NOVOROSSIISK, August 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a spectacular appearance at an international bike show near Novorossiisk riding an impressive motorcycle on Monday, August 29.
He rode a three-wheel Harley Davidson at the head of a column of motorcyclists.
Before the final leg of the motor race, Putin and bikers met in a deserted parking lot, as the genre required. He greeted all-Russia youth organisation of bikers “Night Wolves” leader Alexander Zaldostanov, aka Khirurg, or Surgeon.
They had met several times before and greeted each other as friends. Putin also shook hands with the other motorcyclists.
Surgeon told Putin briefly about the peculiarities of the current 16th bike festival, which will feature the best features of the previous shows but also has new elements.
“Repetition is no good. One should always move forward,” Putin replied.
The main venue of the show is the cruiser Mikhail Kutuzov, which was believed to be the largest in the former Soviet Union. Now it is moored in the seaport and used as a museum.
The stage was mounted on the deck where some of the numbers will be shown, including those involving professional stuntmen.
“I want to tell you, brothers, that it’s great that you do not forget the heroism and heroes of the past,” Putin said as he dismounted his three-wheal motorcycle and walked up to the stage to address the crowd.
Almost 68 years ago, Novorossiisk was liberated from the Nazi invaders. “And chapters [of history] are surprisingly intertwined with the motorcycle because the motorcycle was the best way to get children to safety: they were seated in the sidecar, several kids in one sidecar, and taken to Sochi,” the prime minister said.
“People of different ethnic backgrounds and faiths” take pride in their heroes. “This historical memory is an excellent material that cements different people of different ethnic groups and different religions into one, integral and indivisible Russian nation, creates and consolidates united and indivisible great Russia,” he said.
“The 15th bike show took place last summer in the Hero City of Sevastopol, and brought together about 80,000 people. We expect as many in Novorossiisk. It will be a totally special, exclusive show,” Zaldostanov said.
In July 2009, Putin visited Night Wolves’ headquarters in Moscow.
In 2010, he visited the bike show in Sevastopol, driving a Harley Davidson.
“A bike is the most democratic means of transportation. A bike is bold and audacious, it gives its rider the sweet feeling of freedom. So it would not be an exaggeration to say that a bike is a symbol of freedom,” Putin said back then, getting an approving buzz from the crowd.
“"You have come here because you are free people and you can go wherever you want. And it is very symbolic that so many people from different countries of Europe have gathered here. This means that we already are in a common space,” he said.
Putin spoke from the stage built on the remains of a mining pit and stylised as a submarine. The bike show organised by the all-Russia youth organisation of bikers “Night Wolves” was devoted this year to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the 65th anniversary of the victory in the 1941-19445 Great Patriotic War.
The prime minister then talked to several bikers and gave autographs to some of them, signing several dozen cards, the seat of one of the motorcycles and even a Czech banknote brought by a biker from Prague.
One of the bikers' girlfriend asked Putin to sign her hand, but he politely refused and kissed it instead. He then urged the bikers to say no to reckless driving and wished success and long life to them and their motorcycles.
Putin left the show leading the way in front of the column of motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists from Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Serbia, the United States, and Israel attended the bike show.
In March 2011, Putin met with some of the show participants in Belgrade.
Night Wolves is the first biker's club in the former Soviet Union and contemporary Russia. It was founded in Moscow in 1989. The club's specialists have designed and built the motorcycle Ural-Volk, based on the KAMAZ platform and stylised as a wolf.