The Night Wolves and representatives of the Federation of Motorcycle Tourism of Russia held a conference for reporters in the "Russian home" where they presented their expressions from the travels. They finished their tour, one of a kind pilgrimage "Russian Balkan", where they visited Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in order to research the cultural influence of Russian empire on Balkans. The pilgrimage has ended on 27th March.
The conference began with a minute of silence in order to pay tribute to the victims at the shopping center in Kemerovo, where 64 people lost their lives.
On the journey through Serbia and the Republika Srpska, pilgrims visited Orthodox monasteries, churches and cultural and historical sites.
The representative of the Russian Moto Federation Yevgeny Strogov said that these manifestations are held regularly and that this is the tenth anniversary. According to him, such trips are aimed at bringing the Russian and Serbian people together, and that their main goal is to get people to get to know the history, the culture and the tradition that connects us.
- Our desire is to visit places significant for both our peoples. We organized this trip through Serbia, but we have the same tours in other Balkan countries, just like in Russia - Strogov said.
Their desire is to bring the Night Wolves closer to an ordinary people who will learn about their activities.
Speaking about Russian traces in Serbia, Strogov said that Russian influence is most visible in Bela Crkva and Pancevo. Russian cadets corps were placed in Bela Crkva, and there was Vrangelov hospital in Pancevo, at the site of today's General Hospital.
- I would like to say that the history is what connects us and that this travel is done in honor of the great prince Dmitry Donskoy and the holy prince Lazar. Some of the situations that happened on Kosovo Polje, more precisely the Battle of Kulikovo in the Russian version, which historically reminds to Kosovo battle by time period, and that is something we respect and what we follow. We travel under the flag with words of Prince Lazar, the worlds of the Prince's Curse, written in the Serbian language.
Strogov said that the attention, that Night Wolves attract, was directed at the wrong way. The entire action was politicized with no reason. And as he said, their goal was to spend as much time as possible with the people, and they fulfilled that goal. The impressions are certainly positive because they had a warm welcome with the people and with the monasteries they visited.
Also, he said that he wants to get the attention of the citizens of our country that they shouldn't be distracted by the basic ide Night Wolves are propagating, and that is they want to meet and deepen the links between the Russian and Serbian people through culture, tradition, and customs.
- What we are working now is making a route that will connect Kosovo Polje and Kulikovo polje. That is technically a very complicated route that demands excellent logistics and a lot of other things, but that is our desire, to show our common roots and common history, which is in the base of everything we do. We expect that we will encounter obstacles, but we are prepared to overcome them. Also, it is our great desire for Serbian and Russian priests to join us on this journey, as ordinary people, because our goal is, precisely, to unify our people - Strogov said.
The leader of the Serbian branch of Night Wolves Sasa Savic, commented on the events that happened on the border with Republika Srpska and he said that he was very disappointed over the fact that some institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina banned him from entering the territory of that country, together with the leader Alexander Zaldostanov, the Surgeon.
- We were proclaimed as terrorists, me and my president Surgeon - Savic said.
As he said, Night Wolves always advocated for love and harmony, and that is why he is very sorry because their travel was used for the attack on the presidents of Russia and Serbia, Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic, as well as on the president of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik. Savic said that it is not true that they were supposed to meet with the state highest authorities of Serbia and Republika Srpska.
- I didn't do any criminal act on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I don't have any traffic violations and no reason for someone to defame me - Savic said and added that the titles appeared in Media that he and Alexander Zaldostanov present a danger for national security and that is why they were banned from entering Bosnia and Herzegovina territory.
As he said, the ideology of the Surgeon himself is to spread peace and harmony, the things that politics never succeeded, to gather Slavic people through love and driving, wherever they may be.
- The people have spoken. We were welcomed with a real Serbian, domestic atmosphere. No one was chasing us but the tabloids and the ministry of BiH.
Savic said that Night Wolves are not radical orthodox extremists like the tabloids say they are because there are Christians, Muslims, and Jewish among them.
Hieromonk Afanasije from Trojica-Sergijeva Lavra, who participated in this pilgrimage, said that their trip can be called the diplomacy of fate, or people's diplomacy.
- Everything that is happening, is happening for a reason to be with each other, Russians and Serbs, we have confirmed that we are brotherly people. We are connected by the national roots, language, culture, religion. The times are hard like they were before, and the world that surrounds us is the world of cunning and hypocrisy, and therefore we should support each other because our strength lies in our community. That is the only way we can survive as people and to survive our culture and religion - Afanasije said.
He said that Serbian people are the only one that remembers and doesn't forget what Russia has done for it during the hundreds of years, and he felt true love among people during his travels, the love of the people which suffered a lot.
As a gratitude for good cooperation, Strogov gave an Icon of Archangel Michel, on behalf of Night Wolves, to the Cultural Center and the Russian Embassy in Serbia.
- The symbolism is that Archangel Michel manages to kill the devil with his arrow. I think that we are all in some kind of conflict and Archangel Michel will help us deal with it.
The president of the Russian Embassy was given a flag which they used while traveling in "Russian Balkans" as well as the Prayer Book for every day, brought from Trojica-Sergijeva Lavra.
Also, Strogov gave thank-you notes from Alexander Zaldostanov to the reporters who cooperated with the Night Wolves during the last year's tour.
Night Wolves visited the temple of St Sava on Vracar in Belgrade after the press conference.
VIDEO: Who are the "Night Wolves" and why is Europe afraid of them?
(Telegraf.co.uk / M.I.)