Monday, April 9, 2018

'Putin's motorcycle club' to tour Bulgaria from 4 to 6 July (blog)

Putin motorcycle club image from article

The “Night wolves”, also known as “Putin’s motorcycle club”, will come to Bulgaria for a second time, from 4 to 6 July, the Bulgarian daily Dnevnik reported.

The tour, called “Slavic World 2018” motorcycle will begin in Moscow and will pass through all Eastern European countries, according to the website of the Russian Federation of Motor Racing.

The ‘wolves’ will enter Bulgaria on 4 July from Macedonia, and before they reach Sofia, they will pass through the Ruen Monastery, Kyustendil and Skrino. The next day in Sofia they will visit the Memorial Church St. Alexander Nevski, the Russian Church, the Soviet Army Monument, the St Sophia Church and will give a press conference. On 6 July, they will leave for Serbia.

The entire 8,000 km route goes via Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Republika Srpska (Bosnia), Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Russia.

The “Slavic World” project is supported by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Moscow authorities, and is funded by the Russian presidency. A report by Dnevnik shows that the presidential grant for the tour mileage was of the amount of 2,966,600 rubles (81 821 levs, roughly €40,000). The recipient of the funding is the Interregional Public Organization “Russian Motorcyclists”. It is led by Evgeniy Strogov, who is an active member of the “Nigh Wolves”. According to the project, its main objective is to “unite the public organizations of Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe in the development of public diplomacy [JB emphasis] institutes, interregional and international cooperation, their interaction in this process with state organizations, other non-commercial and charitable organizations, citizens with an active position”.

The event is aimed at the promotion of Slavic culture and history, and of the Christian universal values, Strogov said at a press conference on 15 March.

Because of the activity of the Night Wolves in Crimea, the organization leader Alexander Zaldostanov, aka The Surgeon, is on the EU list of sanctions. His organization reportedly had “merits” in the failed coup attempt in Montenegro on 16 October 2016. Zaldostanov and Serbian branch leader Sasa Savic were not allowed to Bosnia and Herzegovina last month as part of a tour called “The Russian Balkans”.

The visit of the “Night Wolves” in Bulgaria two years ago was marked by clashes and provocations, and their column was joined by persons known from the February 2013 protests, after which the first government of Borissov resigned.

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