Featured Book of the Day: Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume III

The final volume of this trilogy is the only one in print. The other volumes go for tons! If you’re not familiar with any of the books in the series, the deal is that they’re tattoos done with crude resources by Russian prisoners on each other, and they’re collected by this lifetime security guard Danzig Baldaev (his name is Danzig, heh heh hehheh). The KGB supported his collection! It was important to them to be able to establish facts about convicts by reading the images (both pictoral and text) on their bodies. You don’t need to have either of the other books in the trilogy to get into this one. Devils, penises (peni?), swords, SS cats, barbed wire, anti-party tatts — whether you’re an ink freak, photography nut, sociologist, political maverick (are any politicians really mavericks, I mean really?) or lowbrow art collector, this is the book for you. I particularly like the captions for many of the drawings that translate the meanings. Just as an example, dig the caption explaining the drawing of a rat with Russian text that translates to ‘Tightwad filcher’ for a convict sentenced for hooliganism: “He stole three packs of cigarettes and some sweets from the lockers of his fellow inmates. He was discovered and beaten up. It was decided by a group of ‘authoritative’ thieves that this tattoo should be forcibly applied as punishment.” Thazwutchoo get for stealin’ candy and smokes! These books have even influenced a movement in these parts where the youngins have actually started replicating these drawings on themselves by professional tattoo artists  — would they get their asses kicked in a Russian jail?