Russian Prison Tattoos


Russia tattoo

This collection of photos of Russian prisoners from the 1970s to the 1990s is intense. Fair to say these guys are pretty badass. The messages their tattoos convey tell us much more than initially meets the eye. There is a specific code to Russian prison ink, and these photos by Arkady Bronnikov, the leading expert in Russian prison and criminal tats, gives a pretty scary insight into what was going on behind bars during this period.

As the Soviet Union began to fragment and fall apart, a lot of these guys were left to rot in high security prisons and facilities in Siberia. Conditions were awful, and combined with the rise of AIDS at this time, it meant that the price for using dirty needles to do the inking could be very high indeed.

(Check out no.8 to see what we mean about risking dirty needles)…