Russian Prison Tattoos – Hidden Meanings, Dark Art And Punishment

Russian prison tattoos carry an epic depth of meaning and have spawned a whole genre of ink art. Dark and strangely beautiful, take a peek.

Here’s a snap shot of some of the meanings behind the tattoos. These meanings were more solid when prisons were under soviet influence and prison gang rule was more prevalent:

243 in a badge: killed a police officer, it’s taken from the California penal code and would be often worn on the arm or hand that had done the damage to the cop.

Bear: professional safe cracker.

Beetle: pickpocket.

Bells: signify the wearer will serve his whole sentence.

Cat: single cat normally means a lone thief, a group of cats means they operated as a team.

Churches, Mosques and Fortresses: normally the number of towers or spires indicates how many years they’ve been incarcerated.

Dagger: sex offender.

Goat: informer (I guess that’s one of the ones you don’t choose for yourself).

Rose with thorns: prisoner came of age in prison.

Stars: on the knees mean that he will kneel for no one. On the shoulders it means he is a man of discipline, status, and tradition.

Skulls: murderer.

ACAB: often across the knuckles, this came from British culture, meaning “All Coppers Are Bastards”.

Russian Prison Tattoo - Cello

I know the art work is rough in places, I know the life style is deeply harsh, but there’s something undeniably cool about the way these guys look.

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