A Russian biker gang with close ties to President Vladimir Putin, the Night Wolves, announced a victory ride from Moscow to Berlin to celebrate VE Day. The trip is almost 3,750 miles and will pass through Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria. Polish authorities lashed out at the journey, which celebrates the Soviet military.
“I consider the announcement of this rally a provocation,” announced Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on TOK FM radio station. “If this is to undermine our security, cause Poles trouble, then the law is there for us to use it.”
The gang claims they simply want “to commemorate the defeat of German fascism by the Red Army.” However, the victory also placed Poland for decades behind the Soviet Iron Curtain.
“They should not be let in to Poland,” said activist Marcin Rey. “If they are, they will have a very hard time. They are not welcome. [Night Wolves leader Alexander “The Surgeon”] Zaldostanov says Russia has liberated Poland. In Poland, we do not consider the Red Army to have liberated us. Nazi Germany and communist USSR were allies from 1939 until 1941 and attacked Poland simultaneously.”
Zaldostanov is very close friends with Putin, who even rode with them in August 2011. Their relationship is so close that the United States and Canada placed Zaldostanov under sanctions due to Putin’s war in Ukraine. In March, members of the gang appeared in east Ukraine to lend a hand to the pro-Russian rebels and Russian soldiers.
“My love for my homeland, for my territory, is my life,” announced Vitali, the leader of the east Ukraine branch. “I’m a Night Wolf, not a rebel. I’m just defending my homeland.”
The Night Wolves traveled to Crimea on March 17 and 18 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation.
“Look how happy people are,” exclaimed Zaldostanov, at the celebration rally. “By the will of God and through the hands of President Putin, the years of humiliation under Ukrainian rule are over.”
It is understandable why Poland is concerned. Putin has expressed a desire to reassemble the USSR. Poland was not an official member, but a satellite state. As Putin continues to grab land in Ukraine, his diplomats made veiled threats to the Baltics. Eastern Europe is concerned that any of them can be next on Putin’s hit list.
On August 23, 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop agreed on a non-aggression treaty — the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — that included splitting Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. The German army invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, which started World War II. Josef Stalin then invaded Poland on September 17 after the Soviet Union signed a ceasefire agreement with Japan. Between 1939 and 1941, over 200,000 Polish civilians died. The Russians slaughtered 21,892 Polish citizens in the Katyn massacres and 9,817 people after Germany violated the non-aggression agreement.
During occupation, Russia dismantled everything to do with Poland and erected everything Russian. Schools implemented readings on Lenin and Marx. The government forced the people to use the ruble and accept Soviet Union citizenship.
After World War II, the West made the exact same mistake with Poland that Neville Chamberlain made with Adolf Hitler. The British Prime Minister thought he could believe Stalin’s promises about Poland. Therefore, Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt agreed to allow the Soviet-backed government to remain in Poland, and Stalin kept all the territory he gained from the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty. It did not take long for Churchill and Roosevelt to realize their enormous mistake. Stalin placed a communist government in Poland, arrested politicians of the opposition, and placed them in the gulags. Rigged elections led to a permanent communist government by 1949.