One of the great things about online HEMA research is that you often end up finding interesting material that you weren’t really looking for. I was recently doing research on test-cutting practices in British-ruled India, and by happen-stance came across a fair amount of material from Russia. Apparently Russian cavalrymen, especially the Cossacks, had a long tradition of cutting mannekins made of clay and straw. They also engaged in other cutting practices as well: Potatoes, bundles of sticks soaked in water, cones of clay, live animals, and even streams of running water all featured in Russian cutting practice.

These cutting practices centered around the use of the cavalry sabre. Although a variety of sabres were used by Russian cavalry, the traditional weapon of the Caucasus, the shaska, appears to have been the weapon of choice.