24 March 2022
by Semen Gluzman [introduction by Irina Vetrova]
Semen Gluzman, head of the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association and well-known Soviet dissident, describes how doctors and staff of the psychoneurological clinic in the ruined city of Chernihiv are trying to survive and how they save their patients, risking their lives in the face of complete indifference from the Red Cross. Semen Gluzman writes:
In 1961, the trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann took place in Israel. He was accused of direct participation in mass murder. When he was shown a document with his signature about the deportation of 5,000 Jews to Auschwitz from Hungary, Eichmann replied, “But they were only Jews!”
In coming years, former Russian President Vladimir Putin will stand trial before an International Court. I have no doubt of that, because I am convinced such characters do not voluntarily leave this world. Perhaps when presented with documents and testimony, Putin will sincerely answer: “But they were only Ukrainians!”
Well, what did for Hitler was his burning hatred of Jews. What will seal Putin’s fate will be his no less burning hatred of Ukrainians. At that same time in the International Court many Western officials now contributing to the invulnerability of the Russian dictator will face very specific and far from pleasant questions. I am sure there will be a discussion about the role of the International Red Cross in not wishing to fulfil its basic, humanitarian function in our war with Russia.
I have prior experience of this highly controversial international organization. My first experience with them here in Ukraine was shocking. They came to a peaceful and calm Ukraine, where there were no external or internal conflicts, to help our sinners, drug addicts, women of easy virtue and the like. The discussion we had at the time was difficult, emotional. Their experience of acting on the basis of humanitarian values in Africa had accustomed them to a very different picture of the world. But they were sincere, they wanted to help us…
Subsequently I met with them in Geneva, Copenhagen, Strasbourg. I did not ask anything of them. I was polite and inwardly indifferent. This was because I understood that in dangerous regions they work only under the protection of UN Blue Helmets. Today we are at war. A real, brutal war. On Putin’s orders, missiles and bombs are destroying our humanitarian infrastructure, our hospitals, schools, universities. The president of Russia forbids the creation of lifesaving humanitarian corridors. There are no blue helmets here in Ukraine. And no blue helicopters.
In Chernihiv, a bomb completely destroyed the psychiatric hospital. Patients and staff, 307 people altogether, are struggling to survive in a cold damp basement. We are trying to help. Our Western friends and colleagues are collecting clothes, medicine and food. The staff do not leave the sick behind, they cook food together on campfires and deliver food via secret paths. The occupying forces do not allow humanitarian aid to be brought in legally, they threaten to shoot anyone doing so. The roads are mined.
But the International Red Cross does not help. It is afraid. And I can understand them. Putin is not a man-eating African dictator. He is scarier. It’s right to fear him. You see the NATO High Command is afraid of him. They are very much afraid of him. There is only one question. Why do we need the International Red Cross in Ukraine?
I think there is a way out in this situation. There, in Switzerland, that is where the family of dictator Putin is living comfortably. I will ask the dictator’s wife for assistance. I shall only ask for one thing: for a corridor for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the destroyed psychiatric hospital. I’m sure she won’t refuse. After all, she is the mother of four children!
Translated by Rights in Russia