The former camp for political prisoners 120 km east of Perm, Russia is well preserved. But this fact becomes less astonishing when you realize that it was in use until 1987. Between 1972 and 1987 it was a place of confinement for political prisoners under „strogii rezhim“. It was attached to another camp 500 meters away called Perm VS 389/36 where the prisoners were considered to be „very dangerous state criminals“ and therefore held under „osobii rezhim“. These dangerous people had publicly expressed views that were considered anti-Soviet and were therefore perceived as a serious and significant threat to state security. The cruelty and the torturous conditions of the camp overwhelming. The prison cells, the isolation chambers (the „kartser“), locks, bars and other prison facilities bear witness to the obsessive need to humiliate and degrade the prisoners. But there is also something striking about the rhetoric, the choice of language to describe the people who were locked up here for years:  The simple fact that people would actually believe that someone who had publicly said that there was tyranny in the Soviet Union or translated a chapter from the Gulag Archipelago was more dangerous than killers and rapists reveals why the system could work. Would the guards and directors of this camp really believe the descriptive language they were supposed to use to describe their everyday reality? Or was it reserved for official communication? Still they would treat the prisoners as if they were the monsters described by the official language.

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