Berlin / Germany – On 9 May 2015, festivities on the occasion of the end of WWII took place in the German capital. The Russian and ethnic Russian population gathered in Treptow Park to celebrate Victory Day, which marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union. At 10am, around 150 bikers met at the agreed meeting place. There were no police controls. Even so, a large number of police vans were on site. The majority of the bikers were ethnic Russians from Germany, Switzerland, the Czeck Republic and some bikers from Russia. German bikers were definitely the minority. An escort vehicle of the Russian bikers as well as a black VW van of the diplomatic corps were on site as well.*
At around 10:30am the bikers were permitted to start towards the memorial in Treptow Park in groups of 20, each group was escorted by a police van. Once they arrived there, the bikers went to the memorial service on foot. Before the entrance gate there were stands that provided tracts and memorial images, but also groups of people who distributed political treatises. Most of the Russian and ethnic Russian civilians had their Sunday clothes on, many came with their historic uniforms. People brought flags and one group carried banners with photos of fallen relatives. At the memorial there were large posters describing the history of the memorial service as well as additional political treatises. The atmosphere at the square was peaceful and resembled a large family gathering. At some places, musicians played Russian folk songs. At other places, the attendants had a picnic (in Russia, this is not considered a sacrilege but rather an integral part of memorial services). A small peace demonstration took place which was accompanied by John Lennon’s „Imagine“.
Sometime later, the members of Nochniye Volki MG under the leadership of their president Alexander Saldonstanow (aka the ‚Surgeon‘) arrived on site. They were received with applause, flags were woven, people started to chant a folk song and the bikers were honored by calling them „great men“. The procession moved on to the statue of the soldier with a child on his arm and the broken swastika. There, the embassies of many former Soviet Union republics had already laid down wreaths. The members of Nochniye Volki MG commemorated the fallen and laid down a wreath. The Russian ambassador Wladimir Grinin was on site, too. He said it was important to commemorate the end of the war – „for us and for everyone“. Many people waved Russian flags.* The police estimates the number of attendants at around 5,000.