Karmo Tüür: Russian rashism defines Ukrainians as a less valuable nation

Karmo Tüür, Political scientist, 01. November 2022

Russkiy Mir, or "Russian World", can be summed up in one word according to political scientist Karmo Tüür: Rashism.

Geopolitics and rashism are both tools of the Russian imperialism. Both attempt to justify why some countries and people have to live under the dictates of Moscow and why they should not have free will, not to mention the right to independent decision-making.

Although the concept of geopolitics is probably familiar to many, I would like to introduce its meaning briefly. Simply put, it refers to geographical predetermination, according to which the borders of (major) powers must extend to natural boundaries such as seas and mountains. The fact that other peoples with different cultures and languages could already be living in the same area is not important at all.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on the big screen as he delivers his speech at the concert marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

They simply have to surrender to geopolitical determinism and the might of a superior power like sheep and rabits living on the land of a feudal lord whose opinions are irrelevant to the mighty ruler. Rashism as a term may be familiar to many readers already. However, the definition I propose may be quite different to the commonly accepted interpretation of the word. To be honest, this distinction occurred to me quite recently when I got a little stuck while performing in front of an international audience.

The audience asked how I would summarize the essence of the so-called Russian world (Russkiy mir), whether as an ideology or something else. Of course, I said what I said, but good ideas always come later.

The essence of rashism

Let me start by saying that rashism has nothing to do with the term "Russian fascism". I dislike such a term, because to use it is to make the same mistakes as Russian historical falsifications and historiosophy. The Soviet Union began calling National Socialist Germany "fascist" during the Second World War simply to make the enemy's image more distinct and recognizable.

As a slogan, "Let's push back the fascist dogs!" was much catchier than "Let's push back the socialist dogs!" for its time, wasn’t it?  Thus, in the pseudo-historical environment of present-day Russia, a powerful image of fascists as the embodiment of all evil emerged. This image became so deeply rooted in the Russian national consciousness that it is now an integral part of the narrative surrounding the ominous Russkiy mir. "That's why I try to avoid the term 'rashism', and when I do use it, it is only with an explanation of why I am doing so, as I am now.

So how would I define "rashism"? It is a weird and specific form of racism that, similarly to geopolitics, leaves people without free will. But, like racism, it also defines given groups as inherently more or less valuable than others. If the traditional understanding of racism is based mainly on skin colour, then rashism is based around belonging to Russkii Mir.

Thus, if Russia declares that Ukrainians cannot exist as a separate nation and state, then it must be so. But if this ’knowledge’ about Ukraine’s right to exist is not received and accepted in good faith,  then Russkii Mir will be upheld through fire and sword, and destruction and fear will subjugate Ukraine’s free will and conform it to this Russian world. So, Ukrainians could live in this land as sheep and lambs, but they are destined to be a part of Russia because geopolitical and rashist utopias predetermine this. It is nothing personal, just pure predestination.

Russian or rashist

At the same event, among many others, another question related to the topic was asked – how to define a "good Russian"? One instance of such thinking was the idea, circulated some time ago among those who had fled Russia, of issuing passports identifying them as "good Russians". That is, they are 'ordinary' people who oppose Russia's war of conquest in Ukraine.

It must have been due to my meager skills as a presenter that I failed to clarify that the whole issue was not about nationality or citizenship. It wasn't even a question of "good" or "bad". The question is whether you are a supporter of the idea of ​​imperialism or a person who believes that every nation and people should have the right to self-determination. The question is whether you are Russian, Tatar, Jewish and so forth... or you are a Rashist, regardless of nationality.

Now, I'm happy to hear your counterarguments about why I've misunderstood everything and how things really are.