Putin has some unusual allies. From the shadiest separatists to the most corrupt politicians his friends are notoriously abstract. The Night Wolves, however, take the cake as Putin’s strangest ally.
A leather –clad motorcycle gang of 5000 that is funded by the Kremlin. Fiercely and terrifyingly loyal to Mother Russia they ride under the assumption that wherever the Night Wolves are should be considered Russian territory.
The Night Wolves formed in Perestroika in the 1980s as a counter- soviet group. Heavily into metal-rock and motorbikes they openly cast-off all law and religion and were at one point considered the dons of Russia:
We were Robin Hoods, and then commercial activities started — numerous tiny shops, stores — and we were protecting them as our friends, but then it became the business. They wanted only Night Wolves to protect them, as we were the dons, says ‘The Surgeon.'
And yet, this obviously violent, lawless gang’s leader Alexander Zaldostanov (nicknamed ‘The Surgeon’) and Vladimir Putin are allies, even friends. Putin’s ties are so strong with the Night Wolf leader that Putin was placed on a blacklist by Finnish authorities.
Putin first met the group in 2009 and has since awarded the leader Zaldostanov with an order of honour for his ‘active patriotic upbringing of the young.’ The gang even volunteered to guard local cathedrals after Pussy Riot’s notorious government protest.
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Pussy Riot at Lobnoye Mesto on Red Square in Moscow - Denis Bochkarev.
In March 2014, the US stated that the Russian Biker gang raided a naval facility in an effort to confiscate the Ukraine’s weapons. During this time, The Night Wolves were thought to have been working as a small militia under Putin’s order.
For the first time, we showed resistance to the global Satanism, the growing savagery of Western Europe, the rush to consumerism that denies all spirituality, the destruction of traditional values, all this homosexual talk, this American democracy, said ‘The Surgeon.’
The wave of nationalism is growing within Russia and is echoed in the country’s politics. The Kremlin has imprisoned journalists, opposition leaders, it has banned homosexual “propaganda” and has censored the majority of radio and television in Russia. It is said the gang has received more than one million dollars in grants from the Kremlin.
The Night Wolves’ wish is to restore the broken motherland to its original grandeur:
To connect the pieces that were killed off. We're one land, one people. We were artificially divided. We have Night Wolves divisions in territories of former Soviet Union. Our mission is to bring the patriotism, orthodoxy, love for the motherland and reunite. Says club leader Vitaly.
Reintegrating former Soviet unions militarily. One such fight between Ukraine and Russia’s militia resulted in bombed kindergartens and hospitals and 100 civilians dead.
Michael Ware, a former war journalist talks with the Night Wolves in his new show Uncensored With Michael Ware 9.30 tonight on National Geographic.
Header: Vladimir Putin – Personal website, visit to the camp of the Night Wolves Motorclub.