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Here’s a clip from the acclaimed, and must see Russian Mafia Tattoos documentary by Alix Lambert titled The Mark of Cain. In this clip you will see and hear stories from inmates who discuss the importance of their tattoos and how you can tell a certain thing about another person by the quality of their tattoos. More Russian Mafia Tattoos…


Decoding Russian Mafia Tattoos

Russian Mafia Tattoos

To the naked eye, one look at the Tattoos of the Russian Mafia and they appear to be nothing more than cathedrals, portraits, crosses, stars and spider webs - that’s what you’re supposed to think.  Little did we know, until movies like Easter Promises hit the silver screen, that Russian Mafia Tattoos and Russian Mafia Symbols are very intricate and hold grave meaning and conviction upon the host.

It’s hard to be absolutely sure of the exact translation that some of these tattoos contain, as I’m sure things have been manipulated and adjusted throughout history, but here are some basic interpretations of common Russian Mafia Symbols:

  • Cathedral, Church or Monastery - Usually on the chest, shoulder, or back.  Depending on the number of steeples or towers are shown on the tattoo, it translates to the number of years, or number times an individual has been incarcerated.
  • Stars - If there are star tattoos on the shoulders, it typically symbolizes a individuals dignity and honor and that he lives by a certain code and tradition.  Star tattoos on the knee caps are usually given once a member has become promoted to Captain status, and it symbolizes that the owner of the tattoo will never be brought to his knees.
  • Pirate Tattoo - This means that the owner has committed armed robbery, or article 167 of the Russian Criminal Code.
  • Cobweb - Usually found on the shoulder.  Thought this tattoo has become popular amongst suburban rebels and movie stars, in the Russian Prison system it stands for drug addiction.  Not something I’d want to be boasting if I was an actor or professional athlete!

More Russian Mafia Tattoo designs…


Chopper Tattoo Design

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