Putin Critic Committed to Mental Hospital
Disturbing echo of Soviet era tactics
By Peter Fearon, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2008 4:20 AM CST
Kremlin critic and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. A member of his opposition coalition has been committed to a mental hospital. (AP Photo)   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – An opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin has been imprisoned  in a mental hospital in a move reminiscent of the "punitive psychiatry" used to discredit dissidents in the old Soviet era. Roman Nikolaichik, a member of chess champ Garry Kasparov's anti-Putin coalition, Other Russia, was certified mentally unstable after being interrogated about his political activities, reports the Times of London.

“The current process has an obviously political nature, with Nikolaichik's political position and his involvement with the Other Russia coalition serving as its cause,” said a spokesman for Nikolaichik. Another Other Russia activist was detained in a psychiatric hospital for six weeks last year before a public outcry won her freedom.

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