PM: Planned Night Wolves’ ride is Russia’s answer to US convoy journey
Poland’s prime minister was among the first to call it a provocation: plans by the Night Wolves motorcycle gang, which has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to stage a ride from Moscow to Berlin to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. Their route will take them across Poland, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. On Monday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka suggested the ride was a propaganda event to counter a recent show of military strength by the US.
Although the bikers reportedly see the event as apolitical, others see the ride as nothing less than a provocation, among them Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who suggested the bikers served as a propaganda tool. In the Czech prime minister’s view, the gang is bolstering Russia’s image in response to a show of force by the United States, whose convoy recently travelled back to Germany from NATO exercises in the Baltic states. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka:
“I consider the ride by Russian bikers as – to a degree - a propaganda answer to the recent journey by the US convoy, an attempt to balance the message through propaganda or in the media.”
“We will certainly monitor the ride but as long as members uphold Czech laws they will be allowed to travel through the country just like anybody else.”
The Night Wolves’ ride is reportedly set to begin on April 25. Presumably they have their visas sorted, as otherwise members would be turned back at the first EU border, cutting short what promises to be a closely-watched trip.