“The activities of psychics is difficult to register — many will go more ‘into hiding”

Why is Russia becoming a “centre of occultism”?

After the recent detention in Moscow of a gang of psychic-fraudsters consisting of 12 people, the discussion on the regulation of the sphere of “occult services” again has intensified in Russia. Ilshat Minnegulov, a Candidate of Juridical Sciences, member of the Association of Lawyers of Russia, told in the interview to Realnoe Vremya what real measures can be opposed to the activities of false psychics and whether a special bill is needed for this sphere.

“The ministry of health has come to the conclusion that it cannot cover the activities of psychics in the registry — they will go even more ‘into hiding”

Mr. Minnegulov, why are psychics still outside the legal field, after all they have been engaged in this activity in Russia for almost 30 years?

You can't say that, because back in 2011 it was adopted the bill “On bases of health protection of citizens in Russia”, and it includes, though not quite complete, restrictions for those individuals that may fall under the concept of “traditional healers”. The article No. 50 of this law states that there is such concept — “folk medicine”, but it does not include the provision of services of an occult-magical nature and the commission of religious rites. The legislator, as you can see, focuses on this.

But a considerable number of current psychics are representatives of that particular occultism, not traditional medicine, and most often these people are very doubtful. Why we have not created a register of psychics to remove many issues in this area?

Before the adoption of this bill, there were proposals to create a register of healers for the state control of such people. Of course, it is necessary, because the public should know who are the healers and psychics, and the registry provides this information in full. People can see who treats with herbs and who works as a psychologist. These are services, and they should be understandable to consumers. Medical community and lawyers were particularly pushing for the creation of the register because such activities can have very negative consequences if not indicated specifically what psychics can do and what kind of control can be for them by the state.

Why wasn't it created? The activities of psychics and similar persons are closed, latent, and the ministry of health has concluded that it will not be able to cover in the register — many will simply go into hiding. In addition, many people turn to psychics in person, not wanting someone else knew about their problems, and the psychics themselves just do not want to make known. If the registry appears, then only in the distant future.

Photo: Andrey Gutskov (tvc.ru)

In my opinion, Roszdravnadzor and Rospotrebnadzor should finally begin to talk actively through the media about the consequences of the activities of psychics from the point of view of science, and the consequences, as you know, are unfavourable for human health

There is no register, but there is fraud, “Battle of Psychics” and so on, which creates financial problems: people can lose money in anticipation of getting rid of diseases, life difficulties and so on. How to make this phenomenon does not grow?

In accordance with the law, such activities should be carried out by Roszdravnadzor, but this is not enough. In these situations, the position of Rospotrebnadzor, which follows from the law on consumer protection, should be active. After all, this agency is primarily responsible for the quality of paid medical care, and healers are also a service sector. In my opinion, Roszdravnadzor and Rospotrebnadzor should finally begin to talk actively through the media about the consequences of the activities of psychics from the point of view of science, and the consequences, as you know, are unfavourable for human health — people can experience mental disorder, emptiness, fear, despondency, disappointment. All this leads to psychosis, disintegration of consciousness, and eventually a person can commit a crime.

Of course, the community of lawyers and doctors is very upset that there is no prosecutorial supervision over the sphere of activity of psychics, and there is only control of the executive authorities. In my opinion, the Prosecutor's office should be the chief coordinator of the executive authorities in this matter. It has a very high status, in addition, it controls the work of all law enforcement agencies in the part related to the work of physicians.

In addition to the media and government agencies, denominations should also take part in such work. As we know, religion has always struggled with magicians and sorcerers, and it puts the sin of the occult above the ordinary sin.

When it comes to advertising, that is, the dissemination of certain information, including reliable and unreliable, in such matters the Federal Antimonopoly Service should also be engaged in this — it supervises compliance with the law on advertising. And of course, both public organisations with public control and citizens themselves should also work on this.

Photo: bitva-ex.ru

Supervisory authorities, social activists, for example, can track questionable advertising of psychics in the media, on popular sites and so on and start controlling these people. But what about those “healers” who do not need advertising? Is control possible here?

There is such a problem. These healers live mainly in the hinterland, they do not need advertising, and it is almost impossible to control them — everything already depends on the results and consequences of their activities. If an offence is committed against a person's life or health, the person is put under control. If there is no harm, this issue will be difficult to solve.

Are fraud psychics difficult to bring to justice? After all, many people do not conclude any contracts with such persons, lawyers say that there is practically no legal framework for this. How is it possible to prevent such a crime?

The criminal code already provides for liability. Here, for example, we can use the article ‘Fraud’, ‘Illegal business’, ‘Tax evasion’. In the prevention of crimes, a large role should belong to the supervisory authorities and the FAS. Few people know about it, but these structures have the right to consider any appeals of citizens concerning psychics: no matter it is offers, complaints or statements.

“The centre of occultism has shifted to Russia”

I will return to the issue of adoption of a separate law on activity of psychics. Is it possible its appearance, as opposed to the appearance of the registry of healers? Probably, it would solve a lot of problems?

According to the World Health Organization, traditional medicine officially exists in 130 countries, that is, there is a global legislative framework on the basis of which such a law can be adopted. There have been the attempts to develop it, but the same expert community of psychologists and psychotherapists proposed at the federal level to adopt another, no less important law — “On psychological assistance to citizens of Russia”. This law was submitted to the parliament, but was rejected and sent for revision.

The work in this direction is underway, but when the law will be adopted — I do not know. The adoption of it would strongly push many citizens away from healers and charlatanism — people would know that the issues of important psychological assistance are coordinated by a specific law, and in addition, they would know that they always have a place to come with their problems and where they will receive free assistance.

How to make a psychologist to be more authoritative than mages and healers?

This trend already exists. In many clinics, a psychologist must see the patient, and many institutions already have a psychological service, especially when it comes to hiring, conflicts at work. But magic was and is present in our lives outside of work. The whole issue is to regulate the problem, and this can only be done by the authorities.

Photo: krizis48.ru

The expert community of psychologists and psychotherapists proposed to adopt the law “On psychological assistance to citizens of Russia” at the federal level. This law was brought in to the parliament, but was rejected and sent for revision

What importance do you attach to science? Let's refer to the experience of the advanced countries, as far as I know, there is no such problem?

Yes, the centre of occultism has already moved to Russia. In the US, there are large communities of scientists against astrology and other charlatanism, in France there is a Union of Reason. This organization also fights against charlatanism and, at the same time, is the centre of research, the results of which are scientifically justified and reasoned proposals to the state. In Russia, it is necessary to create similar organizations in many directions. If we are talking about astrology, it is necessary to create an organization with the participation of physicists, if we are talking about telepathy — then scientists in the field of psychology, psychiatry should work here.

By Sergey Kochnev