From the Los Angeles Times
Speak Out? Are You Crazy?
In a throwback to Soviet times, Russians who cross the powerful are increasingly hustled into mental asylums, rights activists say.By Kim Murphy
Times Staff Writer
May 30, 2006
CHEBOKSARY, Russia — Albert Imendayev collected the signatures he needed to run for the legislature last fall in this city on the banks of the Volga River. He met with supporters, prepared his campaign material. He would have made the ballot had it not been for one thing: He was hauled off to a mental asylum.
Only days before he was required to appear at the local election commission to finalize his candidacy, an investigator from the prosecutor's office met Imendayev at the courthouse with three police officers. They kept him locked up until a judge could be found to sign the order committing him for a psychiatric evaluation.
"The hearing took place, and I was taken straight off to the asylum," said the businessman and human rights activist. By the time he was released nine days later, the election filing deadline had passed and he was out of the race.