Artist Profile

ARTHUR APANSKI

CAN YOU BEGIN WITH AFGHANISTAN?

The war in Afghanistan had a dramatic impact on my life. In the Soviet school system there were compulsory courses called military preparations for beginners. Lessons included introduction to the weapons: pistols, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, grenades, and so on. I learnt how to take these weapons apart and use them. The last two years was spent preparing students for the army. I won a number of competitions between schools and received a sharpshooter’s badge. My teacher told me that he was proud to deliver to the Soviet Army a good marksman. That is when I realised that the play with paper targets was over: I was heading to Afghanistan.

I refused to join the army because of the war in Afghanistan. I told the military office, ‘I simply don’t want to kill anybody or be killed.’ Next morning I was picked up from my flat by uniformed people and delivered to the Republic Psychiatric Hospital where they subjected me to insulin shock therapy for three months. I was given the diagnosis of schizophrenia

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