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Prominent Soviet Dissident Leonid Plyushch Dies

Leonid Plyushch

Communist-era Soviet dissident Leonid Plyushch, who was forcibly commited to a psychiatric ward for nearly three years, died in France on June 4 at the age of 76.

Arina Ginzburg, a fellow dissident who was friends with Plyushch, said "he was a remarkable man who went through terrible trials."

Plyushch, a mathematician who was born into an ethnic Ukrainian family in Soviet Kyrgyzstan, was detained in 1972 in Kyiv for "anti-Soviet activity."

The next year, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Dnipropetrovsk where he underwent chemical treatments that damaged him emotionally and physically.

He later wrote that under the drugs he "sunk into a state of deafness -- emotional and moral. I lost my memory [and] stammered incoherently."

He was released in 1976 after an international campaign and he emigrated to France.

Plyushch's case was one of the first to become public and showed how Soviets under leader Leonid Brezhnev committed sane people to psychiatric wards.

With reporting by AFP
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