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The Russian arm of the club has been described as a “proxy” for the Kremlin: willing to carry out or support military operations at arms-length from the Russian government.
For the past six years they have been establishing a presence in Australia.
The Australian chapter of the Night Wolves was founded in 2015. The club says it now has about 40 to 50 members in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia..
According to Mark Galeotti, an associate with London-based security thinktank the Royal United Services Institute, the presence of the Night Wolves in Australia creates a potential opportunity for the Kremlin.
“It’s entirely plausible that for example a new chapter gets opened because you have ethnic Russians who enjoy motorbiking,” said Mr Galeotti.
“Once it’s present … these things become a potential bridgehead. It’s not as if they suddenly become instruments of the Kremlin, it’s that the Kremlin can potentially reach out and use them in some way.”
The Night Wolves have not always been Kremlin supporters. The club formed in the 1980s, as part of a cultural rebellion against Soviet rule.
But under Vladimir Putin, the Russian club and its members have been “co-opted ” by the Kremlin, according to Mr Galeotti.
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