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«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

September 4, 2023, 15:35 125 Author: Valery Konstantinova The fate of Zaporizhzhia psycho-neurological institutions during the occupation.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

There were four psycho-neurological institutions of social protection in the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region

Before the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, 10 boarding institutions for social protection of the population were fully functioning in the Zaporizhzhia region, in which there were 2.4 thousand inhabitants. Among them: two - geriatric boarding houses, 7 - psycho-neurological institutions and one orphanage.

"Over a thousand inhabitants in the occupation"

According to Irina Taran, head of the Department of Social Protection of the Zaporizhzhia regional state administration, the Mykhailiv Psycho-Neurological Institution, the Berdyansk Geriatric Boarding School, the Orlovsky Psycho-Neurological Institution and the Preslav Psycho-Neurological Institution are located in the occupied territory of the region. According to the last reported information, there were 1,013 inhabitants in the institutions.

"As of May 1, 2022, there were 244 people in the Berdyansk geriatric boarding house, 259 people in the Mykhailivsky PNI as of August 1, 2022, 319 people in the Preslavsky PNI as of September 1, 2022, and 191 people lived in the Orlivsky PNI during the same period. This information was reported to us by the heads of the institutions," said Iryna Taran.

She explained that people with mental disorders who have reached retirement age and people with disabilities who have psychoneurological diseases are admitted to these psycho-neurological institutions for state maintenance. In addition, the psycho-neurological institution takes care of people over the age of 18 who, due to their health, need care and medical assistance and are not medically contraindicated to stay in such institutions, regardless of the presence of parents or relatives who are obliged to support them.

"The director was kidnapped"

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the russian military took about 200 people to an unknown destination from the Mykhailo psycho-neurological institution, which is located in the village of Pokazne. All employees of the medical facility were dismissed. In the future, a military hospital for the treatment of wounded russian servicemen is planned to be located on the territory and in the premises, according to the General Staff.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

Mykhailo psycho-neurological institution, archival photo

According to the Department of Social Protection of the Zaporizhzhya Oblast, before the full-scale war, the Mykhailo psycho-neurological institution was designed for 275 beds. The institution had two buildings, a separate administrative building, boiler rooms, garages, a bakery, a workshop for occupational therapy, and warehouses.

According to medical recommendations, the inhabitants were involved in occupational therapy. They had the opportunity to visit the library and places for recreation and leisure.

"About the Mykhailivskyi PNI, I can say that the acting director of this institution was kidnapped by the occupiers. He was held for about three days. He did not agree to cooperate and was "deported" to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. Now he is in our department, he continues to work together with 14 employees of this institution who refused to cooperate with the enemy and were able to leave the temporary occupation to Zaporizhzhia," said Taran.

Who sided with the occupiers?

In the Preslav Psycho-Neurological Institution, 4 residential buildings that can accommodate up to 340 people function for the residence of the inhabitants. Buildings, a medical center, a food block were renovated in the institution, the territory was arranged, there are areas for rest and leisure, various activities were held, Taran said.

Orlov Psycho-Neurological Institution was designed for 200 people. There are 3 residential buildings on the territory. There is a separate canteen for 80 people. The institution had a rehabilitation center, places for leisure and a library. There was a football team in the psycho-neurological institution, which won prizes in competitions.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

Preslav psycho-neurological institution, archival photo

"From September 1, 2022, the heads of the Preslavskyi and Orlivskyi psycho-neurological institutions went over to the side of the aggressor. Since then, we have had no contact with them. We did not receive any more official information from there. There is an assumption that these institutions continue to work, and the inhabitants have remained there," the official said.

Unknown fates

According to Taran, the Berdyansk geriatric boarding house housed elderly people and persons with disabilities before the full-scale invasion. On the territory there were two buildings in which the inhabitants lived, an occupational therapy workshop, where various activities were held. People were constantly trying to do something to keep them from feeling lonely, she says. Other regional residential institutions went to Berdyansk for chess competitions, volleyball, festivals, etc.

"In the Berdyansk geriatric boarding house, the current head of the institution categorically refused to cooperate with the occupation authorities, and they removed him from the management of the boarding house. Collaborators appointed their own person in his place. We do not know what happened to most of our inhabitants. Since this boarding house was not of a closed type, the inhabitants staying there could freely go outside the territory. Due to these reasons, some patients managed to leave on their own, which was reported to us by the relevant services. Some of them went to the west of Ukraine, some went abroad," said Taran.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

Communal institution "Berdyansk geriatric boarding house", archival photo

According to her, the inhabitants of these psycho-neurological institution did not have time to evacuate in an organized manner.

"Unfortunately, due to the intense hostilities, the rapid development of events, the occupation and the lack of a "green corridor" (evacuation path - ed.), we did not have the opportunity to evacuate our inhabitants. As long as there was an opportunity, we took care of them, maintained contact with institutions, tried to deliver humanitarian aid, medicine. Now we are taking all the necessary measures to return all our inhabitants after the deoccupation of these territories and place them in safer places," said the head of the Department of Social Protection.

"Work according to the legislation of the russian federation"

Despite the occupation, the Berdyansk psycho-neurological dispensary continues to work and receive patients. One of the employees of the institution, on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, told that they continue to provide free treatment there as before. However, many drugs are not available and patients' relatives have to find and buy drugs on their own.

"Drugs are very expensive. For example, 10 tablets cost $ 5. This is enough for 5 days. And a person needs to take these medicines throughout his life. Previously, after prescribing drugs, they were issued free of charge. Now without a russian passport they do not issue. Emergency assistance is provided to everyone, regardless of whether a person has a russian passport or not," said an employee of the facility.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

There were four psycho-neurological institution of social protection in the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region

According to the interlocutor, since May of this year, all employees were forced to take a russian passport in order not to be fired. All personnel were re-registered according to russian legislation.

"The institution is often inspected, the commission comes from moscow. They watch how we work, check the documents so that everything is up to the new standards. New modern equipment for the laboratory was also allocated. In addition, the dispensary purchased video surveillance cameras. Although, it is prohibited in mental hospitals," he says.

Given the hostilities and russia's occupation of parts of the southern territories of Ukraine, the editors cannot obtain official confirmation of some of the statements made or independently verify them.

"They died due to terrible conditions"

The lawyer of the NGO "Expert Center on Human Rights" Olena Temchenko said that their organization will also work on the issue of the return of people from psycho-neurological institutions who suffered from the actions of the occupiers.

"We have certain discrepancies in the numbers that are currently being provided. And this is the fate of people. The public united with the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights to identify everyone," Temchenko said.

«Inclined to cooperate and «deported»

Olena Temchenko

According to her, in other psycho-neurological institutions that were under occupation, the inhabitants were "kept in very terrible conditions."

"After the release of the Kupyan psycho-neurological institution (Kharkiv region), the inhabitants were taken to safe regions and we communicated with them. People talked about very terrible conditions, for example, a street toilet disappeared somewhere, and in its place there was a big hole. People were subjected to psychological violence. They did not have enough food, so they ate 1-2 times a day. Because of this, they were forced to build ovens on the street and cook on an open fire in order to have at least some kind of warm food.

The lawyer says that during the occupation, patients of the Chernihiv psychiatric hospital were also in the basement without electricity.

"There was a high mortality rate, the doctor testified about it. Due to the fact that people with mental disorders were kept for a long time without light in the basement, which was used as a storage, they could not tolerate such conditions and died," she said.