Updated at 00:16,23-05-2018

Zyanon Paznyak calls for preventing pro-Putin bikers from riding through Belarus on controversial road trip


Zyanon Paznyak, the emigre leader of the Conservative Christian Party, has called for preventing members of a pro-Putin motorcycle club from riding through Belarus on a trip to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Unions victory over Nazi Germany.

Called Night Wolves, the club plans that its members will ride their Harley-Davidsons on a 6,000km road trip through Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, before reaching Berlin on May 9, known in ex-Soviet countries as Victory Day.

In Belarus, the bikers are expected to stop at the Khatyn, Mount of Glory and Brest Fortress war memorials on April 25 and 26.

In his video address to the Belarusians, Mr. Paznyak warns of the clubs close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Its leader, Aleksandr Zaldostanov, is a co-founder of the Antimaidan group, which seeks to disrupt opposition street protests and threatens political opponents of Mr. Putin with violence.

Mr. Paznyak describes the planned ride as not just a provocation but an impudent stance by people for whom there is nothing sacred. These people who took part in the occupation of Ukraine, who voiced Nazi slogans want to ride through Belarus that lost so many people during the last war, says the politician.

He refers to the massive outcry sparked by the planned trip in Poland and urges Belarusians, namely young people, to stop the bikers from riding through their country.

Mr. Paznyak argues that the ride is designed to test the Belarusians reaction to the possibility of their countrys annexation by Russia. If they find no resistance it will be a signal that they can continue and repeat what happened in Crimea, says Mr. Paznyak.

Meanwhile, members of the clubs Belarusian chapter have announced their plans to join the Russian bikers for the Belarusian leg of their tour. Members of other motorcycle clubs in Belarus have no plans to take part in the ride.