Russian Prison Tattoos

22 04 2009

Recently, I watched the documentary film, The Mark of Cain, on the tattoos and life in Russia’s harshest prisons. It was interesting to see how symbols of Orthodox Christianity were used by criminals to symbolize their biography of crime. Cupolas on a church, for example, symbolize how many crimes they have committed in their criminal history. A Golgotha scene represents murder, while thieves have their own symbols, and so forth. I highly recommend this documentary, but it is not for the faint of heart.

It reminded me quite a bit of the phenomena in Mexico of criminals tattooing Santa Muerte on themselves as a promise to her, though the tattoos of the Russian inmates seemed to be far less significant in terms of their religious interpretation.