ZAGREB, March 20, 2018 – Members of the Russian motorcycle club Night Wolves, that is close to Vladimir Putin, will not back down from coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina even though their leader Alexander Zaldostanov has been banned from entering the country and proclaimed a threat to national security.
Even though Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektić was among the first to warn of the club’s problematic behaviour, the president of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS) Milorad Dodik has publicly stood in defence of Putin’s bikers who are looked on as a “pressure group” aimed at promoting pro-Russian policies.
Dodik told the Belgrade-based tabloid Alo that the Russian bikers in fact “arouse sympathies” wherever they appear and that stigmatising them is aimed at turning focus from other security problems in the Bosnia.
Dodik believes that the USA and Washington-financed media are behind the “campaign” against the Night Wolves and that this is all part of a large plot against Serbia and Russia which, he said, is only helping Bosnia and Herzegovina and not asking for anything in return.
“Those who are looking for something here are the Americans and the West. They can’t stand that there is a politician in this region who is constantly receiving support from the people and now he needs to be criminalised. They’ve tried that several times without any luck,” said Dodik, who in 2016 was blacklisted by the US for constantly threatening the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Dodik accused Mektić of being a British player who is consciously spreading “anti-Russian hysteria.” Dodik also lambasted NATO as a “false organisation” that is sparking conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly targeting Serbs.
Apart from Zaldostanov, also banned entry into Bosnia is the head of the Night Wolves’ Serbia chapter Saša Savić. One of the club’s leaders in RS, Goran Tadić, said that they won’t back down from visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the “Russian Balkans” tour by the end of March. “After the tour, we will hire a lawyer and sue all those who accused us of being a terrorist organisation because there is no evidence of that,” Tadić told local media.
Earlier, Mektić warned that the Night Wolves were a problem for Bosnia and Herzegovina as RS authorities were planning to use them to scare their political opponents.
The bikers’ group has been on the US Department of Finance “black list” since 2014 because some of its members were involved in the Russian occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea.