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Two dozen daredevil Russian Cossacks, known for their deep-rooted horse-riding and fighting traditions, are heading to Paris. Fear not! All they want is to celebrate the bicentenary of the country's victory over Napoleon in the War of 1812.
Twenty-three Cossacks who set out on horseback to ride from Moscow to the French capital are descendants of those who once fought against Napoleon’s army.
Their primary objective these days is to pass through six countries – Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and France – to arrive at the Palace of Fontainebleau by October 19. The horses the Cossacks are riding are a special southern Russia breed ideal for long journeys.
Residents of the cities the Cossacks will pass through will have a chance to appreciate their strong battle and horse riding skills, which once helped them beat the French.
Among their signature stunts are riding a horse while standing up; sitting on the horse the “wrong way” and being able to shoot backwards.
Among the key battles in Napoleon’s Russian campaign was the Battle of Borodino which involved 250,000 troops and was the bloodiest single day in all the Napoleonic Wars.
Describing that battle, Napoleon said that the French proved themselves to be worthy of victory, while the Russians proved they can be called invincible, in many ways thanks to Cossacks.
© Russia Today and RIA Novosti. 13 August, 2012