"such as the Scythia into which Alexander the Great had marched"
Scythian warrior - Credit: Janmad
As mentioned above, the Scythians
were the original inhabitants of the Russian steppes. They were a nomadic people, known as excellent horsemen, and are thought to be among the first tribes to tame horses. Their lightning-strike style of battle was extremely difficult for more conventional armies (such as those of Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia) to repel. Herodotus describes their clashes with the Persians in detail.
In 1918 the Russian Symbolist poet Alexander Blok published The Scythians, drawing on Russia's historical roots in a poem about the Bolshevik Revolution:
You are but millions. Our unnumbered nations
Are as the sands upon the sounding shore.
We are the Scythians! We are the slit-eyed Asians!
Try to wage war with us—you'll try no more!