The Horsemen aka Mkhedrioni (Georgia)

Country: Georgia
Details of Formation: The Mkhedrioni were formed in the late 1980s as a nationalist paramilitary organisation in the wake of the country’s independence. In February 1991, Ioseliani was imprisoned without trial. The group acted as an opposition rebel force and was involved in the December 1991/January 1992 coup d’etat against President Gamsakhurdia (Wikipedia). The new government did not dissolve the Mkhedrioni but instead depended on it because of a lack of a proper national army (UCDP).
Details of Termination: The Mkhedrioni were ordered to disarm in May 1995. On 16 November 1995, Ioseliani was arrested for an assassination attempt against president Shevardnadze in August 1995. The Mkhedrioni were then officially outlawed. The group continued to exist and was allegedly involved in criminal and paramilitary activities, including guerilla attacks in Abhkhazia. In 1999 it was recreated as a political (rather than paramilitary) organisation. In 2000, Ioseliani was pardoned and resumed leadership of the Mkhedrioni, with the aim to run for President in the 2003 elections. He died in March 2003. In 2002 the Mkhedrioni reconstituted itself as the political party “Union of Patriots”, but was refused registration by the government. The party’s leader Badri Zarandia was assassinated in early 2003 (Wikipedia). Many fighters joined the Forest Brothers PGM (UCDP Forest Brothers).
Purpose: The group’s main purpose was to act as a de-facto army in the absence of a proper national army. It also aimed to defend Georgia’s people, the Georgian Orthodox Church and Georgian territory (Wikipedia).
Organisation: The Mkhedrioni were commanded by Jaba Ioseliani who was a warlord with an extensive criminal record and network (UCDP). After the 1991/92 military coup, Ioseliani was briefly the leader of Georgia from January 6, 1992 until March 10, 1992, when he and Kitovani handed over power to Shevardnadze to be the new president. Ioseliani was considered to be the second most powerful man in Georgia until the mid 1990s (Goemans et al. 2016). The new government remained dependent on the Mkhedrioni and Ioseliani was given the role of the interior forces. For some time, the Mkhedrioni were given semi-official status as the “Georgian Rescue Corps” for suppressing a Gamsakhurdia uprising in western Georgia. When Mkhedrioni were increasingly criticised for their brutal actions against Zviadists (armed Gamsakhurdia supporters), Shevardnadze began limiting the group’s power.During that time the Mkhedrioni functioned as a private army (Wikipedia).
Weapons and Training: The Mkhedrioni members were heavily armed with guns (Wikipedia) and Kalashnikovs, which they had bought illegally from Soviet forces or smuggled in from Turkey. The group is commanded by professional army officers that train the Mkhedrioni in the use of small arms and hand-to-hand combat.
Size: In 1991, the Mkhedrioni had around 1,000 fighters and 10,000 associate members (Wikipedia). The group said it can raise 6,000 fighters (UCDP additional information).
Reason for Membership: Members joined in order to defend their nation perceived as being surrounded by enemies (mainly Muslims).
Treatment of Civilians: --
Other Information: The Horsemen are also known as Mkhedrioni, this latter name being more common. It acted together with the National Guard PGM (then rebel group) in the ousting of president Gamsakhurdia (UCDP).
References: Goemans, H.E./Kristian Skrede Gleditsch/Giacomo Chiozza. 2016. “Archigos. A Dataset on Leaders1875-2015.” Version 4.1.

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. “Forest Brothers.”

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. “National Guard and Mkhedrioni. “

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. “National Guard and Mkhedrioni. Additional information.“ )

Wikipedia. “Mkhedrioni”.