Transcript for Putin regime allegedly funds ultranationalist biker gang
We move on from the Russia investigation, and instead to Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election in Russia. The longest serving Russian leader now since Josef Stalin. Putin enlisting a controversial group of supporters. ABC's Dan Harris found them. Reporter: This is the face that Vladimir Putin projects to the world. A statesman at his annual news conference, openly praising the American president. "We see some serious achievements," he says. But to the Russian people, Putin, this country's longest serving leader since Stalin, is embracing a very different image as he prepares to run for a new term in March. We're at a rally mounted by one of Putin's highest profile and most controversial allies, an ultra-nationalist, anti-western, anti-gay and allegedly violent biker gang called the night wolves. Americans? Reporter: The leader of this gang, with several members, a man known as the surgeon, a former dental surgeon named aleksander zaldostanov. How did this motorcycle club develop such a strong relationship with the leader of this country? "Putin in special," he tell us. "He's much smarter than other government bureaucrats." The night wolves can become a wildly popular cultural phenomenon in Russia. Putin noticed that and now, they're funded by his regime. They even have a paramilitary wing, which Putin allegedly used when he invaded Ukraine. We went to their training camp. They claim they're just training for self-defense. The U.S. State department isn't buying it. They say the night wolves are Putin's shadow army. The U.S. Government has named you in the sanctions, saying that you help the night wolves carry out criminal activities in Ukraine. His response? "I have to laugh." Dan Harris, ABC news, Russia. Dan Harris from Russia
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