Russia’s Night Wolves: ‘Victory Roads’ boosts Kremlin sharp power



The Night Wolves Motorcycle Club, an infamous nationalist Russian gang funded by the Kremlin, was spotted in Europe on Monday, Newsweek reports: 

As hundreds gathered to attend a parade marking the “Republika Srpska Day” organized by ethnic Serbs in Bosnia, members of the notorious motorcycle club marched as part of a commemoration for the “national day” holiday, which has twice been declared unconstitutional by the country’s top court.

The club is a powerful proxy tool of Russian sharp power, increasing interest among the targeted population and creating long-lasting political impact, say analysts Jan Kleiner, Miloš Gregor and Petra Mlejnková. 

National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

The club plays the role of messenger for pro-Kremlin propaganda in European countries through its Victory Roads events, they write for Problems of Communism. The Russian government seeks to penetrate the political and information environments of targeted countries, and its strategy is to distract and manipulate, they add, citing research from the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum and CEPA’s Edward Lucas:

It is not principally about persuasion or attraction; its aim is rather to degrade the credibility of democratic regimes. Walker and Ludwig (2017) stress that the tactics of sharp power to influence do not lie in attraction or winning over, but in manipulation, confusion, division, and repression. It is not necessary to leave a positive sentiment in the targeted society; the goal is to weaken the democratic environment and to influence the information environment. RTWT

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