This year, Belarusian officials have been somewhat lukewarm when it comes to The Night Wolves, local supporters of Vladimir Putin and the ‘Russian World’ ideas.
The club is taking part in the motor race ‘Victory Roads – To Berlin’ dedicated to the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazis. The notorious biker club Night Wolves made at least three attempts to cross the Belarus-EU border in Brest, but they were repeatedly stopped by the Polish authorities.
Three years ago, it was Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s eldest son Viktar and top Belarusian officials who welcomed them. This time, however, they have been trying to avoid meeting with them: local officials failed to accompany them in Stalin Line, Pinsk or Brest. The Belarusian authorities might well start to realise that such guests do pose a threat.
The Night Wolves’ showing-off is still not banned in the country, but Belarusians’ involvement and support is decreasing. Two years ago, MP and Brest Fortress Director Ryhor Bysyuk, who was having a St. George’s ribbon on the ches, was welcoming Alexander ‘Surgeon’ Zaldostanov, the leader of the club and Putin’s close friend, at the museum. Yesterday, the public official was not wearing it. Moreover, when seeng the Belsat TV camera, he did not even approach the Wolves.
Not being seconded by Belarusians, the pro-Kremlin club had to involve its diplomats. The Russian Centre for Science and Culture and the Russian consulate organised the festival ‘Children of the 21st century’ in Brest Fortress. They brought kids and musicians to the event which surprisingly ended with the appearance of… Alexander Zaldostanov and Russian consul Igor Konyakin at the eternal flame in Brest Fortress.
Russian TV crews do not cover the adventures of the Night Wolves anymore; nor do Belarusian state-run TV stations. Moreover, Belsat TV contributors Ales Lyauchuk and Milana Kharytonava were stopped from entering Tuesday’s press conference due to Lyauchuk’s remark that the Soviet Union was an ally of Nazi Germany at the beginning of the Second World War.
In spite of sounding promises, The Wolves did not dare to raise flags of the unrecognised Donetsk and Luhansk ‘republics’ in Belarus.
Earlier, Putin’s motorheads felt themselves at home in our country and left their motorcycles unsupervised when visiting Brest Fortress. Now the situation seems to be changing. Interestingly, they were also barred from checking into the hotel they were about to stay.
As a result, the best part of them did not even try to cross the Polish border. Only four of about twenty bikers headed for Berlin – it is noteworthy that they had Polish and Slovak citizenship. The rest left Brest and probably returned to Russia.