Russian prison tattoos, GULAG, Soviet tattoo, Russian prison, Russia, Criminal, Russian Mafia, Vor V Zakone Blog about Russian prison tattoos and their meanings Russian Criminal Tattoo Photos, Meanings of tattoos Russian criminal tattoo: From studio

Showing posts with label From studio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label From studio. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Epaulette with a skull

I think this tattoo was done in a tattoo parlor. The skull looks like a tattoo from the cover of Baldaev's book Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume 1.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

PUMA tattoo on fingers

Puma tattoo
Nonsense as it is. The hand looks like a woman’s, most likely the tattoos were made outside the former USSR, since walking around with such tattoos in these parts, and even being a woman, will cause misunderstanding, to put it mildly. Abroad, of course, it looks cool, but even despite being abroad, the one who did these tattoos knew that they were prison ones. Most likely they were made based on the materials of the book by Danzig Baldaev. In any case, we will analyze these tattoos.

Tattoo Meanings

Manacle - 5 years in prison.
Star on hand - Unknown.
ИТК Яя - Name of corrective labor colony in Russia.
Padlock - It probably means that he was convicted under the specified article. 1952 is most likely the year of serving the sentence. Since the year 1952 is indicated, you need to look at the criminal code of 1950.

Article 73 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR

Resistance of individual citizens to representatives of the authorities in the performance of their duties assigned to them by law, or coercion to perform obviously illegal actions, accompanied by violence against the personality of a representative of authority, -

imprisonment for a term not less than one year.

Resistance to the authorities, not accompanied by violence - imprisonment or corrective labor for a term of up to six months or a fine of up to five hundred rubles.

On the thumb - an anarchist prisoner. Spit on the regime, the cops and the prosecutor's office.
On the index finger - He was convicted under article 117 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR.

Article 117 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR

Acceptance by an official personally or through an intermediary in any form of a bribe for the performance or non-performance in the interests of the giver of any action that the official could or should have performed solely due to his official position, - 

imprisonment for up to two years.

If the receipt of a bribe was committed under aggravating circumstances, such as: a) the responsible position of the official who accepted the bribe, b) in the presence of a previous conviction for a bribe or repeated receipt of a bribe, c) with the use of extortion by the person who accepted the bribe, -

imprisonment for a term not less than two years with confiscation of property.

On the middle finger - Authority.
On the ring finger - Hooligan. A prisoner convicted under Article 206 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR. However, there is no such article in the Criminal Code of the RSFSR of 1950, it is in the code of 1960.

Article 206 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR

Hooliganism Hooliganism, that is, deliberate actions that grossly violate public order and express clear disrespect for society, -

shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term up to one year, or correctional labor for the same term, or a fine up to two times the minimum monthly wage.

Malicious hooliganism, that is, the same actions that differ in their content by exceptional cynicism or special audacity, or are associated with resistance to a representative of the authorities or a representative of the public who performs the duties of protecting public order, or other citizens who suppress hooligan actions, as well as committed by a person previously convicted of hooliganism, - shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term up to five years, or correctional labor for a term up to two years. Actions provided for by the first or second part of this article, if they are committed with the use or attempt to use firearms, or knives, brass knuckles, or other edged weapons, as well as other items specially adapted for inflicting bodily harm, -

shall be punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to seven years.

On the little finger - Registered in the zone. Sign of fate. The prison gave a nickname.
ПУМА - Nickname.

Let's summarize

If 1952 on the hand is the date of his release, then in the criminal code of 1950 article 73 is excluded, and article 117 is rape, which does not fit in with the signet-ring of authority. If you look at the criminal code of 1926, then there is no article 206 at all.

In general, the tattoos look beautiful, well done, and the meanings are complete nonsense, but who knows about this?

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Tattoo artist at work

A grin, a bardak, a church - work in the studio is in full swing.

Monday, November 19, 2018


"If you follow the truth - you will be erased till the ass" or something like that. What does mean? That is what it means. By the way, this prison aphorism was made in a tattoo studio. There is also a tattoo They are tired of looking for happiness.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Epaulette from studio

On russian blog some anonymous wrote comment with meaning of VEK tattoo. Read meaning you can here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Epaulette with crown

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From studio

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


It's not from Russian prison, it's from tattoo studio.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Which may mean this tattoo?

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Cat tattoo from Baldaev book.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Owl tattoo from Baldaev's book

Another tattoo from Russian criminal tattoo book. I not sure but i think this owl mean night thief.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Danzig Baldaev

Danzig Sergeyevich Baldaev –
- a St. Petersburg police officer, a collector of prison tattoos and prison folklore. For some time he worked as a prison guard at St. Petersburg “Kresty”, because of his work he travelled the country a lot thus he visited many of the Soviet prison camps. In general, there is not very much information about him, there are different interviews and some other stuff, but there is a lot of contradicting information about his biography. According to some sources, he took part in World War II, according to the others, he was not there. The date of his birth also differs but most likely it's 1925. The only thing is known about him for sure, it is that he collected prison tattoos and which he gathered quite a lot. On the basis of his collection a few books were published- Tattoos of Prisoners and Russian criminal tattoo which appeared in English in three volumes.

Tattoos of prisoners

Russian criminal tattoo

The book Tattoos of Prisoners is harder to find on the market than Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia, but the contents of the book has been going over the internet for a long time. Almost all the pictures of prison tattoos and their meanings which you can find on the internet and not only on the internet are all the pictures of Baldaev. He was drawing tattoos wherever he could, in prison camps throughout the Soviet Union, and there are more than 3,000 tattoos in his collection.

D.S.Baldaev among the authority of the prison during the collection of materials in the CLC number 9 of strict regime, village Gorelovo, Leningrad Region, 1989.

Here are a few pages from the book Tattoos of Prisoners

Apparently there is not so much text in the book, mostly drawings. The remaining scans of the book can be viewed here.

And here are pages from the book of Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia

Besides the books about tattoos Baldaev has a couple of interesting books: "Drawings from the Gulag," or in English "Drawings from the Gulag" and "Thieves' Slang Dictionary." I have not read these books by Danzig as well as the previous ones.

Drawings from the Gulag

The authenticity of these pictures has been doubted by some people as they think that all this is a flight of the author’s fantasy. I’m giving some pictures for reference the rest can be viewed here.

Thieves’ slang dictionary

The book is a gift signed and autographed by the author you can tell it is a rarity!
Video with Danzig Baldaev

There are not so many videos with Danzig Baldaev, at least on the Internet. Here are all the videos I could find. In one part he speaks of his drawings, which many people consider to be fiction to make self-PR.

And here it is the report of the First Channel on Danzig’s presentation of his book "Tattoos of Prisoners." The presentation took place not in some Writers' House but in the famous Kresty!

And here are the tattoos from the book by Baldaev made on his drawings. Of course tattoos are made in salons and their carriers have nothing to do with the criminal world.

Authoritative Thieves’

The tattoos of reputable thieves were discovered in 1954, then they "moved" under the collarbones, were spread to the CLI (corrective labor institution???) of Ural.

Cat Tattoo

I do not know the meaning if this tattoo but the cat is a symbol of a thief so it is related to the thieves’ tattoos. Please note that a cross on the hat is missing on the finished tattoo.


A thieves’ tattoo, a fighter’s grin. MIR abbreviation means - "Shooting down will mend me." CLC-7(от Correctional Labor Colony???). 60s. Chest, left side.

Duel of Peresvet vs Chelubey in Kulikovo Field

Some people in prison made tattoos of paintings of Russian artists. For example, the ultimate fighter Alexander Yemelianenko made a tattoo of the duel between Alexander Peresvet and Tartar hero Chelubey on his chest. In the photo Alexander’s tattoo is not completed yet, I have not found a good clear photo of this tattoo. As soon as there is a picture I'll post it for sure.

Danzig Baldaev describes this tattoo as follows: "A Russian men's nationalist tattoo of a major criminal authority, repeatedly convicted for theft, robbery and armed assaults on people of non-Russian nationalities in the cities of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic - Shymkent, Jambul and Alma-Ata. According to the tattoo owner, he comes from the Cossacks. Copied in a prison in Alma-Ata in 1968. " Here is the painting itself on which the tattoo was made. The author of the painting is Mikhail Ivanovich Avilov. This work is one of the most famous works of the artist.

The Bogatyrs

No less interesting tattoo from Baldaev’s collection was on the back of the famous St. Petersburg skinhead Dmitry Borovikov (killed during the arrest in May 2002nd). The tattoo of picture of Victor Vasnetsov "The Bogatyrs" which is more popularly known as the "Three Bogatyrs" was made in the salon as Dmitry was not tried.

The description of the tattoo made by Baldaev:

"Art tattoo of a thief in law, a major criminal authority, convicted before the Second World War under Art. 162, 167, 59 for theft, robbery, participation in a riot. In 1951, the carrier of the tattoo was convicted under the decree of ПВС (не нашла такого) from 04/06/47 for the twenty-five years in prison for theft of state property. Had nicknames: Lazo, Ivan Kolymski. The tattoo was made by prison camp artist in SCP 'Adygalah" in Kolyma. It was copied in the prison in city of Vladivostok. 1951"

An interesting fact, the picture of "The Bogatyrs" had being pained by Vasnetsov for almost 20 years!

Oderint dum metuant

An art thieves’ tattoo with an inscription in Latin Oderint dum metuant which means "Let them hate, as long as feared." This expression is used to describe the power or the ruler, who builds his power on fear of his subordinates. I've seen probably a dozen or more photos of Baldaye’s tattoos made in an American tattoo salon. I wrote an Email to the salon with a request to send me these photos for my blog. I received no answer, and after my letter all pictures of the tattoos have been removed. Later, I realized the reason of deleting all these photos. And it was so: a Russian who lives in the United States saw these photos and wrote to the owner of that salon for these tattoos are in demand and that if needed he would be found and so on. After that, I wrote a salon owner the request for photos for the blog, and I would even write the address of salon where they were made if necessary. Well, in general, he got scared and decided to delete everything in order not to have problems. Among those photos there was a picture of an epaulet tattoo. I hope one day they will appear again on the net and I'll post them here.

Owl with crowbar

Tattoo owl with crowbar possible mean night thief.

Fashion style

An interesting case happened with Baldaev’s tattoos in the UK. Clothing company called Chic Burton released a T-shirt with a picture of one of Baladaye’s tattoos. At the moment of printing of these products, no one knew what was written on the T-shirt. When they found it out,they immediately removed from sale all the T-shirts. And there was written "Let us clear out Russia of all non-Russians!"

Here is the tattoo

Copied to the CLC-9. 1999. The explanation of the tattoo’s carrier:
"When I was free I worked as a turner. It was a bit cold in the workshop and I was wearing a black tank top. There was a Russian asshole in the workshop, an unskilled worker, when he saw me, he called out, "Hey you, Tatar, help to remove the motor from the car!" And I "helped" him - for insulting me, a Russian, a Tatar I punched him in the nose and broke his nose. I have the third category in boxing. I finished vocational school in Kazan and I couldn’t stand this nation - Tatars and Jews. Ivan the Terrible after occupation Kazan killed them all from the old to the infants. If I had a chance, I would sent them all to their Allah, and along with the Jews. It is necessary to clear all Russian lands: the Urals, Siberia, Russia."

And this is the T-shirt. Its price is 12?

It is hard to evaluate the contribution made by D. Baldaev. All the work he did in the prison camps copying the tattoos will have being discussed for a long time by experts and amateurs of prison painting and criminal subculture in general. His drawings is a chronicle of the Soviet era which took place on the other side of the fence. The material he managed to stamp on paper will be passed on from generation to generation, over the years, and perhaps even over centuries. Maybe one day his works will be included in the category of retro tattoo. As you can see from the photos, his paintings are already being made in the salons, and will continue to be made. I have not so many photos of Danzig Baldaev, in this article posted all the photos I could find.

Danzig Baldaev

P.S.: If anyone has any more of his pictures, please give me the link.
P.S.S.: I will be filling up the article with new photos of Baldaev’s salon works as they become available.


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