of Memoirs and Articles by Political Prisoners of Psychiatric Hospitals by Nekipelov and Alexander Podrabinek was completed.[19]

After publishing Institute of Fools, he was sentenced to the maximum punishment for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" of seven years in a labour camp and then five years in internal exile.[2] As Zavoisky and Krylovsky wrote, Nekipelov developed cancer caused by his permanent poisoning in a prison camp.[20]

Along with Arina Ginzburg, Malva Landa, Tatyana Velikanova and Andrei Sakharov he demanded a referendum in the Baltic republics to determine their political destiny.[21]

Released in 1987, he emigrated to France where he died in 1989.

In 1992, the selection of his verses was published by Memorial society.[22]

On his book

In his book Institute of Fools, he wrote compassionately, engagingly, and observantly of the doctors and other patients; most of the latters were ordinary criminals feigning insanity in order to be sent to a mental hospital, because hospital was a "cushy number" as against prison camps.[2] According to the President of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia Yuri Savenko, Nekipelov’s book is a highly dramatic humane document, a fair story about the nest of Soviet punitive psychiatry, a mirror that psychiatrists always need to look into.[10] However, according to Malcolm Lader, this book as an indictment of the Serbsky Institute hardly rises above tittle-tattle and gossip, and Nekipelov destroys his own credibility by presenting no real evidence but invariably putting the most sinister connotation on events.[2]

After reading the book, Donetsk psychiatrist Pekhterev concluded that allegations against the psychiatrists sounded from the lips of a negligible but vociferous part of inmates who when surfeiting themselves with cakes pretended to be sufferers.[23] According to the response by Robert van Voren, Pekhterev in his article condescendingly argues that the Serbsky Institute was not so bad place and that Nekipelov exaggerates and slanders it, but Pekhterev, by doing so, misses the main point: living conditions in the Serbsky Institute were not bad, those who passed through psychiatric examination there were in a certain sense "on holiday" in comparison with the living conditions of the Gulag; and all the same, everyone was aware that the Serbsky Institute was more than the "gates of hell" from where people were sent to specialized psychiatric hospitals in Chernyakhovsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kazan, Blagoveshchensk, and that is not all.[24] Their life was transformed to unimaginable horror with daily tortures by forced administration of drugs, beatings and other forms of punishment.[24] Many went crazy, could not endure what was happening to them, some even died during the "treatment" (for example, a miner from Donetsk Alexey Nikitin).[24] Many books and memoirs are written about the life in the psychiatric Gulag and every time when reading them a shiver seizes us.[24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Писатели-диссиденты: биобиблиографические статьи (продолжение)" [Dissident writers: bibliographic articles (continuance)]. Новое литературное обозрение [New Literary Review] (in Russian) (67). 2004.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Lader, Malcolm (26 July 1980). "Prisoners of psychiatry". The British Medical Journal. 281 (6235): 298–299. PMC 1713856. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mydans, Seth (29 July 1985). "Soviet human rights battle: only isolated voices remain". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. McCagg, William; Siegelbaum, Lewis (1989). The disabled in the Soviet Union: past and present, theory and practice. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-8229-3622-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Sicher, Efraim (1985). Beyond marginality: Anglo-Jewish literature after the Holocaust. SUNY Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-87395-975-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Political prisoners seek Reagan's aid in urging inspection of Soviet camps". The Ukrainian Weekly. LI (12). 20 March 1983.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Sakharov, Andrei (December 1980). "USSR: Sakharov's plea for poets". Index on Censorship. 9 (6): 64. doi:10.1080/03064228008533146.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Bergman, Jay (2009). Meeting the demands of reason: the life and thought of Andrei Sakharov. Cornell University Press. p. 265. ISBN 0-8014-4731-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Soviets allowing dissident to leave". The Gadsden Times. 27 September 1987.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Савенко, Юрий (2005). ""Институт дураков" Виктора Некипелова". Nezavisimiy Psikhiatricheskiy Zhurnal (№ 4). Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Nekipelov Viktor Alexandrovich" (Biography) (in Russian). Moscow Helsinki Group.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Olympics bring repression of Soviet scientists". New Scientist. 87 (1209): 97. 10 July 1980. ISSN 0262-4079.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Reddaway, Peter (August 1980). "Can the dissidents survive?". Index on Censorship. 9 (4): 29–34. doi:10.1080/03064228008533090.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Сахаров, Андрей (1996). "Письмо М.С. Горбачеву". Воспоминания. В 2 томах (in Russian). Vol. 2. Moscow: Права человека. pp. 557–562. ISBN 5771200263. Unknown parameter |trans_chapter= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link) CS1 maint: ignored ISBN errors (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Bloch, Sidney; Reddaway, Peter (1977). Psychiatric terror: how Soviet psychiatry is used to suppress dissent. Basic Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-465-06488-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Jena, S.P.K. (2008). Behaviour therapy: techniques, research and applications. Sage Publications. p. 86. ISBN 0-7619-3624-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Nekipelov, Viktor (1980). Institute of fools: notes from the Serbsky. Farrar, Straus, Giroux. ISBN 0-374-17703-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Keefer, Janice; Pavlychko, Solomea (1998). Two lands, new visions: stories from Canada and Ukraine. Coteau Books. p. 312. ISBN 1-55050-134-8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Nekipelov, Viktor; Podrabinek, Alexander [Виктор Некипелов, Александр Подрабинек] (1977). Из жёлтого безмолвия: Сборник воспоминаний и статей политзаключенных психиатрических больниц (in Russian). Moscow. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Zavoisky, Konstantin; Krylovsky, Vladimir [Константин Завойский, Владимир Крыловский] (2009). Тайно приговоренные. Как убивали члена московской хельсинской группы Виктора Некипелова. Mosty [Мосты] (in Russian) (24): 219. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Vardys, Stanley (September 1981). "Human rights issues in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania". Journal of Baltic Studies. 12 (3): 275–298. doi:10.1080/01629778100000251.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Некипелов, Виктор (1992). Стихи: Избранное. Издательство "Memorial". Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Пехтерев В.А. (2013). Ода Институту Сербского. Новости медицины и фармации [Medicine and Pharmacy News] (in Russian). 14 (465). Retrieved 8 February 2014. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Ворен, Роберт ван (2013). Отзыв на статью об Институте Сербского. Вестник Ассоциации психиатров Украины [The Herald of the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association] (in Russian). The Ukrainian Psychiatric Association (5). Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Social and political journalism
  • Nekipelov, Viktor (1966). Между Марсом и Венерой (in Russian). Uzhhorod: Karpaty. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Nekipelov, Viktor (1991). Стихи (in Russian). Paris: La Presse Libre. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Nekipelov, Viktor (1992). Стихи: Избранное (in Russian). Boston: Publishing House "Memorial". Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Komarova, Nina [Нина Комарова] (1994). Книга любви и гнева. Paris: Author's edition. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Березовский, Николай (2007). "Безумец с тусклою свечой..." [Madman with a dim candle...]. Сибирские огни [Siberian Lights] (in Russian) (Nr 4).CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>