Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
After the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis in the spring of 2014, the former Soviet Union again became front-page news. The sequence of events led to an atmosphere reminiscent of the Cold War. In Russia itself it led to a hunt for ‘national traitors’ and ‘foreign agents’ and observers both inside the country and abroad fear a return to Soviet-style repression. For the outside world this may come as a surprise, but human rights activists have been ringing the alarm bells for a few years. Ever since Vladimir Putin took power, the human rights situation has deteriorated. One of the warning signs was the return of the use of psychiatry for political purposes, to ‘prevent’ social or political activism or to ostracise an activist.