- WHY FATIMA
- FATIMA CENTER
- PRAYER & DEVOTION
by John Vennari
While Mikhail Gorbachev travels the world, speaking of peace, brotherly love and social justice, his own brother-in-law has been left to rot in an asylum.
Yevgeny Titorenko, the younger brother of Raisa, Gorbachev's wife, has spent the past 13 years in a bleak psychiatric hospital in southern Russia, abandoned by his family.
Mark Franchetti, a Moscow correspondent writing in the January 28 London Times, reported that Titorenko, 65, was incarcerated in 1988 in an asylum close to Voronezh, 300 miles southeast of Moscow.
He is confined to a desolate 19th-century brick building cut off from the outside world by a heavy metal gate and high walls. He shares a cramped room with six other inmates. The windows are covered by metal grilles and he is escorted by staff to the lavatory.
The men, who are rarely allowed to leave their living quarters, live on buckwheat porridge and cabbage soup. The hospital can rarely afford to buy meat and has enough funds only for basic painkillers and some sedatives.
According to the staff, neither Raisa nor her husband had ever visited Titorenko. The last time he received a parcel or any other assistance from his family was in 1992, when Raisa sent books and food. She apparently had no further contact with him before her death in 1999.
Titorenko's only income is a pension of Pounds 20 a month. He has not even received any assistance from the Gorbachev Foundation, set up by Gorbachev after he was forced from power in 1991. Supposedly, the Gorbachev Foundation was established to help charitable causes. It is actually an advocate of rapid environmentalism, abortion, population control and the anti-Christ global politics of the United Nations, including the plan to eliminate four billion people from the world's population.
Three years younger than Raisa, Titorenko graduated from a naval academy and served in the Soviet navy until 1958, when he left to work as a builder. He later turned to writing children's stories, publishing several books which earned him a place in the Soviet Writers' Union. He moved to Voronezh in the late 1960s, married and had a daughter.
But while his sister rose up the social ladder, Titorenko drifted in and out of depression and sought solace in vodka. In the mid-1970s his wife left him.
According to one of Titorenko's close friends, Raisa took him to see a doctor on several occasions. There were long spells in rehabilitation clinics, but his condition continued to deteriorate. Shortly after Gorbachev became the Soviet leader in 1985, he was given a bigger flat in Voronezh. But he soon took another turn for the worse.
Determined to avoid a scandal that could have damaged Gorbachev's reputation, the Kremlin and local KGB officers took swift steps to ensure that Titorenko's problems remained hidden. Any embarrassment would have been magnified since one of Gorbachev's first actions as leader had been to confront widespread alcohol problems with draconian laws that virtually banned the sale of vodka and other spirits.
Franchetti reports that, according to former friends of Titorenko, the local police kept him away from prying eyes. His telephone number was changed every few months so that only a small group of people knew how to contact him. Even they eventually stopped visiting so as to avoid being harassed by the KGB.
Raisa made only one mention of her brother in her autobiography, I Hope, which was published in 1991 and did not mention his confinement.
The few Soviet journalists who were aware of his addiction dared not write what they knew. Only one newspaper reported where he was. People in charge of the hospital still angrily refused to talk about the case.
Eduard Yefremov, a former friend who used to visit him regularly in hospital, said: "The fact that his sister became the most powerful woman in the Soviet Union brought no privileges to Yevgeny. If anything, it made him all the more isolated."
Yefremov explains that Titorenko was left to himself, cut off from the outside world by the KGB and was under constant surveillance. "I myself was once asked by a local Communist party boss to report on him", said Yefremov. "Being his friend became more dangerous so people stopped looking after him."
Another former acquaintance of Titorenko's said: "After all these years in that home there isn't much left of the man he once was. I have spoken to some of the staff and they say he is wasting away. He has been abandoned. It is incredible to think that he is Gorbachev's brother-in-law."
Ironically, Gorbachev was an invited speaker at the Vatican's November 2000 "Jubilee for Politicians". Likewise, on June 27, 2000, the day after the release of the Vision of the Third Secret, the Vatican staged a press conference at which Mikhail Gorbachev was given a place of honor between Cardinals Sodano and Silvestrini.
This is in stark contrast to the wise policy of the pre-Vatican II period wherein the Holy See never welcomed with open-arms Ambassadors of Godlessness such as Mikhail Gorbachev.