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Jeff DeMarco writes:

The Telegram account Ukraine Now has been using a term I have not seen before: Rashist. It appears to combine Russian with Fascist. I have seen it many times in this feed.

Here’s a screenshot:

I'm wondering why they didn't spell it "Rascist".

Though, on the basis of its current, sudden popularity, one might have suspected that the term "Rashist" arose in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, it actually goes back quite a few years before that.

Rashism or Ruscism (Russian: Рашизмtr. Rashizmpronounced [rɐˈʂɨzm]; a portmanteau of "Russia" and "fascism" is an assertion that Russia has been transformed into a fascist country. That transformation was described as based on the ideas of the "special civilizational mission" of the Russians, such as Moscow as the third Rome and expansionism. This is also a claim widely used to identify supporters of Russian military aggression.

History of the term

The phenomenon was described as Russism by the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Dzhokhar Dudayev, who saw the military action by Russia in Caucasus as a manifestation of the rising far-right ideology. According to Dudayev, "Ruscism is a variety of hate ideology which is based on Great Russian chauvinism, spritlessness and immorality. It differs from other forms of fascism, racism, and nationalism by a more extreme cruelty, both to man and to nature. It is based on the destruction of everything and everyone, the tactics of scorched earth."

The term became more common in informal circles in 2008, during the Russo-Georgian War. The term started proliferation in the mass media during the annexation of Ukrainian peninsula Crimea by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian-claimed downing of a Boeing 777 near Donetsk on 17 July 2014, and the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014.


Selected readings


  1. Ben Zimmer said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 9:09 am

    The Rashism spelling is surely to facilitate pronunciation. Compare e.g. the use of fash as a shortening of fascist (as well as related forms like fashy for a hairstyle favored by the alt-right).

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 10:21 am

    « I'm wondering why they didn't spell it "Rascist" ». Weii, I'm definitely with Ben on this one — when I first saw "Rascist" above, I thought that it said "Racist". Indeed, I had to think several times before becoming convinced that if it meant "Racist", then it was mis-spelled. So yes, I would pronounce "Rascist" as /ˈreɪs ɪst/, and would infer no more from its occurrence than the fact that it was a simple typo.

  3. Y said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 1:27 pm

    When I saw the title, I assumed it had something to do with the medieval Jewish commentarian Rashi.

  4. ulr said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 3:05 pm

    I have seen the term a lot in Ukrainian postings on social media in the past 6 weeks, but only when the post was in Ukrainian. That's why I am a bit surprised by Wikipedia claiming it is a Russian word. I have never seen it in a Russian language post.

  5. V said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 3:27 pm

    I've seen the term for a long time — more than a decade in any case — but it didn't occur to me that in the more obvious spelling as "Rascist" (or "Ruscist") it could be thought of as a typo for "racist".

  6. V said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 3:59 pm

    There's also the thing that, at least to my L1 Bulgarian ear, it sounds close to "rushitel", someone who destroys things, so that was my primary phonetic association. It even sounds like it's someone's whose job is to destroy things. I'm not sure what the grammatical difference between "rushist" and "rushitel" is, but the latter is grammatical and the former sounds like a portmanteau. The former implies innateness, the latter habituality.

  7. V said,

    April 15, 2022 @ 4:51 pm

    "rushitel" — it a word that exists, but it's usually "razrushitel".

  8. Raul said,

    April 16, 2022 @ 11:51 am

    Most likely the word was first formed in Russian, mixing the English pronunciation of 'Russia' with Russian 'фашизм', and the English version is a direct transfer, probably by non-native English speakers.

    Now, I'm wondering about that 'Russism/Ruscism' mix in the Wikipedia passage about Dudayev. First of all, was his remark originally in Russian or Chechen?

  9. Christian Weisgerber said,

    April 18, 2022 @ 4:15 pm

    It ties in well with Putler.

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