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Russian Mafia tattoos.  Part of a great series by Sergei Vasiliev.  Prisoners wanting to be transferred to prisons with good inkers to get better quality tattoos.  A body with a story - pretty much a CV...

Russian Mafia tattoos. Part of a great series by Sergei Vasiliev. Prisoners wanting to be transferred to prisons with good inkers to get better quality tattoos. A body with a story - pretty much a CV...

The Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive: AB7_jpg_590x455_q95.jpg

Best of 2014: The Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive

Photographs of Magnificent Tattoos on Russian Criminals – Sergei Vasiliev

Photographs of magnificent tattoos on Russian criminals by Sergei Vasiliev

Photographs of Magnificent Tattoos on Russian Criminals – Sergei Vasiliev

drawings made by Danzig Baldaev during his time as a prison guard between 1948 and 1986.

drawings made by Danzig Baldaev during his time as a prison guard between 1948 and 1986.

russian criminal tattoo

Symbols of a life of crime: The fading tattoos on Russia's gangland prisoners that can be read like a criminal underworld CV

The eyes on the chest signify ‘I can see everything’ and ‘I am watching’. Battle scenes and knights in armour represent executioners or overseers sometimes known as ‘fighters’. They act according to the commands of the pakhan (the head of a group of thieves, an ‘authoritative thief’), beating up or raping other inmates. They may also murder other prisoners who have been found ‘guilty’ by the pakhan. Many of these tattoos are based on ancient Russian legends.

The eyes on the chest signify ‘I can see everything’ and ‘I am watching’. Battle scenes and knights in armour represent executioners or overseers sometimes known as ‘fighters’. They act according to the commands of the pakhan (the head of a group of thieves, an ‘authoritative thief’), beating up or raping other inmates. They may also murder other prisoners who have been found ‘guilty’ by the pakhan. Many of these tattoos are based on ancient Russian legends.