During the past decade, the term “fascism” has become ubiquitous in Russia’s public discourse. The more that freedom of expression and freedom of the press have been curbed, the more the word “Nazism” has appeared in the country. The preferred form of both terms is that of a slur, namely “fascists” (fashisty) and “Nazis” (natsisty). In the West, this phenomenon has been largely disregarded as a peculiarity of the political language in present-day Russia. Arguably, it appeared to be nothing more than a rhetorical flourish. On February 24th, however, in a totally unprovoked move, the Russian president ordered his armies to invade peaceful Ukraine officially to “denazify” the country. A day later, he gave a bizarre speech in which he denigrated the Ukrainian government as a “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis”.
April 25, 2022 - Tomasz Kamusella