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Strange Contraband From Soviet Prisoners’ Stomachs

09.19.11 Marina Galperina

Photographer Sergey Maximishin recently shot these literarily gut-wrenching artifacts at a “museum” of a Russian prison hospital. The loot — sets of dominoes, beaten spoon shanks, dozens of rusty nails — were removed from the contents of the prisoners’ stomaches in the Soviet ’50s and ’60s, presumably swallowed as tools of escape. What’s more odd here — the rusty junk itself or the decades-old cardboard mounting with its lovingly adorned “frames” drawn by hand with makers and a ruler, muaw muaw.