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Viktor Fainberg

Viktor Isaakovich Fainberg
Native name Виктор Исаакович Файнберг
Born the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Kharkiv
Residence France
Nationality Russian
Citizenship Russia, France
Education philology of the English language and literature
Alma mater the Leningrad University
Occupation philology, politics
Known for human rights activism and participation in the dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Movement the dissident movement in the Soviet Union
Partner(s) Marina Vaykhanskaya
Children son Yuri
Parents Isaac Fainberg and Sarah Dashevskaya

Viktor Isaakovich Fainberg (Russian: Ви́ктор Исаа́кович Фа́йнберг) (b. 1931, Kharkiv)[1]:195, 200 is a philologist,[1]:195 prominent figure of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union, participant of the 1968 Red Square demonstration,[1]:195 and fighter against punitive psychiatry.[2]

He was born to the married couple of Isaac Fainberg and Sarah Dashevskaya. In his life as a child, while attending school during an antisemitic campaign of 1948-1952, he was subjected to harassment that, in his own words, he did not reconcile himself to, but entered the fray with an abuser. As the result of these frays, he got a referral to a psychiatrist which subsequently played a negative role when Feinberg was a dissident.

In 1957, in connection with antisemitic insult, he had a fight with a policeman and for this reason was sentenced to 1 year of corrective labor.[3]

In 1968, he graduated from the English unit of the philological department of the Leningrad University where he defended his diploma thesis about writer Salinger with distinction.[1]:195 In the summer of 1968, Fainberg worked as a guide for the Pavlovsk Palace.[1]:195

Viktor Fainberg was one of the seven persons who demonstrated on Red Square in Moscow in 1968 against the intervention into Czechoslovakia.[4]:77

After his arrest on August 25, Viktor Fainberg was sent to a psychiatric examination, found insane and subjected to compulsory treatment.

The KGB had trouble. Appearance of Fainberg in the court was deemed to be undesirable since he got all his front teeth knocked out during his arrest. They found the way out to send Feinberg to special psychiatric hospital (such a decision could be adopted by a court in the absence of a defendant and without right of appeal to a higher court).

Feinberg was examined by the Serbsky Institute commission composed of G.V. Morozov, D.R. Lunts and Y.L. Lindau. In their act No 35 / s dated October 10, 1968, they did not mention the invasion of Czechoslovakia, which gave rise to this demonstration, the action was merely described as ‘disorderly conduct at Red Square,’ and Fainberg’s mental condition was described as follows:[5]

As a result, he was committed for compulsory treatment to the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Leningrad where he was confined[4]:77 from January 1969 to February 1973.[5]

At the hospital, Fainberg went on hunger strike in protest, was subjected to forced feeding and was treated with chlorpromazine despite his hyperthyroidism that was somatic contraindication to chlorpromazine therapy.[5]:122

Marina Vaykhanskaya, a psychiatrist at the hospital, assisted Fainberg by passing information about him to dissidents outside.[6] She was dismissed for this activity which helped Fainberg be released.[6] In 1974, they married and emigrated from the Soviet Union.[6]

In the emigration, Fainberg has initiated the formation of “Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuses” (CAPA) to fight punitive psychiatry in the USSR.[2] In 1983, the Soviet Union was expelled from the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).[6]

On October 27 2014, along with other 3 dissenters from summer of 1968, Viktor Fainberg was decorated by Slovak president Andrej Kiska for his show of solidarity to Czechoslovakia. He received the Medal of the President of the Slovak republic along with Vladimir Dremlyuga and Pavel Litvinov. Natalya Gorbanevskaya received the highest Slovak award, Order of the White Double Cross, in memoriam.[7]

Renowned British playwright Tom Stoppard wrote the play Every Good Boy Deserves Favour dedicated to Vladimir Bukovsky and Viktor Fainberg.[2][8]:359


  1. ^ a b c d e f Казнимые сумасшествием: Сборник документальных материалов о психиатрических преследованиях инакомыслящих в СССР / Редакторы: А. Артёмова, Л. Рар, М. Славинский. Франкфурт-на-Майне: Посев. 1971. 
  2. ^ a b c Банчик, Надежда (11–17 January 2008). "Виктор Файнберг: Одна жизнь и покушение в Париже". Интернет-газета «Мы здесь». Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Люди августа 1968…
  4. ^ a b van Voren, Robert (2009). On Dissidents and Madness: From the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev to the "Soviet Union" of Vladimir Putin. Amsterdam—New York: Rodopi.  
  5. ^ a b c d Прокопенко, Анатолий (1997). Безумная психиатрия: секретные материалы о применении в СССР психиатрии в карательных целях (in Русский). Москва: “Совершенно секретно”.   (The Russian text of the book in full is available online on the website of the organization “Help for Psychiatric Survivors” by click)
  6. ^ a b c d Жаворонкова, Юлия (November–December 2000). "Частушки в контексте вялотекущей шизофрении". Журнал «Пчела»: Обозрение деятельности негосударственных организаций Санкт-Петербурга (№ 30). 
  7. ^ "Kiska vyznamenal demonštrantov proti okupácii v roku 1968" [Kiska decorated demonstrators against occupation in 1968] (Press release) (in Slovakian). SITA. 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  8. ^ Caute, David (2005). The dancer defects: the struggle for cultural supremacy during the Cold War. Oxford University Press. p. 359.  


  • Хроника текущих событий
  • Горбаневская Н. «Герои или безумцы?»
  • Пшизов В. Синдром замкнутого пространства (Записки судебного психиатра)
  • Интервью Файнберга Международному французскому радио
  • Fainberg, Victor (1975). "My five years in mental hospitals".  


The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes videotaped Fainberg's spoken autobiography in Russian:

  • Viktor Fainberg, part 1, 39 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 2, 39 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 3, 41 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 4, 38 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 5, 40 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 6, 41 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 7, 39 min on YouTube
  • Viktor Fainberg, part 8, 41 min on YouTube
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