Who are the ‘Night Wolves’, Putin’s EU-recognized ultra-nationalist biker gang?

Vladimir Putin with members of the “Night Wolves”.

The European Union on Friday sanctioned the “Night Wolves” biker gang near the Kremlin, deeming it “actively participating in Russian military aggression against Ukraine” in the Crimean annexation war in 2014 and 2022. Spread pro-Russian propaganda and even fight on the ground

The Night Wolves are a Russian motorcycle club founded in the suburbs of Moscow in 1989 during the era of Perestroika in the Soviet Union. Among the members Rock and motorcycle fans started attending concerts in 1983When they were banned.

Besides Russia, the group has representations in Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Australia, Slovakia, Belarus, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Czech Republic and in North Macedonia. Since 1989, Alexander Zaldastanov (also known as The Surgeon) is the president of the club.

Over the years, the group became more and more involved in Russian political life. He developed a strong friendship with the Kremlin and its leader, Vladimir Putin. He helped in the invasion of Crimea by patrolling the streets of the peninsula with undercover soldiers sent from Russia and fought for the pro-Russian side in the Donbass War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Alexander Zaldostanov, chairman of the ‘Night Wolves’ club, in Sevastopol, Crimea, August 18, 2017. (Photo by Michael Svetlov/Getty Images)

In agreement BBCThey admire Stalin, whom they consider a “great hero”, and maintain that NATO is a “criminal organization”. Further away, They are ready to die for Putin, who pays millions of rubles every year.

It is no coincidence that they are also called “Putin’s angels” in terms reminiscent of the American “Hell’s Angels”.

Alexander Zaldostanov, "Surgeon"Leader of the Night Wolves (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
Alexander Zaldostanov, ‘The Surgeon’, leader of the Night Wolves (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)

Homosexuality and ultranationalism

Be a member of the group Must be a male, born in a former Soviet country and invited by a member of the movement. And all interested parties must attend club events for two years before becoming a member.

They are openly gay and do not allow gays to join the club like women do.

President of the Motorcycle Club "night wolves"Alexander Zaldostanov, pseudonym "Jar"and other members take part in the Victory Day Parade and Immortal Regiment event, marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, May 9, 2022, in Kaliningrad, Russia.  REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar
Leader of the ‘Night Wolves’ motorcycle club, Alexander Zaltostanov, nicknamed ‘Kurk’, and other members take part in the Victory Day parade and Immortal Regiment event marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Germany Nazi during World War II. , in Kaliningrad, Russia, May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar

It’s too much 7,000 membersIt contains Ramzan KadyrovThe bloodthirsty leader of the Chechen Republic.

The club is recognized by various countries such as Canada, Germany, Poland and the United States. The North American country has decided to punish him for his participation in the attacks on the gas supply station in Strikolko and the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol.

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Alec Dittman

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