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

Vladimir Putin with members of the “Night Wolves”

The European Union on Friday sanctioned the “Night Wolves” motorcycle gang, close to the Kremlin, considering that the group “actively participated in Russian military aggression against Ukraine” during the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and war in 2022 spread pro-Russian propaganda and even fight on the ground

Night Wolves is a Russian motorcycle club that was founded on the outskirts of Moscow in 1989 during the Perestroika era of the Soviet Union. Among its members are rock and motorcycle fans who started attending concerts in 1983when they were banned.

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

Over the years, the group became more and more involved in the political life of Russia. He has forged 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 anonymous soldiers sent from Russia and fought for the pro-Russian side in the Donbass War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with club president "night wolves" , Alexander Zaldostanov, on August 18, 2017 in Sevastopol, Crimea.  Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with ‘Night Wolves’ club president Alexander Zaldostanov on August 18, 2017 in Sevastopol, Crimea. Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

According to BBC, admire Stalin, whom they consider a “great hero”, and maintain that NATO is a “criminal organization”. In addition, they are ready to die for Putin, their main financier, who contributes millions of rubles every year.

It is no coincidence that they are also known as “Putin’s Angels”, in a pun reminiscent of the “Hell’s Angels”, the Hell’s Angels of the USA.

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

Homophobia and ultranationalism

Being part of the group is must be a man, born in a former Soviet country and have been invited by a member of the movement. In addition, anyone interested must participate in club events for two years before becoming a member.

They are openly homophobic and do not allow gay people to join the club, nor do women.

The leader of the motorcycle club "night wolves"Alexander Zaldostanov, nicknamed "khirurg"and other members take part in an Immortal Regiment Victory Day parade and event, marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Kaliningrad, Russia, May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar
The leader of the “Night Wolves” motorcycle club, Alexander Zaldostanov, nicknamed “Khirurg”, and other members take part in an Immortal Regiment parade and event on Victory Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over the Nazi Germany during World War II. , in Kaliningrad, Russia, May 9, 2022. REUTERS / Vitaly Nevar

He has more than 7,000 membersamong which is Ramzan Kadyrovbloodthirsty leader of the Chechen Republic.

The club has been sanctioned by different 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 a gas distribution station in Strikolkove and the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol.

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Alvin Nguyen

"Amateur introvert. Pop culture trailblazer. Incurable bacon aficionado."

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