The horsemen set out from Moscow on Sunday and plan to reach the German capital by July 22nd, said the expedition’s organizer Pavel Moshtshalkov.
They plan on riding through Belarus and then Poland in order to recreate the route taken by the Soviet cavalry in the Second World War.
“The trip has nothing to do with politics,” Moshtshalkov said, as the horsemen rode through Moscow wearing military uniform and carrying swords while waving Russian flags.
“It is a trip of friendship,” said the organizer. “The Germans have responded positively to the news.”
Bild has so far managed to contain itself, commenting merely 'After the rockers [bikers] now come the riders!'
On May 8th the Night Wolves, a Russian biker gang, arrived in Berlin to commemorate the end of the Second World War. After the Polish government had refused them entry into their country, the bikers had to enter Germany via Austria. The German government also refused visas to members of the gang who tried to enter Berlin by air.
Quite why Cossack horsemen have chosen to recreate the march of the Soviets through eastern Europe is unclear. Severely repressed in the USSR after the 1919 October Revolution, the Cossacks fought alongside the Nazis during the Second World War.
After the war thousands of Cossacks were delivered to the Soviets by the British and American armies and were either executed or sent to forced labour camps as punishment for their “treason.”