A couple of years ago, there was a buzz on the internet about a cemetery in Russia, with some extravagant tombs believed to belong to gangsters who died violent deaths during gang wars in the chaotic post-Soviet times.
A few years later, during my Trans-Siberian trip, while staying in Yekaterinburg, Russia, I have visited this less known tourist attraction at the Shirokorechenskoe Cemetery (map).
I have never been to a Russian cemetery before this visit, so it was generally an interesting experience to see unusual pravoslavic, and old, soviet tombs.
While walking between the graves in this vast cemetery, I eventually stumbled upon what I was initially looking for.
Eye-catching huge granite tombs engraved with photo-realistic images of men in suits and leather jackets, with their favorite sport cars, sometimes with cigarettes or drinks in the hand.
In the post-Soviet era, at the time of the privatization of previously state owned wealth, some of these entrepeneurs pictured on the tombs believed to have died violent deaths (I do not know if this is true!), while fighting to take over power in Yekaterinburg and the region – famous for its mining and heavy industries. The two most recognized gangs fighting were the Uralmash, and their main rival, the Central Gang.
Nowadays, these tombstones attract only a few thrill-seeking tourists like myself, but they are less well-known among local people as I found out. Neither of my hosts from Couchsurfing knew about this. When my taxi driver, a relatively older guy, found out why a tourist like me is actually visiting the cemetery, he just waved, and had a good laugh.
Disclaimer: I do not know, or state if any of these tombs on the following photographs are tombs of the deceased who died in gang fightings. I have only made these photographs because they have drawed my attention, and are unusual to me. I am only following the story of the “Russian Gangster Cemetery”, and do not know, or state if any of it is true, or not.