On Sunday, Polish border guards refused seven members of the Night Wolves biker club from entering the country, RIA Novosti reported. The bikers were refused entry despite the fact that six of them had citizenship in EU-member states.
The diplomatic ruckus is set to be a repeat of the minor diplomatic scandal that arose last year, when the Night Wolves tried to stage a similar motocross in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet Union's war against Nazi Germany and its allies. The bikers planned to visit war cemeteries and war memorials across Eastern and Central Europe, ending their trip in Berlin on May 9, Victory Day.
Speaking to the Polish news portal fronda.pl, Roman Polko, the former acting head of the National Security Bureau, an intelligence agency reporting to the Polish president, explained that the Russian bikers constitute a threat to national security, and that the Polish government was right to refuse them entry.
The Night Wolves, Polko warned, are not just a motorcycle club attempting to pay tribute to the fallen, but "a gang of bikers that act like terrorists" which "seeks to provoke our country."
"For example, the newspaper Fakt once wrote an article saying that immediately after the Night Wolves entered, they would be followed by Russian tanks, and that Putin would attack us. After that there was a statement by high-ranking General Waldemar Skrzypczak, who said that Russia would capture Warsaw in three days."
Last year and again this year, hundreds of Polish bikers, including Wiktor Wegrzyn, the head of the Katyn Rally, an annual Polish motocross that takes place across vast tracts of European Russia and commemorates the Polish officers killed by Soviet security forces during WWII, pledged their support for the Night Wolves. Wegrzyn and his bikers planned to meet with their Russian counterparts on Sunday to accompany them through Poland as a sign of solidarity.
Commenting on Wegrzyn's ties with his Russian counterparts, Polko suggested that the Polish biker had actually served as a "useful idiot," and added that he and his fellow bikers had "pathetically and shamefully allowed themselves to be manipulated" by "Putin's personal guard, which acts with his consent or even under his orders to engage in all sorts of provocations."
Incidentally, the Polish bikers have successfully carried out their Katyn Rally for 15 years, with Wegrzyn telling Sputnik last year that every time, he and his bikers have been "warmly welcomed" and "treated…with great kindness" by everyone from police and local authorities to ordinary Russians.
Paranoia Overload: Night Wolves 'Facilitate a Russian-Grown Fifth Column'
Effectively, Polko warned, the Night Wolves' allies in Poland were not only 'useful idiots', but factually facilitated the creation of a "fifth column" in the country "to engage in acts of sabotage on our soil. If someone from the Polish side supports them, he must come to realize that he is actually putting Poland in danger."
Therefore, the officer said, the Russian bikers should be banned not only in Poland, but throughout all of Europe as well.
Ultimately, Polko warned, Russian 'provocations', including the Night Wolves, have one aim: to weaken Polish security, and the cohesion of the NATO alliance.
Such a sentiment is dangerous, Polko explains, because NATO membership is really "in the interest of the Polish state," and "if the Russian side manages to spread such doubts, this will advance steadily, and Putin will make every effort to activate his agents of influence."
Ultimately, the level of paranoia in the intelligence officer's words would almost be funny, if it wasn't for the fact that he is serious. Unfortunately, this type of thinking is apparently also prevalent in Warsaw; hence the fuss over allowing a group of bikers from visiting war graves and commemorating their grandparents' titanic efforts to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.