Doctor of Medical Psychology, the Head of the Forensic Psychological Laboratory of the Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry Viktor Guldan gave an exclusive interview to the correspondent of NI Irina Mishina.
Alexander Lukashenko’s case history was made public after psychiatrist Viktor Shchigelsky was forced to emigrate from Belarus in 2001. In his notorious article "The case history of Alexander Grigorievich Lukashenko", he gave the Belarusian leader a serious diagnosis: "mosaic psychopathy". After that, the Belarusian authorities threatened Shchigelsky that they would "catch him even in the jungle of the Amazon". The psychiatrist left for the United States, but the facts related to the mental illness of Alexander Lukashenko continued to surface. For example, it became known that in 1982 Lukashenko was discharged from the army with the same diagnosis - "mosaic psychopathy". In 1978, the director of the Mogilyov regional food department, where Lukashenko worked as the secretary of the Komsomol, turned to the head of the hospital with a request for his psychiatric examination due to inappropriate behavior. And in 1994, before the second round of the presidential elections in Belarus, the medical card of A.G. Lukashenko, who had been observed there since the mid-70s, was stolen from the archives of the Mogilev regional psychiatric hospital.
NI: What does Alexander Lukashenko's diagnosis of "mosaic psychopathy" mean and how does it manifest? By the way, does Alexander Grigorievich still have it?
Victor Guldan: The diagnosis "mosaic psychopathy" combines various forms of this pathology: hysterical, excitable, paranoid, schizoid. Therefore, it is called mosaic. In this case, paranoid personality traits come to the fore: egocentrism, an orientation exclusively towards one's own ideas and ideas. Moreover, these ideas do not lend themselves to any external adjustment.
Prolonged stay in power can aggravate this condition, as it develops on an increasing basis, as far as is known from psychiatry. In an environment of permissiveness, these personality traits can lead to delusions of grandeur and personal exclusivity. The state of such a person is always unstable. That is, you can expect anything from him.
NI: How do you assess Lukashenko's speech on August 11 in front of the workers?
Victor Guldan: It was noticeable that he was confused, he did not control himself or his speech. For example, he declares: "I will not give the country to anyone even after death!" In professional medical terms, he was in a state of "psychopathic decompensation" during this presentation. This condition is often recorded in people who are ready to commit a socially dangerous act. In general, people in such a mental state are often considered socially dangerous.
NI: In his article, psychiatrist Viktor Shchigelsky noted: "Analysis of Lukashenko's personality reveals a number of signs characteristic of paranoid and dissocial personality disorders". Isn't the diagnosis too harsh in this case - paranoia?
Victor Guldan: An analysis of his behavior leads me to believe that his thinking is paranoid. He is obsessed with the idea that he is surrounded by enemies and must be defended. Well, his last trick on August 23, Sunday, when he was running with a machine gun, and next to him was his underage son, also armed, says that such behavior is not just ridiculous - it is dangerous for others.
It is worth remembering that a few years ago Alexander Lukashenko brought his young child to the scene of an explosion in the metro, put on a general's uniform and placed him next to him on the podium... All this speaks of the peculiarities of thinking and perception of the world, which cannot but alert the psychiatrist.
NI: Psychiatrists often note a kind of pathology in people who stay in power for a long time. This is beautifully described by Marquez in The Autumn of the Patriarch. Has the mental state of Alyaksandr Lukashenko worsened his long tenure as president?
Victor Guldan: The expressed desire for power itself can be attributed to pathological symptoms. Most of all psychopaths from politics are found in totalitarian regimes and dictatorships. With Stalin, for example, over time, personality traits developed into a disease that is very similar in symptoms to paranoia. Age-related changes also play a role. But here a lot depends on the innate qualities of a person, on his mental health, as well as on his environment.
NI: The behavior of the Belarusian OMON - “men in black” - also raises many questions from the point of view of the adequacy of their behavior towards the protesters. Where does so much cruelty come from?
Viktor Guldan: The “riot police in black” - the support group of their leader - is clearly processed. I do not exclude that they broadcast paranoid ideas of their boss. By the way, paranoid people have great power of persuasion. Here paranoid attitudes of the leader and aggression, which the performers were "infected", were combined. Hence the exorbitant brutality in the suppression of protests.
NI: Some time ago, when we were discussing the protest movement, you said: “As strange as it may sound, from the point of view of medical psychology, mass rallies are more of a psychotherapeutic event. This means that the public consciousness is waking up. From the point of view of psychiatry, mass protest rallies in socially acceptable forms, this is just a manifestation of the nation's social health, or, at least, its recovery”. Is this wording applicable to the protest actions and rallies that are taking place in Belarus?
Viktor Guldan: The protesters in Belarus are people who are tired of enduring. This is a completely adequate, healthy, emotional reaction of people to colossal cruelty, injustice and usurpation of power in the country. Yes, I would say that these are healthy reflexes, when hundreds of thousands of people do not remain indifferent, when they are humiliated, deprived of their legal rights and cracked down in unacceptable ways.
NI: Forecasting is a thankless task. But what do you think about the future of Alexander Lukashenko as president?
Victor Guldan: Every dictator goes crazy in his own way.