Psikhushka is a Russian ironic diminutive for psychiatric hospital. In Russia, the word entered everyday vocabulary. This word has been occasionally used in English, since the Soviet dissident movement and diaspora community the West used the term. In the Soviet Union, psychiatric hospitals were often used by the authorities as prisons, in order to isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally. As such, psikhushkas were considered a form of torture. The official explanation was that no sane person would be against socialism.