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Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive

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This thief is tattooed in the traditional fashion with a large image (usually a church or a cross) taking up the most important part of the body: the chest. This is intended to show a devotion to the thieves’ traditions and stand as proof that his body is not tainted by betrayal, that he is ‘clean’ before his fellow thieves. The number of cupolas on the church signifies the number of convictions (in this case six).

On the left leg a sailing ship with a white body, shaded sails and flags on the masts is the distinctive sign of a ‘nomadic traveller’, a migrant offender who travels to various cities to commit theft. On the right leg is a genie emerging from a lantern. The sign of a drug addict, this can also mean that the bearer was convicted of a crime while under the influence of narcotics.

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