A Russian motorcycle club that calls itself the Night Wolves has sparked protests in Poland over its plan to ride through Poland as part of a 3,720-mile, multi-country road trip celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Soviet’s victory over the Nazis in World War II.

Trips like this don’t usually generate headlines all over the world, but this one’s getting a lot of front page material because of the motorcycle group’s apparent connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin and its well-documented of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Apparently, a lot of Polish people aren’t too thrilled about that and they see the Night Wolves’ plan to pass through their country as being politically motivated by a Russian government that’s using this event as a subtle way of flexing their political muscles against its European neighbors.

The issue has become serious enough that even Poland’s prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, is chiming in, saying that the bike group’s route to Poland could be seen as a “provocation” directed towards the Polish people. Likewise, former deputy foreign minister Pawel Kowal told media outlets that the government should put in place measures, legal or otherwise, to keep the Night Wolves from entering the country. Then there’s the significant group of Polish people who have been vocal about their opposition of the ride. Some have even issued “warnings” that trouble may come to the motorcycle club should it decide to cross the Polish border.

Clearly, Poland’s not taking this lying down, turning it into a really delicate situation that has the potential to get even messier if nobody stands up and addresses it.

From the looks of things, the Night Wolves are moving forward with the scheduled multi-country ride that begins on April 25. Cooler heads hopefully prevail here because if it doesn’t, we could end up talking about this as a major international incident.

Continue reading to read more about the possible problems this issue could cause.

Why it matters

I don’t think I’m qualified enough to take sides on this issue because I only know about the issues Poland has with Russia through newspapers and online news reports. I’ve never been to either of these countries so whatever national pride or sentiment they have is a foreign concept to me. What I do know is that there is some tension between the two countries and the Night Wolves’ planned ride through Poland could stir up that hornet’s nest.

What happens after that is anybody’s guess, but the worst case scenario is a picture that I’m a little afraid to paint. I don’t know if it could get violent, but judging by how the people of Poland seem to be literally upset about this, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to that.

I hope it doesn’t happen, but when the pride of both sides are being tested, it really could get ugly.

Source: BBC

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