Vladimir Serbskii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Serbskii, Vladimir Petrovich


Born Feb. 14 (26), 1858, in Bogorodsk, now Noginsk, Moscow Oblast: died Apr. 5 (18), 1917, in Moscow. Russian psychiatrist; a founder of forensic psychiatry in Russia.

Serbskii graduated from the faculty of physics and mathematics at Moscow University in 1880 and in 1883 from the university’s faculty of medicine. He was a student of S. S. Korsa-kov. From 1892 to 1900 he taught a course in forensic psychiatry in the faculty of law at Moscow University; beginning in 1900 he taught a course in psychiatry in the university’s faculty of medicine. In 1902 he became a professor in and the director of the university’s psychiatric clinic.

In 1911, Serbskii retired in protest against the reactionary policies of the minister L. A. Kasso. That same year, at a congress of Russian psychiatrists and neuropathologists, he gave a speech directed against the autocracy; his speech served as a pretext for closing the congress. In 1913, Serbskii published a denunciation of the commission of experts investigating the Beilis case.

In 1890, Serbskii proved that catatonia is not an independent disease. He was the first to advance the concept of a modern form of home nursing for the mentally ill. He developed a theory of two criteria of nonresponsibility as well as a procedure for forensic psychiatric examination. Serbskii wrote the two-volume manual Forensic Psychopathology (1896-1900). He was a founder of the S. S. Korsakov Journal of Neuropathology and Psychiatry and of the Russian League of Psychiatrists and Neuropathologists. He created a school of psychiatry that included P. B. Gannushkin, E. K. Krasnushkin, N. E. Osipov, and L. M. Rozenshtein. The Central Institute of Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow has borne Serbskii’s name since 1921.


Formy psikhicheskogo rasstroistva, opisyvaemve pod imenem katatonii Moscow, 1890.
K voprosu o rannem slaboumii (Dementia praecox). [Moscow, 1902.]
Kratkaia terapiia dushevnykh holeznei, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1911.
Psikhiatriia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1912.


Vvedenskii, I. N. “V. P. Serbskii i ego rol’ v obshchei i sudebnoi psikhiatrii.” In Problemy sudebnoi psikhialrii, collection 7. Moscow, 1957.
Frumkin, Ia. P., and I. Ia. Zavilianskii. “V. P. Serbskii.” Vrachebnoe delo. 1958, no. 4.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In her desire to write a comprehensive history of psychiatry, Sirotkina is occasionally distracted from her primary focus, as when she supplements details of Osipov's career with an account of how he was invited to work in a Moscow clinic by Vladimir Serbskii. In the final two chapters of this study the lack of a central literary author around whom the discussion revolves is arguably a similar weakness.