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7 Sep, 2010 04:30

Ex-martial arts fighter escapes psychiatric facility

A former martial arts fighter with a history of violence and racist beliefs has escaped from a psychiatric facility outside St. Petersburg. Media reports claim he has already committed a crime.

Vyacheslav Datsik’s extreme aggression in the ring used to scare both his opponents and the public.

Murder threats, assault, robbery and an alleged psychotic breakdown eventually saw Datsik placed in high-security psychiatric care.

Yet even during his confinement, he was able to establish links with an extremist political movement, the Slavic Union, which is presently banned in Russia. After being transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Druzhnoselskoye, just outside St. Petersburg, Datsik was somehow able to escape.

Although the hospital quarters are kept sequestered, with barbed wire running along the perimeter, it clearly did not provide the required level of security.

In addition, it appears that Datsik’s time in psychiatric care was far from the strict rehabilitation that might be expected, given his history. Visits from friends and access to mobile phones meant he was able to use his time in hospital to strengthen relations with the nationalist group’s members to gain support and followers.

“He actively participated in campaigning and preparing for the Russian March last year,” leader of the Slavic Union, Dmitry Demushkin said, referring to a campaign organized each year by ultra-nationalist organizations. “He helped with establishing contacts with athletes and organizing two sporting events.”

Leonid Efremov, head of the psychiatric unit that monitored Datsik, said the inmate was no longer considered high-risk when he was transferred to a new institution.

Efremov said Datsik escaped by simply using a towel to prize open the wire fence during his walk with the attendant nurse.

He just ripped it up and off he went,” Efremov said.

Questions are now being raised as to how this could have been allowed to happen, including Datsik’s placement in a facility with inadequate security conditions.

“We don’t have special guards or any police security system in our hospital,” Efremov said. “It is intended for ordinary patients. There are no provisions here for such instances. Perhaps the police or the court did not know our conditions here before they sent him.”

Whether the courts, the police or the doctors who assessed him are to blame for the oversight, Datsik has already received strong support from his new friends.

Well done Slava!” Demushkin praised Datsik. “We were amused. I wouldn’t tell you where he was even if I knew anything.”

Police are now hoping his high profile will make it hard for Datsik to hide for long.