Russian Prison Tattoos - Part 1 of 2 Spider/Spider Web – Drug User/ Addict Monastery/Church/Castle – A common tattoo rep the bearer’s time insider, the no of towers to the building usually denotes the no of years

Russian Prison Tattoos - Part 1 of 2 Spider/Spider Web – Drug User/ Addict Monastery/Church/Castle – A common tattoo rep the bearer’s time insider, the no of towers to the building usually denotes the no of years

Prison Tattoos and Meanings | Criminal Tattoo Designs

Prison Tattoos and Meanings | Criminal Tattoo Designs

The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder, the thieves' stars and religious tattoos on the chest all denote this thief's high rank. The skull in the centre of the epaulette can be deciphered as: 'I am not and will never be a slave, no one can force me to work'. 'YK' indicates the bearer has been through the 'Intensive Colony'

The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder, the thieves' stars and religious tattoos on the chest all denote this thief's high rank. The skull in the centre of the epaulette can be deciphered as: 'I am not and will never be a slave, no one can force me to work'. 'YK' indicates the bearer has been through the 'Intensive Colony'

Middle left: This tattoo means ‘I ruined my life with vodka’ (40º is the standard strength of vodka). Middle centre: ‘Taishet and Ust-Kut’ [Gulag towns in the Irkutsk region]. ‘Where will wings of fate take me?’. Middle right: ‘VTK’ Educational Corrective Labour Camp. Bottom left: ‘Fate toys with man’ Hip, stomach, shoulder. This tattoo signifies ‘Dissatisfaction with one’s fate and the anticipation of death’. Bottom centre: Latin text reads ‘Life is Brief’. Bottom right: ‘My life – is…

Middle left: This tattoo means ‘I ruined my life with vodka’ (40º is the standard strength of vodka). Middle centre: ‘Taishet and Ust-Kut’ [Gulag towns in the Irkutsk region]. ‘Where will wings of fate take me?’. Middle right: ‘VTK’ Educational Corrective Labour Camp. Bottom left: ‘Fate toys with man’ Hip, stomach, shoulder. This tattoo signifies ‘Dissatisfaction with one’s fate and the anticipation of death’. Bottom centre: Latin text reads ‘Life is Brief’. Bottom right: ‘My life – is…

The human iconography of the Russian underground. Intricate, coded prison tattoos from the 1970s-90s.

The human iconography of the Russian underground. Intricate, coded prison tattoos from the 1970s-90s.

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