Actually, hundreds of bikers from the Putin-loyal Nachtwolves motorcycle gang were supposed to ride up in Berlin on Tuesday to commemorate the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany. In the end, there are barely a few dozen German vassals. The visit of the habit wearers still has an effect.
Collaboration: Moritz Dickentmann
Something is actually rolling in at this time of year, from Moscow. Hundreds of “tough” guys in leather robs on at least twice as many tires traditionally set out from the Russian capital towards the south-west at the end of April / beginning of May. The destination of the rally with the meaningful name “Routes of Victory” is Berlin, where the bikers celebrate the victory of the Soviet army over Nazi Germany on the 9th of the month.
It’s about the night wolves, in Russian Notschnyje Volki. The members of the motorcycle club have a reputation for overly nationalistic views. Their leader, Alexander Saldostanov, nicknamed “the surgeon,” is considered a close confidante of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin.
Even today, on the 78th anniversary of the end of the World War, the rockers should end their pilgrimage in Berlin – at least that’s the plan. Because, although according to information from the AFP news agency, a column of hundreds of bikers started in Moscow more than a week ago, it was questionable whether they would end their trip in Berlin.
German Night Wolves chapter apparently only founded in March
Before the bikers roll into Germany, they have to cross Poland – which has repeatedly caused a lot of discussion in the neighboring country in recent years. This year, the road for the rockers is likely to be even more rocky. In Poland, club boss Saldostanov sent a video message to the Polish authorities after they had apparently prevented the bikers from continuing their journey. Instead, the club would deliver relief supplies to Mariupol. But they will be in Berlin, nothing and nobody can stop them, the brawny 60-year-old promises while sitting on his rattling bike.
The EU put the club on the sanctions list in the summer of 2022. In addition to the closeness of their leader to Putin, the background is their active role in the Ukraine conflict. It is therefore questionable whether the Moscow night wolves will open in Berlin. Nevertheless, an event called “Memorial Day of the Night Wolves Germany MC” was registered for Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Berlin police said star. A group “in the middle double-digit range” arrived at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptow on Tuesday afternoon and laid wreaths.
Supporters of the rocker group who had traveled from the Czech Republic had to hand in their flags, as a police spokesman told the DPA news agency. The bikers should not have approached in a closed formation “for traffic reasons”. It is not known whether there were night wolves among them who had recently left Moscow.
However, it is likely that they were also members of a significant offshoot who, according to their own statements, were on their way to Berlin. This “chapter” has apparently only existed since mid-March. The offshoot operates a corresponding fan page on Facebook, on which the “Nachtwölfe Germany MC” wish their almost 700 “friends” a happy Easter, report on trips (including to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp) and, above all, about a tour to Berlin for the 9th May inform. Judging by the photos, a group of around 50 bikers started on Sunday. A visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar was denied to the wearers of the habit. The visit to the memorial of the Sachsenhaus concentration camp allegedly fell through – the rockers should have covered their robes and had to do without flags and symbols. The German-Russian bikers should then continue to Berlin.
The Night Wolves – led by Putin confidante Alexander Zaldostanov
The president and founder of the original club, Zaldostanov, is himself the son of a Russian mother and a Ukrainian father. Before founding MC, he worked part-time in Berlin as a bouncer before studying medicine in Moscow and later operating as a facial reconstruction surgeon, later earning the nickname “the Surgeon”. In 2015, Putin, whom the surgeon calls his “friend” (which is mutual), presented him with several awards for his “patriotic work.” At the time, he told the US magazine Vice that he had “encouraged Putin for years” to “take over Crimea.”
He made the club a “key component of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine,” wrote the British “Guardian” in 2016. Thousands of members are now said to belong to it. According to its own statements, the MC represents Christian-Orthodox and, above all, Russian-nationalist values and is generally considered violent and homophobic. The club members are also known as “Putin’s Angels” because of their closeness to the Kremlin boss.
Victory over Nazi Germany
No tanks, no jets, but thousands of cadets – the pictures of the Putin parade from Moscow
The Night Wolves had already sided with the invaders in 2014 and supported pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine. In the course of the annexation of Crimea, they are said to have transported aid supplies to the peninsula and set up and operated checkpoints for the invaders, among other things.
Sources: “”, ; “”; “”; Facebook Nachtwolves Germany MC”; AFP; DPA
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.