We finally debunk the myth about the peaceful character of the Night Wolves (Nochnye Volki) organisation. Analysing the connections of the Wolves in Russia and Western Europe, Gazeta Polska discovered a network of organisations gathering hundreds of people ready to fight in any conditions and capable of using any type of weapon, trained in the most brutal systems of martial arts. The tentacles of the structure seem to have been built for years, and extend into plenty of countries. This is more than just a structure based on a motorbike club and love of the two wheels, as it goes beyond what is imaginable for an average Polish or EU citizen – experts alert.
Continuing in Poland is a festival of coaxing the population into acceptance of the Paths of Glory rally organised by Russian nationalists, to reach Berlin via Minsk, Brest, Wrocław, (allegedly also Warsaw), Oświęcim (Auschwitz), Brno, Bratislava, Vienna, Munich, Prague, Torgau, and Karlshorst. Every now and then we are being persuaded that ‘all bikers are a family’, and the Night Wolves – Vladimir Putin’s favourite gang – are actually sheep on two wheels. Playing the first fiddle in such rhetoric are both leaders of marginal political groupings (pro-Russian Zmiana [Change] party, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Grzegorz Braun), social activists (Wiktor Węgrzyn, organiser of the so-called Katyń Rally, declaring nothing less than protection for the Russian rally), and ordinary people, frequently ignorant of how serious the situation is (or pretending such ignorance).
The holding of the Wolves
The Night Wolves are, besides the International Alliance of Assault Forces, part of ‘Wolf’ Holding of Security Structures. Its core, however, is a security agency of the same name. Its head is Gennady A. Nikulov: a military man, remaining in the structures of power since the Soviet times, that recently awarded a medal for ‘recovery of Crimea’ by the Russian Ministry of Defence. The Wolf Holding recognises the setting up of the motorbike club, which is about to enter Poland, a great reason to be proud.
Just the logo of the organisation leaves no place for illusions: everything revolves around the same people.
The company offers detective services, armed and unarmed protection of buildings and premises, property in transit (also in own armoured vehicles), and installation of monitoring and tracking systems. The website includes also an offer of ‘conducting controls in offices, with the use of a lie detector’.
The structure of the holding proves that the Assault Alliance and Night Wolves are autonomous structures, reporting directly to Nikulov. Besides them, there are several other departments, from ‘special preparation’ and protection to human resources and finance. Importantly, the department of ‘protection’ has its branches, besides Moscow, Tver, and Volgograd, in the so-called ‘Novorossiya’ (the occupied parts of Ukraine – editor’s note). This is significant, as the security agency organises among others, Self-defence of Sevastopol, whose line-up includes Alexander Zaldostanov, the leader of Night Wolves.
International “Wolf” production centre
This , however, is not the end of ‘the Wolf business’. Another organisation, directly connected through a member of the board of Wolf Holding is the Wolf International Centre for Special Training. In this case, even the logo of the school is an identical twin of the logo of the rally that intends to cross Poland in a few days to reach Germany.
The website of the Wolf International Centre for Special Training informs that it conducts training in Sistema martial arts (created for the needs of Russian special services, focused on highest efficiency), with the training agenda including the use of the knife, psychological and technical training, and special training for security and military. Once this is combined with shooting instruction, we achieve the full set of ‘skills’ of a Wolf graduate. Training also takes place in difficult conditions (winter) and /or in an environment identical with the theatre of war. It seems that the brain behind the Centre is Denis Ryauzov, a Russian and a graduate of a course in assault combat at one of Russian military institutions of higher education. He is the one who runs training all over the world: in Germany, Switzerland, Serbia, Italy, Hungary, and obviously in Russia. Denis Ryauzov is at the same time a member of the highest management of the Wolf Holding. He trains representatives of special forces, police, and army, as well as civilians.
‘Wherever we are, Russia is there too’
Another interesting phenomenon, besides the schools of martial arts, is that there are motorbike clubs in Western Europe that are connected to Night Wolves. It is so in Germany and Switzerland. For example, the Swiss branch of Night Wolves has its seat in Regensdorf, a district of Zürich. РусскиѢ Мотоциклисты Switzerland (Russian Bikers – Switzerland) boast connections to both the people running the martial arts school and Russian bikers. They pose in photographs e.g. in Crimea and in a bar that belongs to Russian Night Wolves – the same in which the members of the Katyń Rally were once partying. Obviously, they also have their branch of Sistema school. They also announce participation in the Raid on Reichstag – the final of the motorbike rally planned for 9 May in Berlin and other ‘jaunts’ accompanying it to commemorate the 70th anniversary of ending the Second World War.
A commentary from Jarosław Podworski, a Polish biker, organiser of humanitarian aid for Ukraine, a member of Pokolenie (Generation) Association, and organiser of opposition against the Night Wolves rally across Poland:
‘The connections of Night Wolves are highly dangerous, it is not only a structure based on the motorbike club and the love of two-wheelers, as it goes beyond a framework comprehensible for an average Polish or EU citizen.
‘The construction of power structures based on combat systems and also use of assorted weapons, teaching “black” or “green” tactics is the prologue to setting up groups that can provide the aggressor with resources in future.
‘Links between these groups point to a single direction – to the East. The philosophy of martial arts and military discipline build closely-knit teams of ”faithful soldiers”. Various other factors, including social engineering and manipulation may additionally control the attitudes of people trained in this way. In the Islamic State, it is the religion, and in this case – it may be the vision of Russia’s “Messianic” role among people who perceive a different order of the world and who subscribe to different values. Our concept of war boils down to what happened 70 years ago.
Now war looks entirely different. Crimea was an example.’