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Russian bikers are not welcome

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 4
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs says the planned visit of a Russian biker gang known as the Night Wolves on May 9 'is not desirable'.

Deputy Interior Minister of Georgia Shalva Khutsishvili says the visit 'doesn’t correspond' to the spirit of the May 9, the day of victory over Nazi Germany.

“The Georgian border is widely open for tourists and foreigners who enter our country lawfully and have not visited the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.

‘We host everyone who respects the law…they will have no problems in terms of travelling and resting in Georgia as in any other civilized countries. But these Russian bikers, the Night Wolves, and their visit and performance on May 9 in Georgia caused people to protest last year,” the deputy minister said.

The Night Wolves planned to visit Georgia to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of the European theatre of war in World War II.

The gang is known for its support of the Kremlin, and its leader, Alexander Zaldostanov (“the Surgeon”), has appeared at many public events next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2015, the group was barred by Poland from travelling to Berlin through its territory, while Germany revoked their Schengen visas. Several members were deported, Democracy and Freedom Watch claim.

The agency adds that some of the bikers are reported to have taken part in the war in eastern Ukraine and a sabotage action in Crimea.

The United States and other countries have included the Night Wolves in their sanctions against Russia.

A member of the Night Wolves, Valery Bely, was shot and killed in a dispute with a rival biker club, Three Roads, in November 2012.

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, joined the group in August 2014.

In May 2015, Zaldostanov inaugurated the group's Chechen branch in Grozny and named Kadyrov its honorary leader.