In Russia, Criminals wear Uniforms
The symbol you see at the left, a diamond with a black dot in the center, is a coded symbol used among Russian criminals. This particular one means: “Осужден по ст. 144 УК РФ – кража личного имущества.” And that translates as: “Convicted of Art. 144 of the Criminal Code – the theft of personal property.” In other words, it’s the symbol for “thief.” When you get sent to a Russian prison, you may well pass the time by tattooing yourself with such a symbol, if you want proclaim to all the world your pride in being a criminal, and indeed to announce just what sort of felon you are.
You may find this a rather obscure bit of trivia about Russia, and it surely is, until you look at the following photograph taken last weekend on Pushkin Square in Moscow. It’s a photograph of a police colonel confronting Yuri Schevchuk, the Russian Bruce Springsteen, and preventing him from singing with amplification as part of a protest against the Putin dictatorship. We wrote about this event in our last issue.
You may or may not be able to make out the symbol decorating the left middle finger of this “police officer,” if not you can click the image or click here for magnification.
After all, if this is what passes for a police officer in Russia, then do you dare imagine what passes for an ordinary citizen?
Of course, it could be that Russians should be glad to see police officers boasting of their criminal prowess. That’s because the alternative may well be much, much worse. Take for instance the photograph Oleg Kozlovsky recently highlighted on Facebook:
What’s that pin on the officer’s left lapel (another one of Putin’s fine fellows who responded to crush the opposition rally on Pushkin Square)? Why, it looks like . . . but it couldn’t be could it?
Yes, it is! It’s a “United Russia” political button. In other words, this officer is publicly, officially, expressing his support for Putin’s party of power. While on duty crushing opposition party activists.
So indeed, perhaps it would be better if he were just an ordinary thief.