The Soviet law ‘On Criminal Liability’ 1958 defined ‘especially dangerous political crimes’. The definition included several somewhat reworded ‘counterrevolutionary crimes’ from former criminal codes: high treason, espionage, acts of terror, wrecking, sabotage, anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, war propaganda, attempts to organize especially dangerous political crimes as well as membership in anti-Soviet organizations, and other ‘especially dangerous political crimes committed against any other laborers’ state’.
The late 1950s’ legislation provided for ‘supermax’ prisoners of state to be strictly separated from other prisoners. At first such divisions were established in all camps and correctional facilities where such prisoners were kept; in the early 1960s, all of them were collected in Dubravny camp, Mordovian ASSR where nine camp divisions were prepared to that end.
The largest group among them was convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. The second-large group of prisoners consisted of ‘nationalists’ who were convicted of struggle for independence of the territories which were annexed by USSR in the beginning of World War II, mostly West Ukraine and Lithuania. Quite a number of the prisoners were collaborators. Some convicts in these camps were charged with high treason or attempted high treason, with attempts to flee USSR, some with espionage or divulgence of official or military secrets, or with attempts thereof. A few convicts were charged with other crimes which were legally classified among especially dangerous political crimes: terrorism, wrecking, sabotage.