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Danzig Baldayev

Danzig Baldayev was born in 1925 in Ulan-Ude, Buryatiya, Russia. The son of an ‘enemy of the people’, he was subject to repression in communist Russia and sent to an orphanage for the children of political prisoners. After serving in the army in World War II, he went to Leningrad in 1948 and was ordered by the NKVD to work as a warden in ‘Kresty’ — an infamous Leningrad prison — where he started drawing the tattoos of criminals. His collection of tattoos, which he has been recording in different reformatory settlements for criminals all over the former USSR for more than fifty years (1948-2000), comprises some three thousand six hundred images.

Books by Danzig Baldayev
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia
Other artists