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The horrors of a psycho-neurological institution: punishment cell, typhoid shit and death from the cold

January 17, 2020, 11:39 276 Author: Dmitry Zhogov Special correspondent "Dumskoy" Dmitry Zhogov visited the Velikorybalsky psycho-neurological institution for adults, where another incident occurred - the ward froze to death. People are still kept there in conditions in which even animals cannot be kept.

Special correspondent "Dumskoy" Dmitry Zhogov visited the Velikorybalsky psycho-neurological institution for adults, where another incident occurred - the ward froze to death. He discovered that nothing had changed in this state institution, that people were still kept there in conditions in which even animals cannot be kept.

Carefully! This material is not for the faint of heart and children.


I don't know what to call this report. The yellow press would print a long headline: “Shock! In an area quarantined due to the plague, a mentally ill woman escaped from a typhoid hut! The unfortunate woman froze in the field! — and almost wouldn't lie. True, she did not escape from the typhoid barracks. He's next door. Wall in wall. She escaped from the "punishment cell" ... A solid publication would wrinkle its nose. Another death in a psycho-neurological institution? The patient ran away to the fields and froze? Well, they didn't kill her. You can give a small note: "Again an emergency in a psycho-neurological institution." For 200 characters.

I would call the report “Skotobaza”. This, who does not know, is a receiving shop where cattle are kept ready for slaughter. There is the smell of blood. Dirt. Cold. Tin sounds. Mat of people in quilted jackets. And hopelessness. Doom. In my articles, “cattle depot” is what I call the most dismissive and jaded, indifferent insensitivity to a person. This is the banality of evil. In Germany, there is an expression Schreibtischmorder, which means "murderer at the desk." It came into use after the Nuremberg trials. This is about bureaucratic officials in the USSR uniform who worked in the death camps, who, sitting in their offices, decided the fate of other people with the stroke of a pen. They themselves did not shoot anyone, they did not drive anyone to the gas chambers, but sorted out papers. But there was much more evil from them than from ordinary executioners. They put murder on stream, they themselves got used to it and taught others not to see evil in counting golden crowns. There are plenty of such Schreibtischmorder even now. You've met them, haven't you? This is any aphid that has been given power over people. And we are their victims. Their victim is a woman in labor who is screaming on a gurney in the hallway, but no one approaches her. A pensioner who collapsed unconscious after standing in line for hours. A paralyzed old woman in a nursing home who has been without water for two days. Not out of spite. They are just Schreibtischmorder. Indifferent motherf..ckers. They turn any state institution into a livestock acceptance shop. To the stockyard.


We are going to the village of Velikorybalskoye, in the Saratsky district. 150 kilometers from Odessa. As soon as you turn off the road, off-road begins. This is a dead end thread. The psycho-neurological institution is listed as a bold dot at the end of the path. Seven kilometers of potholes. The driver winds feverishly, driving the car between potholes and frozen bumps. Endless dirty white fields stretch. Strange, but there is not a single tree. Occasionally there are wandering people who wave their hands. Apparently, the bus here is a rare occurrence. On the side of the road, two crows ruffle the stiff corpse of a dog. At the sight of our car, the birds take off, fly to the telegraph pole. Waiting for us to pass.

I was told that when the hunters found the body of the runaway, it was badly pecked by crows. What did she run away from? Why did it not reach the village?Did no one see the silhouette of a wandering man in the field? Questions, questions. Many questions...

I remember my first visit to this place. It was summer. In a small house-barn with cracked walls - a morgue. There is the body of a ward who died suddenly. The nervous headmistress of the psycho-neurological institution with a massive "priestly" gold cross on her chest, removes the lock:

- Why did she die? Well, what do people die from ... From a disease, probably.

We are not satisfied with this explanation. Moreover, we were already secretly informed that the ward was beaten before her death.

In the house, despite the heat, it is cold. We remove the lid of the coffin. A small thin woman has her whole face torn to pieces. Nail marks are visible. The skin on hands was torn off.

- It was her mosquitoes bitten! The headmistress licks her painted lips nervously.

In the department where the deceased lived (something between a barracks and a village hut), one of the wards “shoots” a cigarette and cheerfully says:

- And they plucked her eyes out! Like this ... - shows how they dug into the face, trying to blind.

- Who scratched, who pulled out? we ask, but she just giggles stupidly. So we got nothing from her. When they came a second time with the firm intention of interrogating her, she lay blissfully drooling. Under chlorpromazine.

- Why were herstabbed?

The nurses were ruefully silent. The medical report on the death of a woman with a disfigured face reads "heart failure."

We leave the village. This is either Zarya, or Velikorybalskoe. There are no road signs. The psycho-neurological institution is a kilometer away. Here, in the village, the wards go to work. Water the garden, tidy up the yard. And all this for a pack of cigarettes. For a trifle. It's a little warmer, and a granny is sitting near the hut.

The face is wrinkled like a baked potato, and extremely curious. That's who should know everything.

- Hello, grandma. Didn't you hear that a woman ran away from your psycho-neurological institution and froze in the field?

- No, - the granny quickly answers, - I'm not a local, I don't know anything about the psycho-neurological institution.

- So here it is, visible from here, how, you don't know anything?

- I just arrived, granddaughter. To visit, - the eyes of the granny scurry at us. Feeling.

- They say that a woman was beaten here, so she ran away ...

- Who beat her here? - the grandmother is instantly offended. She has run away so many times! My daughter works here. True, not in the seventh department...

Here our interlocutor realizes that she let it slip, and, groaning, quickly hobbles home.

According to the 2001 census, 458 people live in the village. At least 250 people work in the psycho-neurological institution. That is, one of the employees lives in almost every hut. The village, like a huge parasite, stuck to the psycho-neurological institution. If it is closed, there will be no work, and it will die. That is why they are vigilantly watching the visitors. They try not to say too much.

Everyone in the village is relatives and godfathers. Probably, the policeman who found the corpse in the field is the brother-in-law of the department doctor, and their matchmaker issues a death certificate in the morgue. And the cook of the psycho-neurological institution, she is the wife of a policeman, heartily feeds her husband with meat taken out of there.

We go further, in front of the psycho-neurological institution itself - a kind of checkpoint. The road is heaped with a curb and branches on which purple ribbons flutter. What would that mean? I have a premonition that they know about our arrival here. And they well prepared. But why is there a roadblock?


In general, former combine operators, cattle breeders, veterinarians and, if you're lucky, heads of dead collective farms become directors in such remote psycho-neurological institution. Housekeepers! There may not be a psychiatrist (a psycho-neurological institution is not a medical institution, it is a workhouse, it is in the structure of “social protection”, and not the Ministry of Health). No one from the young will go here, so at best you can count on a retired old psychiatrist who still believes in the miraculous power of electroconvulsive therapy.

At the entrance to the psycho-neurological institution we are met by a ward. He smiles toothlessly. She looks about 50 years old. Or maybe 40?

- How are you doing? Are well fed?

- Fine!

- Do they give you meat?

- Not! Only salo! Meat is given to those who work!

That is, those of the wards who work hard on agricultural work.

The woman follows us, wants to say something else, but, seeing the director, quickly retreats. Director Anatoly Ivanovich Shkimbov, small, with bald patches and Brezhnev's eyebrows, stands near the entrance to the administrative building and is clearly nervous:

- Do not take pictures!

- We came here to find out the details of the state of emergency.

- What state of emergency? We don't have any emergency!

- Your ward ran away and froze in the field. She was pecked out by crows and eaten by dogs. And you say you don't have an emergency?


The director silently invites us to his office. His wrinkled forehead and darting eyes show the feverish work of thought. I'm afraid that now he will say some utter nonsense. I feel even ashamed of him. In advance. And I was not mistaken. Stupidity has matured.

- We have a closed area now. In connection with the African plague. Found in pigs. Have you seen the roadblock? So, it was necessary to immediately turn back!

- We didn't take pigs with us. Nobody seems to get infected.

- Quarantine, and you can not be allowed into the territory.

- Give official paper.

They bring us paper from the Saratsk regional administration. It states that it is necessary to take a number of anti-epizootic measures. For example, shoot wild boars.

- We are not boars. Where is it indicated that journalists from Odessa are not allowed in?

The director is covered afterwards:

- I can't do it without permission!

Drop by drop, weeding out verbal nonsense and lamentations, one has to extract information from it.

- After they found the deceased, I immediately wrote a statement to the prosecutor's office. That I don't agree with it. Since the investigation is ongoing, I can't say anything. Secret investigation.

We are desperately trying to understand the director. What does he disagree with? With the fact that they found a corpse? With she ran away? We ask again:

- Did the investigator forbid you to speak on this topic?

- I can not talk!

Tries to put our photographer out of the office, but these attempts are thwarted in the bud.

- Have you done an autopsy on the deceased yet?

- I disagree with the an autopsy !

It seems we are onto something.

- She ran away from the punishment cell, right?

- We do not have punishment cells.

God help me. I begin to mentally count to ten, inhale and exhale deeply, calm down. The wards themselves call the seventh department “punishment cell”. It is closed type. A compartment that looks like a cage in a zoo.

After I remind the official of the responsibility for concealing publicly important information, he shows us his statement to the prosecutor's office. At the same time, he is nervous, like Malchish-Plokhish, who gives out military secrets to the bourgeoisie.

The statement says that on January 8, 2017, Trandasir Elena Borisovna, born in 1963, left the psycho-neurological institution without permission. The body of a woman was found five kilometers from the outskirts of the village of Veselaya Balka (and 23 km from Velikorybalskoye, - Ed.).

Somewhere around here found a body

On January 31, the corpse was sent for a forensic medical examination. The postmortem diagnosis was cerebral edema.

I want to say right away that heart failure and cerebral edema are two diagnoses that a forensic expert in Sarat sculpts for all the dead in the psycho-neurological institution. Apparently, also someone's godfather.

The director wrote an application for a second forensic medical examination, having decided to take such an unprecedented step under pressure from public figures.

In the end, the director of the psycho-neurological institution calls Tatyana Kriva, director of the Department of Health and Social Protection of the Odessa Regional State Administration, and in a tragic voice reports that his journalists are eager to interview staff and patients in order to understand out what happened on January 8. The curve predictably says, "Keep them out!" - and hangs up.

The director turns to us:

- You heard everything. It is forbidden!

We try to convince him:

- The curve itself does not know the laws. She can't let you let journalists in or not. And you must understand that what you are going to do is sycophancy!

- This is a closed institution ... I, as a director, do not allow you to go there, - he says these words clearly, writing them down on the phone. Apparently, in order to demonstrate the Curve's later. He still cackles something, beats his wings and runs away. We go to the seventh section, or "punishment cell".


Article 6 of the Law "On Psychiatry":

“It is prohibited, without the consent of the person or without the consent of his legal representative and a psychiatrist providing psychiatric care, to publicly demonstrate a person suffering from a mental disorder, photograph him or make filming, video recording, sound recording ...”

Those who came up with this law should be put in a bag and taken to the local "punishment cell". So that he opens his eyes, and all around the patients roar and howl, and there is no Internet. Okay, no internet, but not even nightstands. There are no books. There is no telephone. Instead of a toilet, a bucket. And my stomach hurts all the time. And no psychiatrist. To keep the legislator there for seven years, as one of the wards was sitting. Locked up. And now, seven years later, journalists and human rights activists who have come to the psycho-neurological institution approach the cage with the lawmaker with apprehension. He starts yelling that he is not crazy, that he is a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada! And the director, shaking his head, says: “See how f..cked he is? You can't take pictures of it! You're violating his own rights!" And no matter how much the poor fellow begs, no matter how tearfully he asks to take a picture of him, print his face in the newspaper, no matter how much he screams that he was stolen from his house and only journalists can help ... No! It is forbidden!

The authors of the "Law on Psychiatry" probably could not even imagine the life in the Velykorybalsky psycho-neurological institution.

In recent years, many of the wards, thanks to human rights activists, have regained their legal capacity. Yes Yes! That is, they were not "vegetables" that could not be photographed without the permission of the guardian. It turned out that they were normal! Citizens made a mistake that they placed you here… Excuse me! But they wanted to talk then, they wanted to tell that they were beaten, that they cut their hair bald as a punishment, that they took away pensions, that they were turning scams with their housing. And it was impossible to record their cry, it was impossible to refer in the articles that Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich was the source of information. True, I wanted to sneeze at the law that allows you to destroy people. And still he recorded. And filmed.

One woman got freedom. Everything, you are a free bird, fly. You are healthy! Capable! But she can't leave. Nowhere. 20 years in a psycho-neurological institution. I'm used to life being on schedule. Getting out of this stuffy little world is scary!

The deputy director is coming with us to the seventh building. Tall aunt in a fur coat. The director, seeing that we were not retreating, sent her to watch. She angrily says:

- She worked all her life in accounting, then in the tax office, and , the devil brought it here. Don't even think about taking pictures. You can’t take pictures, she repeats like a parrot. - Closed place!

This grumbling of the aunt is especially angry, because have taken pictures here many times. This psycho-neurological institution has already been filmed by all central TV channels. And what, did these plots somehow harm the unfortunate wards? Maybe Aunt Dusya, who stalks in a godforsaken village for a pack of cigarettes and returns to the ward by nightfall, suffered morally because the whole of Ukraine found out that she was in a psycho-neurological institution? No. After the journalistic fraternity intervened, they at least put toilets here. They began to retrain the sick to walk not on buckets. They began to revise the diagnoses of the wards, filed cases on the illegal weaning of apartments.

- You can't take pictures! squeaks the aunt.

Seventh Corps. A plank door painted green and a yard fenced with a high, under three meters, wire. We are not allowed inside.

Guardrail height

On the other side of the wire wards. They cling to the net with their hands, rejoice. The arrival of journalists is to change. They especially want to get from this wilderness to Odessa to Slobodka. What if they help?! They ask to write down the phone numbers of relatives, call them, tell them to bother about Slobodka. Or maybe the authorities will get scared, and they will give meat instead of fat for dinner? Also good!

We ask about how life in the punishment cell has changed.

- They lock you in a room at night,” says a young girl.

She is not yet twenty. She just got here. She has a fresh face, the psycho-neurological institution has not yet marked her with its seal. She is standing in a gray crowd of comrades, in a good tracksuit, with a good "mobile" and smiles bewilderedly. She still doesn't know where she is.

- And if you want to go to the toilet at night? How?

- I can't go.

- Have you seen women shaved baldly here?

At one time, women were punished by shaving their hair. They were terribly worried. Weptы. We thought that those days were gone, but the young girl innocently says:

- Yes.

However, the staff can always excuse themselves, saying that the patients pulled out their hair in a fit, and they had to be cut.

We ask others:

- What happened, why did the ward run away from here?

- Too bad it ran away. And even in a blizzard. And why?... God knows her... eyes avert.

While we were tormented with the director, here, apparently, they had a briefing.

- They say that the nurses who were on duty then were fired?

- No, they are! There, in the wards, they hid.

An aunt in a fur coat grumbles behind:

- You listen to them more!

We continue to interrogate the wards:

- So why did this woman run away?

One ward explodes:

- And who can stand it? We are people too! What is our life system? Ate, sat, ate again, lay down. I think, why do they give injections to everyone today? And it turns out you are coming! So they need everyone to calm down and sleep!

At this time, an aunt in a fur coat, who went behind the fence, whispers to an elderly ward:

- It came from your guardian. They want to hurt you!

The fact is that the guardian - the brother of this woman - receives a pension for her and does not visit her. Maybe visit once a year. He also opposes transferring her to a medical institution with milder conditions: “Why transfer her? Don't need it!"

I was already furious, I began to reprimand my aunt furiously:

- Why do you tell her that we were sent by a guardian? Want to scare? What would, God forbid, not say what is not necessary?

Aunt in a fur coat:

- I didn't say anything! - turns away.

At this time, one of the wards shouts:

- Look, they broke my arm!” There are still bruises! Mop hit!

An aunt in a fur coat hisses caustically:

- You listen to them more! Sick people, - and adds. I see you took pictures of them after all.

I will not let the officials grab the letter of the law. And I post pictures of people without faces. Without eyes full of pain. I do not publish names and surnames.


Typhoid fever appeared in the psycho-neurological institution, they say, back in 1974. And since then, everything has not been withdrawn. So, this is the heavy legacy of the “scoop”. A person can be a carrier of the disease all his life. Therefore, those who have been ill live in the same barracks. However, next to the rest of the departments. Side by side.

From here, a disappointing view of the psycho-neurological institution cemetery opens. You sit on a waste bucket and there it is. Looms ahead. Reminds of myself. For many, the only way out of here is feet first. And the cemetery is the final destination. There are, however, still endless fields into which the ward fled.

The last case of typhoid, a disease of trench warfare of the 20th century, was recorded here in 2011.

Medical dictionaries helpfully suggest: "Typhus prevails in areas with unfavorable water supply and sanitation." The water, and the wards mostly drink tap water, is brackish here. Drinking is disgusting.

We go around the seventh department and the typhoid one, and a wild stench hits our noses. Before us is a dump of used diapers. It is not known from which barracks. Nearby is a rustic outhouse, shaky standing on a concrete container dug into the ground, full to the brim of shit. I would be afraid to go into this toilet, you can fail and drown in typhoid stool. Plus, he's all filthy. Shit is everywhere. It even hangs on the wire fencing the hut, apparently, it was poured from the "duck" over the fence. Typhoid, you say? Why did it happen?

Disgusting, but ask us. That's life

This is a state social institution, Ukraine, XXI century

The next day after our visit, mountains of diapers began to be taken out somewhere. Maybe hide in the nearest forest plantation or bury. So if there's another outbreak of typhus, we warned.

10 meters from the shitty barracks - a morgue. The same one. With tinted windows. With a cracked wall. A closed coffin is visible through the window. On the windowsill is a bent crucifix.

The deceased is waiting for a decision on a new forensic medical examination to come from Odessa, from the regional prosecutor's office. Or won't come. It's been a month, it's still going to be...

- The crows ate her face like that. Horror, the poor woman was exhausted, - the wards groaned. She tried so many times to run away, but she was always caught.

- And why are they running? Crazy! sighs the aunt in the fur coat. And then, coming to his senses, says. - You can't take pictures!


What to do with this, perhaps, the worst psycho-neurological institution in Ukraine? With rusty latrines, with typhoid fever? With all this cattle depot, you can’t go to Europe. So, one thing remains: disband the psycho-neurological institution! To transfer women to normal conditions. If for 40 years the workers have not been able to defeat typhus, if they have bred the wildest unsanitary conditions, if a whole generation has grown up parasitizing at the psycho-neurological institution, if a persistent bestial attitude has been formed towards the wards on the part of the local schreibtischmorder, then there is no other way out.

Even the GPS-navigator does not find the village of Velikorybalskoye on the map. It's like he doesn't exist. An unnamed appendix extending from the track. Dead end.

Author – Dmitry Zhogov