Last week, the fifty year old leader of the Night Wolves Motor Club, Alexander Zaldostanov (a/k/a the “Surgeon”) was awarded the Russian Medal of Honor.
Night Wolves was the first motorcycle (‘bikers’) club in Russia, founded in May 31, 1989. Since 1992, the club has been a member of the international bike movement.
Motor Club has a number of regional offices in Russia and some foreign branches – in Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and Romania. Motor Club has a strict chain of command, as set forth by the Charter, and includes about 5000 members.
According to the decree of President Putin, Zaldostanov was awarded Medal of Honor for “the activity in the patriotic education of young people.”
‘Surgeon’ was a confidant of Putin in the last presidential election, and was invited to the inauguration ceremony.
In July 2009, Vladimir Putin visited the headquarters of the Night Wolves in Moscow. Since then President has visited the bikers on many occasions.
In August 2011 Putin visited the 16th Bike Festival in Novorossiysk and personally led the convoy of bikers driving a three-wheeled ‘Harley’.
Talking to bikers, Putin has always called them “brothers”. But the meaning of his speeches changed with time.
Here is a quote of Putin speech, made several years ago:
“The ‘bike’ is certainly the most democratic form of transport … Bike! – it is a symbol of freedom … You came here because you are free people, and you want be free!”
Here is a quote from the last Putin’s speech to bikers:
“You do not just ride your motorcycles; you also perform military-patriotic work. Historical memory is the best cement that binds people of different nationalities and religions into one nation, in one powerful country – Russia.”
The concept of ‘freedom’ has evolved into ‘patriotism’.
In April last year, Night Wolves organized motorcycle procession through Mosco. They carried balloons with Orthodox Christian symbols. That was the way they demonstrated against the actions of the punk rock band Pussy Riot and critics of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
“I am against the ‘possessed’ who humiliate the believers”, Surgeon said.
“So we decided to combine the opening of the biking season with a run in support of Patriarch Krill of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Night Wolves raced through Moscow on motorcycles with balloons lettered “XB” (Russian symbol for “Christ is Resurrected”) attached to bikes, and released the balloons into the night air.
Today Night Wolves official web site starts with an announcement of the organization’s departure from the international biker movement.
Here are some explanations from the official Night Wolves web site:
“Given the nationalistic mentality of our country, our movement could no longer carry the identity of the international organizations. This was a utopian idea without a future…”
“What is better: selling drugs, killing people, promoting evil to the masses, transgressing law; or promoting patriotism, love of their country, spirituality in young people?”
“We do not want to belong to foreign bikers’ traditions that are not able to give good fruits to our Slavic Orthodox country!
“We love Russia and honor Russian history. Orthodoxy is welcomed; it considered an integral part of the history of Russia.
“We Night Wolves are proud that we were born in the land of the great people, the land of Slavs, the rebellious Russians, land of undefeated heroes, the land which does not let the rest of the world sleep since the Roman Empire or even earlier; this fact irritates those who cannot understand this pride. They hate us for our outcry when we see that the enemies of our country, of our people, who once again are trying to make us blind and dumb.
“We will not let the descendants of Allen Dulles fulfill his plan of devouring our Fatherland. They keep doing it using all possible means, trying to destroy or enslave Russia.”
“The war is going on, the war for survival. Only blind do not see it. Either them or us. Our duty is to do our job – to fight for our own greatness. “
It seems, for this very contribution to the “patriotic education of youth”, Surgeon was awarded the Medal of Honor.