ith the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, mafias all across Russia were free from communist law constraining their criminal activities, meaning that they went on a spree of crimes that made them insanely rich. The 90s is known as the most fruitful period in time for Russian mobsters and this is shown off by the tombstones of those who lived high and ruled with a loaded guns during that period of time.
In Yekaterinburg, Russia there is a graveyard that is dedicated to the Russian mafia, filled with expensive marble tombstones. Big tombstones with depictions of the deceased are a normal tradition that started in the 1970s within Eastern European countries, but these mobsters take it to the next level by not only having statues of themselves on the tombstone but also statues of the cars they have driven during their “reign”.
A tombstone with opulence
The reason for having these tombstones made besides being very rich is to portray their wealth and power even after death. All of the portraits and statues are made to the exact height and width of the deceased, paying attention to the smallest facial details. The Shirokorechenskoe cemetery truly shows the true power and cruelty behind the Russian mafia.
Besides having their names and even nicknames engraved on the marble tombstones, they would also have either a small message to their enemies or their expertise in the world of crime such as being a great marksman or very skilled with a knife. Most of the tombstones depict the deceased in a very thought pose, showing that even after death they will not let their guard down, nor their hate for their enemies.
An interesting story behind these tombstones is of son Andrei and father Nikolai Kravtov who had been gunned down in 1996. One day the father and son were going on with their criminal business when out of nowhere they were attacked by a rival mafia family and gunned down in the Volvo portrayed in the tombstone.
The ultimate judgment
Early death is quite common in the Russian mafia and death itself is not taboo. Most of the mobsters know that they won’t live to see themselves with grey hair and even if they do it will be a stressful life of waiting for the enemy around the corner to take the last shot. Besides all the crime and opulence, Russian mobsters can be quite religious, respecting ceremonial traditions and also the dead no matter if friend or foe.
The bigger and more spacious the tombstone, the more power the deceased is trying to portray that it had in his life. The cross that is commonly seen at the corner of most Russian mobster’s tombstones is actually a Russian Christian Orthodox cross which once again emphasizes that some of these criminals, despite their sins were religious.
Besides religion and cars, the family was the most important thing to Russian mobsters and also their biggest weakness as they could always be targeted. Most of the mobsters shown above and located in the famous Shirokorechenskoe have died at the gunpoint of rival mafias or other criminal organizations.
The cemetery itself is becoming more of a tourist attraction as for the western world, such tombstones are out of the world. If you even visit an Eastern European country have a stroll through their cemeteries.