Polish Bikers Warmly Received in Russia, a stark contrast to Night Wolves fiasco [video]

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August 27th, 2015

By: J. Arnoldski for Fort Russ

Rajd Katynski at the Kremlin

On
August 25, 2015, the Polish motorcycle gang, Rajd Katynski, stopped at a
boarding school for children with health problems in Smolensk, Russia, while on
its annual road trip to commemorate the victims of the Katyn Massacre and what
they call the “illegal annexation” of Poland’s eastern lands in 1939. The video
which subsequently surfaced on YouTube is astonishing.

The
bikers were greeted with a warm, traditional welcome featuring song, food, and
the friendly exchange of culture and gifts. Soon thereafter, they departed and
continued their journey. While this might not be so surprising to those who are
familiar with the traditions of Rajd Katynski in particular and Slavic
hospitality in general, what is amazing is how their experience drastically
contrasts with the reaction their “fraternal Russian biker gang,” Night Wolves,
received when they tried to enter Poland back in May.

Rajd Katynski on the road to Russia

The
Night Wolves had prepared and embarked on an ambitious bike trip which would
cross through a number of Eastern and Central European states, ultimately
ending in Berlin, where they planned to commemorate the victory over Nazi
Germany in WWII. In Poland, they planned to stop in Wroclaw, where they would
pay homage alongside various political and civil groups to the local war
memorial.

When
they arrived at the border checkpoint between Belarus and Poland at Terespol,
however, the Night Wolves received a welcome entirely different from the one
they and ordinary Russians regularly pay to Polish bikers. In fact, they
weren’t welcomed at all.

Night Wolves held up at Terespol

Following
a government-sponsored, malicious media hailstorm in Poland which denounced the
Night Wolves as “servants of Putin,” “provocateurs,” and even “terrorists” and
“Russian bandits,” the Night Wolves were held up and interrogated at the Polish
border for several hours. In the end, they were denied entry into Poland,
despite the protests of hundreds of Poles who had gathered to welcome and
escort them. The officially stated reason was that they had failed to provide
sufficient information as to their planned route, stay, and activities in
Poland. Of course, everyone knew that this was a politically motivated
decision. As most know, acquiring a Polish and Schengen visa in the first
place, which the Night Wolves already had, often requires the submission of
such plans. Barred from entering Poland, the Night Wolves were forced to change
their plans, but Rajd Katynski vowed to retrace the planned route of Night
Wolves through Poland.

The
tale of two different “welcomes” in the case of Rajd Katynski and the Night
Wolves portrays the sad consequences of the virulent Russophobia and hysteria
that is being whipped up in various Eastern European countries, especially in
Poland. At the same time, the warm greeting provided by the Russians in
Smolensk and the gathering of Poles to welcome the Night Wolves back in May
offers a glimpse of hope that the two peoples haven’t been driven to hate each
other as fellow human beings and Slavs by the propaganda which is meant to
instruct them to do so.

Tomasz
Jankowski, the secretary of the new Polish political party, Zmiana (Change),
which strives to fight Russophobia in Poland, who was part of a welcoming delegation
for the Night Wolves in Terespol, wrote the following on his Facebook after
seeing the video from Rajd Katynski’s recent welcome in Smolensk: “This is
simply embarrassing for me as a Pole…Excuse us, Russian friends, for our
government…”

It’s
small clips and experiences like these that poke holes in the thick curtain of
propaganda and exploited historical narrative presented in Western media.

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