The Russian president is fond of joining up with the motorcycle club whenever he can. But their reputation has been causing him one or two legal issues …
Age: founded in May 1989, so getting on for 24.
Appearance: a mass of black leather, blue jeans, bald heads and beer bellies; a veritable male mid-life crisis pandemic.
Are Motörhead on tour? Close. The Night Wolves are a Russian motorcycle gang.
That sounds a bit silly to me. Perhaps, but the Night Wolves – orNochniye Volki – grew out of the anti-Soviet “rock culture” of the 1980s, and closely align themselves with the fight for freedom. Their manifesto rejects all laws and speaks of the power of the Brotherhood.
So what kind of rebellious, devil-may-care, countercultural loner joins the Night Wolves? Vladimir Putin.
If he thinks he’s the countercultural type, he should re-read his Wikipedia entry. Putin, who has a history of macho posturing, frequently dons a leather jacket to ride with his friends, the Night Wolves. Last July, he kept the Ukrainian leader waiting while he met the Night Wolves’ leader instead – a biker known as the Surgeon.
I guess there’s no harm in Putin playing at being a biker if it makes him feel taller. No. Except that it got him banned from Finland.
How did that happen? His name turned up on a register of undesirables – allegedly because of his contact with the Night Wolves – that would have led to him being detained at the border.
They wouldn’t let him cross the Finnish line? Well done with that one.
What do the Finns say? They claim it’s all a big mistake. “We have ordered it to be removed and are investigating the case very thoroughly,” said a police board spokesman. “We don’t know how it got there.”
Are the Night Wolves really so dangerous? One of them did get killed in a shootout with a rival gang in November, allegedly as part of a feud over the Wolves’ establishment links.
So it’s the Night Wolves who are tainted by their association with Putin. You could argue the relationship isn’t working out for anyone.
Do say: “The bike is a symbol of our freedom.”
Don’t say: “Dear Vlad, please join us for a rumble with our bitter rivals, the Day Nurses.”