“The apartment is no longer seen – I was brought to the STUMPS, and now I’m a nobody”

In psycho-neurological boarding schools are people who in life are not lucky. They were born ill or became ill in adulthood, got in an accident or committed some fatal mistake, lost loved ones and homes or were victims of housing fraud. Where and how could these people to live, if Russia has developed a system accompanied by a stay, and whether society is ready to accept such people. Special correspondent of “Kommersant” Olga Allenova begins a series of publications on “Pravmir” about people living in boarding houses.

  • STUMPS – it’s as if you’re partially erased with a sheet of paper
  • They want their children died and were not included in the internat
  • “I was in the STUMPS near St. Petersburg, and it’s hell. More than a thousand shadows”
  • They call themselves “plaid”: for what can be in tree STUMPS

One day of freedom

Nastia 35, the past 10 years, she lives in a psychoneurological boarding school. We met her 8 years ago when I went there with volunteers for Christmas. I noticed her because she was very “live” — long, brown hair, freckles, and laughing eyes. She willingly talked and complained about the native aunt, who sent her niece into the STUMPS immediately after the death of her mother. In institutions such stories very much, they are not always transmitted reliably, and it is impossible to check them is a private life where the volunteer access is closed.

Two years later I again came to the orphanage and spotted Cindy: it was a much older woman, with wrinkles on her face, stooped and withdrawn. “What do you want? Go by yourself”, she told me. But then I found out, wrapped his arms around me and cried. We talked for almost an hour. I learned that she has a sister — they were born and lived in St. Petersburg. After the death of his mother, their aunt decided to take orphans into their own. “I don’t know how it happened. I still went to school, when we went from Petersburg to Moscow”. Most of his St. Petersburg apartment she saw.

She finished school and went to University to be a lawyer. Studied well. But the relationship with her aunt did not happen. “She’s a nurse. I think I slipped something in the food”. Nastia got this obsession – it seemed to her that the aunt hates her and wants to poison. She directly talked about this. “My sister was silent, so my aunt didn’t touch her. And my psychiatrist took. He said he was hallucinating”.

In Moscow, Nastia had friends, it was all too late to go home. “Yes, I was on a spree. Loved discos, clubs, companies. Might not come home that night. Done clubbing until the morning.” She started using alcohol and drugs. The study didn’t quit, passed examinations for “excellent” and “good”.

And soon my aunt called an ambulance, psychiatric treatment and sent her to the hospital. “She told them I threatened her to kill, to kill himself. I did not say anything. I spent in a mental hospital for two months. From there I was brought into the STUMPS. Once deprived of legal capacity. Now I’m no one.” She has not been able to finish University. I haven’t seen her with her sister. Ever since I was in St. Petersburg. “I know that sister resigned from his aunt and lives with a guy in the apartment. But she does not come to me”.

She looks around the sad eyes my tiny room into the STUMPS. We sit together – her roommate left to go out. She asks me for a phone – opens the web site, finds the page of your favorite DJs, eagerly considering.

The psychiatrist is convinced that Nastia, obsession and schizophrenia. I’m not a doctor. But I’ve known her for several years and think she could live by herself under little supervision. In fact, care is needed only in order to take medicine on time.

The girl tried to return the capacity. She scrubbed the floors in the orphanage and cajoled the user. She was allowed to undergo a medical examination, and she lay for a month in a psychiatric hospital. But they decided that she can’t live independently and be responsible for their actions. In the restoration of legal capacity was denied.

I don’t know how the Commission’s decision objectively. But I know what questions to ask on such commissions. There are wondering who is the Prime Minister of our country, how much is a carton of milk at the store, how to pay the debt for utilities in the Bank. Because of its isolation of people from STUMPS may simply not know the answers to such questions. The man pulled out of his usual environment and moved to the harsh conditions of the psychiatric hospitals under stress, which also affects his condition.

Photo: DenArt / photocentra.ru

At the same time I know that in developed countries people with schizophrenia live in society — in homes assistiveware accommodation or apartments with support of the caseworker who monitors the medication. And only in the acute state they are admitted to the hospital.

Denial of restoration of viability of Nastya deeply worried. Her capability is the freedom and the opportunity to go to town. In fact, the availability of capacity has nothing to do with the right person to go outside, and only concerns the ability to make financial and other transactions. By law, PNI is a social institution where people are voluntarily.

However, the Russian STUMPS behind the gates of boarding school produce only units capable citizens, loyal to the administration of the institution. So living in STUMPS people are convinced that the return of legal capacity is a ticket to freedom. But unfortunately, even the presence of capacity does not guarantee receipt of such a ticket – I know a lot of capable residents of boarding schools, who may leave the institution only with a special permit.

One morning she had run away from the orphanage, and at night it came back. When I visited her, she seemed very calm.

Listened to my words about that now, after escaping, to restore the capacity even more difficult. “I understand that,’ she replied. But I wanted to see free people. I forgot how they look”.

I asked her how she spent her day out. She borrowed money from friends in the orphanage and bought a ticket on the train. “I rode the bus, then the train. Itself. Nobody touched me. I was like everyone else.” Drove to the house of her aunt, knocked on the door. My aunt opened up, cried and went to call STUMPS. “She was crying and calling. I looked at her and asked: “Why would you do that to me?” Then I sat and waited, when me will come. Though the house stayed”.

These memories it will last for some time. Then she’ll run again. Or die. Because to live like she wants.

Photo: Stepan Rudik / stepanrudik.com

In someone else’s underwear

Dmitry 60. His room is only a bed. I ask where his clothes are, he replies: “All on me”.
— A change of underwear?
Nothing I have no more. Today was bath, cleaned up, gave underpants, shirt, pants. Shirt here. In a week will vary.

The residents STUMPS no personal belongings and even underwear. Every time after “bathing” people give out clean linen, and things sent to the General Laundry. In many STUMPS complain about the poor quality of washing and sterilization of clothes. I’ve seen people with scabies and other skin infections, which in the conditions of such institutions are very difficult to treat.

Toilet paper, soap and a mug standing on the windowsill. “I have a table here,” — says Dmitry. He is afraid to Express their desires, as any resident of the STUMPS. And suddenly say something? He almost never goes for a walk, because a walk only lead line. As in the dining room.
— You do that here?
Well, I’m probably incapacitated. I guess I’m not…

The absolute ignorance of their rights, of his true situation, the fear of making a request, ask a question, trying to justify their dreadful situation by the fact that “so necessary” — these are all symptoms of living in a totalitarian society. PNI is a totalitarian sect.

Dmitry has allowed me to see with his own business, which I did during one of the social audits. I didn’t find any information on that he is incompetent – on the contrary, in the list of the residents of that office, he was numbered among the capable. In the column “diagnosis” — “organic disease”. Very vague wording, which can hide anything: for example, trauma affecting memory loss or mental changes, or attempt to evict the “unwanted” human occupied housing. In the individual case, indeed, says that in 1978, Dmitry was involved in a car accident, having a traumatic brain injury, however, after that 30 years, he lived at home. To KICK it with 2009.

Photo: Olga Allenova / Kommersant

— I had a flat. I worked as a driver. The officers were taken. He lived with his mother and brother. And in ‘ 78 I in Burdenko surgery after the accident. And I began to drink a lot. Brother me the key was closed, so I didn’t. Then I coded. Then snapped. And here so many years and don’t drink. And does not pull.

In the personal case of Dmitry is the agreement of 1997 on the donation of his apartment his brother Nicholas. As donors are Dmitry and his mother. He says he did not sign such a contract. Mother and he lived in the apartment for another year after registration of the deed. And then the mother died suddenly, and after 2 years died and his brother Nicholas. “He drank with someone of vodka and the next day died.” The apartment was officially back to Dmitri as the sole heir. But he ended up in the STUMPS. “I don’t remember what happened. Was at home, and then open my eyes – here I am. I drank, of course.”

Now in the personal file of Dmitry says that he spelled out in the apartment of a cousin. Cousin is his guardian.
— I’m not complaining at him, he’s a guardian. Will come once a month, cigarettes will be delivered.
And you are not hurt?
— Well visits, and I thank him.

Dmitry intact intellect and memory, he answers questions on the merits, not aggressive, calm, friendly. The availability of capacity is the fact that part of the pension remaining after the payment of the 75% in favor of the orphanage, he gets his hands on. However, to spend these 4 thousand nowhere, so the money he gives to the nurse, so she bought him cigarettes.

— You want to live here?
— No, I’d really like to go. But where?
— Are you taking medication?
Yes.
— Help?
A few drinks, and weakness, sleep.

Six months later, after this conversation I went to see Dmitry again – life in the boarding school has changed a bit, closed section was disbanded. He was allowed to independently go into the yard and into the dining room. He did surgery and sent to a sanatorium. In his room appeared a bedside table. He cheered and thanked for the table, for free access to the dining room, for transfer to another Department. But I still not understand why he lives in the STUMPS and not at home.

Photo: Olga Allenova / Kommersant

Prison forever

Alexey Voronin was born in the winter of 1940. Hands tattoos, jargon – prison. From the first minute of the conversation asks him to bring “fluffy tea.” That is, the loose, black. In the boarding school provide only packaged, sachet a day and he wants a lot.

The doctor immediately told me that I didn’t bring Alex black tea: “He used to booze, but we can not”.

— Used to give a fluffy tea, and then canceled, — complains to me Alex. — In packages tea tasteless.
— Canceled, probably to the booze you drank.
— Chifir, yeah — grins slyly. The booze as I like, used by thieves to caferati. And what is there still joy?
— Smoke?
— No. I threw this poison. And don’t drink. Destroys the body. I better be booze drank, for the tone.

Despite his age, he looks cheerful. On Sundays goes to the home Church located on the territory of the STUMPS. “I lead an orderly, standing behind me”.

Tells about the life sparingly: poorly studied, was a difficult teenager, served in the construction battalion in Konigsberg. After the army began to steal. Stayed in prison a total of 31 years.

— 7 times I was put.
— For what?
— For murder, for theft.
— Whom did you kill?
— Neighbor killed my brother. Drunk. I suffered, suffered. A few years suffered. And then killed a neighbor. Drunk all. Oh. Before for stealing sat on the little things. And then went for a long time.

In 2004 was released from prison, came home, but the house has not found the hut burned down and the land sold to relatives.

— So I ended up in a madhouse. As fate has it my sweet. My sin was falling on me, that punishes.
— And who you told about sin?
— But how not to sin. Do not kill. Heavy sin I have committed. The devil has possessed your soul. My soul took then.

Photo: Olga Allenova / Kommersant

He is silent for a long time. I ask the question, but he did not seem to hear. Touched by the hand, shuddering.

— What, sweetheart?
— How are you here anywhere?
— I never was in a madhouse. At first I was assigned to the General boarding. 4 years I lived there. Well, I drank, I drank. They got me in a psychiatric hospital were sent. There I was tied up, beaten, pills stuffed in his mouth. Out of the asylum already sick. Incapacitated. And pensions deprived. I wrote a complaint to the authorities of the orphanage, then another two. They told me to take revenge on steel. I was transferred to another school. There I also dashed off a complaint that I was illegally deprived of legal capacity. I was not on the court! But who will prove it. Psychiatrist fuflyzhnaya … been told, and I was transferred here, to the closed. Deprived of freedom, that’s it. I did my time. Me were released into the wild. Claims to me at the bodies there. Who will prove.

In the personal case of Alexei given a single diagnosis of mental retardation. I’m not a doctor. But during the conversation with him mental retardation in no way manifested, rather, deviant behavior, which in the conditions of lack of freedom and constant pressure can move in an uncontrollable manner.

In 2009, Alex ran away from the orphanage. He was found and brought back. In 2010, he ran again. Found in a month. Six months later I ran away again. All three times he ran to his fire-damaged home, wandered in the district, where it is found. During the last escape, the police refused to prosecute and track down the Alex – he is a free man, in a boarding school is voluntary.

Photo: Stepan Rudik / stepanrudik.com

Document with the police’s refusal have on his record is another proof that the STUMPS no right to forcibly hold people. But across the country being coerced.

Alexey has a bad heart and stomach. For several years he was forced to take chlorpromazine, which began with stomach pain. His complaints went unanswered. Six months after public scrutiny of chlorpromazine in the boarding school was canceled, Alex appointed modern long-acting drug.

He no longer complains of pain, but still begging for “fluffy tea”.

— I want to freedom. And nothing happens. Well, at least tea.
— From their you have nobody left?
— Only the dead. All in burial. Sleep the eternal sleep. My train left.
I just want friends here? It’s wrong to lie.
— What friendship under lock and key? And I don’t lie. Go to the dining room. Watching TV. And nothing else, sweetheart. Some of the walls and the bed. What is life? Only side I see. Work – not working. For cigarettes other floors are washed, but I don’t smoke. 75 years to me, sweetie. The train has left. The case goes to the burial.

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