Nikolai, “Eastern Promises”
The tattoos are all part of the ruse. Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) is a member of the Russian Security Services who spent years slowly working his way up the Russian mafia ladder. His extensive and elaborate tattoos, all molded to look like marks from prison, have been applied to secure his alibi. Many fans of the film single out the stars etched on his knees as their favorites for signaling Nikolai kneels to no man.