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‘This is a religious and spiritual war. God is on our side, that’s for sure.’
The Russian motorcycle club the Night Wolves first made international headlines in 2014, fighting as a paramilitary group alongside pro-Russian forces during the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Although the Night Wolves formed as an anti-Soviet countercultural group during perestroika, today they’re sometimes called ‘Putin’s Angels’, having embraced the potent mix of Orthodox Christianity, nationalism, hypermasculinity and Soviet nostalgia that drives the Russian president’s base.
Produced in 2015, this short film follows several Night Wolves living in rebel-held Luhansk in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. There in support of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), a breakaway, pro-Russian proto-state, the roughly 50 group members train with weapons, ride flag-draped Harley-Davidsons through the streets, romanticise the Soviet past, and dream of future glory. Skilfully observed, the documentary by the UK directors Jack Losh and Sebastien Rabas is at once a singular glimpse into the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and a powerful study of the forces that drive ultranationalism.
Emergency first responders meet chaos with dissonant calm in this gripping short
The ancient world
Not a lost kingdom but a parable – how to read Athens in Plato’s story of Atlantis
When two punk bands came to a psychiatric hospital, beautiful chaos ensued
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
The ancient world
A balanced account of Nero’s life reveals the ‘editing and destruction’ of history-making
Film and visual culture
Shoddy filmmaking meets the miracle of life in a police training film turned cult classic
Human rights and justice
The buzzes, clanks and whirrs of prison life form a meditation on freedom
Cognition and intelligence
How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias
A climate activist living off-grid faces her toughest challenge yet – a new primary school