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Night Wolves: Putin's Motorcycle Gang?
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Night Wolves: Putin's Motorcycle Gang?

Night Wolves began as a mixture of motorcycle enthusiasts and rock music lovers in Moscow dating back from 1983. At that time most people associated them with holding illegal concerts. By the end of 1989, the group consolidated into an informal motorcycle club bearing the name “Night Wolves.” This was during the Soviet Union Perestroika era. It was the first Motorbike club in USSR and which established various chapters in Latvia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Macedonia Germany, Serbia and Romania. Alexander Zaldostanov - a well known surgeon, was the first leader of this club.

Today, this club runs various rock clubs and also various multiple rock concert events in Russia. They also owns many tattoo parlors. The group is the founder of the famous annual event known as International Moscow Tattoo Convention. The club has also launched a major clothing line known as Wolf Wear. In addition, it now owns the Wolf Engineering, which is a custom shop subsidiary. The club has also gathered many mechanics from many parts of Russia and runs very many custom shops and motorcycle repair shops. Together with IMZ-Ural, the club developed the Wolf-Ural motorcycle. Another subsidiary company is the Wolf Racing which is a racing team. It was started in the year 2001 and has participated in and in organizing several events in Russia.

The clubs activism

For quite some time, the club has played a role in the social and political life of Russia. It has engaged the youth in the country in social issues forming close links to Kremlin and by establishing friendship with President Putin. They are associated with the popular Russian Orthodox Church. This club also makes motorcycle pilgrimage to several sites in holy Russian Orthodox.

Their connection to Kremlin

Night Wolves are very close to Vladmir Putin and typically the Russian nationalist sentiments. Putin quoted them as his close friends and attended most of their music concert rallies and also riding a Harley-Davidson strike. The Kremlin is rumored to finance the club. They are said to give them around 56 million rubles each year according to the most recent report published in the year 2013. In 2015, Alexei Navalny once claimed that the Russian regime had given the group 56 million rubles in the preceding year and a half.

The clubs involvement in the Ukraine

During the recent Crimean Crisis and the fight in Donbas, the club members are said to have supported the Pro-Russian militants. They once controlled all the major routes into Sevatopol. They also participated in Nerval headquarters fight and other key areas such as natural gas facility.

Their shows

The club held a show in August 2014 in Sevastopol with an aim of supporting Annexation of Crimea and to depict Ukraine as a nation controlled by fascists. Over 100,000 individuals attended the show and the Russian state television also broadcasted the event.

In most of their New Year shows for the kids, the group portrays the west as colluding to destroy Russia. This came out clearly in an interview conducted in January 2015, when RIA Novosti Zaldostanov said that they never cut any costs on special effects or any efforts to convey their feelings of danger and true drive.

Image Source: Russia Insider

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