Rashism or Ruscism (English «Russia, Russian» — pronounced rasha — and Italian «fascismo» — fascism, which the ending –ism derived from), or Russian fascism — political ideology and social practice of power of the regime of Russia at the end of the XX, beginning of the XXI century, based on the ideas of «special civilizational mission» of the Russians, «seniority of the fraternal people», intolerance to the cultural elements of other nations; on totalitarianism and imperialism of the Soviet type, the use of Russian Orthodoxy as a moral doctrine and on geopolitical instruments of influence, primarily – the energy for European countries, military power, in relation to countries within the sphere of impact of the Russian Federation.
History of the term Rashism
The terms ‘rashism’ and ‘ruscism’ have become widely used among the military and political elite of Ukraine, as well as among journalists, influencers, bloggers after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. For example, Oleksiy Danilov, Minister of National Security and the Defense Council advocates the use of the word in the sense of «Russian/Putin fascism» to describe Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. He also stated that rashism is much worse than fascism.
“Today I would like to appeal to all journalists as for the use of the word “rashism”, because this is a new phenomenon in world history that Mr. Putin has created with his country – whose people are nowadays rashists, who do not differ from fascists. I’ll explain why: before that there was no such opportunity to destroy cities with such a number of air bombs, equipment, there was no such force. Now, the possibilities are completely different, and they are used as inhuman.” — Olexiy Danilov.
On April 14, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine recognized the Russian Federation as a terrorist power with the totalitarian neo-Nazi regime, and it suppressed its propaganda, as well as propaganda of the act of aggression of Russia against Ukraine. Rashism is a variety of Nazism and fascism and is a synonym to the term «Russian Nazism».
Features and characteristics
Rashism, which has already been completely formed into an official ideology, is based on the denial of the power of law and the assertion of the right of power, disrespect for the sovereignty of neighboring countries and assertiveness due to arbitrariness and violence . The primary signs of rashism are aggressive hatred of other people whose opinion differ from the typical propaganda of the Russian Federation.
Political scientist Stanislav Bielkovskyy argues that Rashism is disguised as anti-fascism, but has a fascist face and essence. Political scientist Ruslan Kliuchnyk notes that the Russian elite considers itself entitled to build its own «sovereign democracy» without reference to Western standards, but taking into account Russia’s traditions of state-building.
According to Alexander J. Motyl, an American historian and political scientist, Russian fascism has the following characteristics:
- An undemocratic political system, different from both traditional authoritarianism and totalitarianism;
- Statism and hypernationalism;
- A hypermasculine cult of the supreme leader (emphasis on his courage, militancy and physical prowess);
- General popular support for the regime and its leader.
Not to confuse Rashism with Racism
Аccording to Professor Oleksandr Kostenko, Rashism is an ideology that is «based on illusions and justifies the admissibility of any arbitrariness for the sake of misinterpreted interests of Russian society. In foreign policy, racism manifests itself, in particular, in violation of the principles of international law, imposing its version of historical truth on the world solely in favor of Russia, abusing the right of veto in the UN Security Council, and so on. In domestic politics, racism is a violation of human rights to freedom of thought, persecution of members of the «dissent movement», the use of the media to misinform their people, and so on.» Oleksandr Kostenko also considers Rashism a manifestation of sociopathy.
Russian political scientist Andriy Piontkovskyy argues that the ideology of Rashism is in many ways similar to Nazism, with the speeches of President Vladimir Putin reflecting similar ideas to those of Adolf Hitler.
Rashism symbolics include many signs and shapes. During history, rashism often changed its symbols. One of the them is the Latin letter “Z”, which was used by Russian troops during a full-scale attack in Ukraine in February 2022.
The letter ‘Z’ became a sign of Russian support for the war against Ukraine, a war that, like Hitler’s occupation of Poland in 1939, the Russian political leadership and propaganda called a «special operation.»
Due to the emergence of a new symbolism of the renewed fascist ideology called rashism, a number of countries and brands are refusing to use the letter «Z» in their emblems and characters.