Twentieth-century psychiatry was transformed in the 1950s and 1960s by the introduction of powerful psychopharmaceuticals, particularly Chlorpromazine (Thorazine). This paper examines the reception of Chlorpromazine in the Soviet Union and its effect on the Soviet practice of psychiatry. The drug, known in the USSR by the name Aminazine, was first used in Moscow in 1954 and was officially approved in 1955. I argue that Soviet psychiatrists initially embraced it because Aminazine enabled them to successfully challenge the Stalin-era dogma in their field (Ivan Pavlov’s ‘theory of higher nervous activity’). Unlike in the West, however, the new psychopharmaceuticals did not lead to deinstitutionalisation. I argue that the new drugs did not disrupt the existing Soviet system because, unlike the system in the West, the Soviets were already dedicated, at least in theory, to a model which paired psychiatric hospitals with community-based ‘neuropsychiatric dispensaries.’ Chlorpromazine gave this system a new lease on life, encouraging Soviet psychiatrists to more rapidly move patients from in-patient treatment to ‘supporting’ treatment in the community.