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Elderly and Orphans Complain of Abuse

Five residents have fled a home for the elderly in Vladivostok, saying in a YouTube appeal that management was stealing their property and forcing them to work by threatening unjustified psychiatric treatment.

The appeal came as prosecutors in the Chelyabinsk region reported gross violations at an orphanage where disabled children were punished for misdeeds with forced mental treatment, local ombudsman Margarita Pavlova said.

Officials implicated in both cases denied wrongdoing Thursday. But the complaints highlight the dismal situation with rights for the elderly and disabled.

The five people in Vladivostok have found temporary accommodation in the office of the local newspaper Arsenyevskiye Vesti after fleeing the Sedankinsky nursing home, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Thursday.

They released their appeal Tuesday in a two-part video, the title of which roughly translates as "Putting the disabled through a nightmare."

The five say in the video that residents were forced to work for up to 12 hours a day, and those who complained were sent to psychiatric hospitals as punishment. They also accused an unspecified female employee of swindling a resident out of his dacha through a bogus marriage.

The nursing home director, Viktor Logachev, called the accusations in the video "an insolent and gross lie that will be appealed in court," Interfax reported Thursday.

Nursing home residents interviewed by Komsomolskaya Pravda also said they had no complaints. But regional prosecutors opened a check Thursday, RIA-Novosti reported.

This is not the first time the nursing home has made headlines. In 2009, former director Yury Sinkevich was sentenced to seven years in a maximum-security prison for defrauding residents of 100 apartments, which were awarded to his employees, but his sentence was suspended on appeal, Newsru.com said.

In Chelyabinsk, prosecutors have found that about 40 children were sent to medical facilities for offenses like smoking, drinking alcohol or leaving the orphanage without permission, ombudsman Margarita Pavlova said on her blog Tuesday.

A typical example saw teachers send a 15-year-old girl to a drug treatment clinic for two months for ditching classes, Pavlova wrote, without identifying the girl.

The girl was treated with aminazine, a powerful medication used to treat schizophrenia, she said.

Pavlova said prosecutors found the teachers' actions in violation of the law regulating psychiatric aid, but did not specify whether a case had been opened. She vowed to complain to national children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov and the regional governor.

A spokeswoman at the region's health department told RIA-Novosti on Thursday that a check had failed to confirm Pavlova's report. She spoke on condition of anonymity and did not elaborate.

Last February, the director of the Chelyabinsk orphanage was fired for feeding children food that had expired, Uralpress.ru reported at the time.

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