Volodymyr Ohryzko: ruscism: What Is It? A Roundtable in the GDIP Media Center 

Volodymyr Ogrysko Articles

On 9 August 2022, the Centre for russian Studies, with the organisational assistance of the Directorate-General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions, conducted a roundtable entitled ruscism: What Is It? at the premises of the GDIP Media Center.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, the Head of the Centre for Russian Studies and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007–9), moderated the meeting.

Within the roundtable, the participants discussed the following topics: ruscism as the dominant ideology of modern russia, its essence, components, and origins; the Nazism of Hitler’s Germany and the ruscism of putin’s russia, their similarities and differences; the phenomenon of ruscism and measures to counter it.

The event was run in a combined online/offline setup, so the participants could join the discussion in a convenient format. The roundtable brought together Borys Humeniuk, Ukrainian diplomat, Doctor of History, Full Professor, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Cyprus (2003–7, 2012–19); Yurii Oliinyk, PhD in Political Sciences, Head of Research Programmes of the Ukrainian Studios for Strategic Studies; Levan Tsurtsumia, Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Georgia in Ukraine; scientists, veterans of the diplomatic service, media, representatives of higher education institutions, including National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, National Pedagogical Drahomanov University, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Western Ukrainian National University, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

The discussion started with the speech of Larysa Yakubova, Doctor of History, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, author of numerous scientific works on russia, in particular The Russian World in Ukraine: On the Edge of the Abyss. ‘On 24 February 2022, russian fascism came out. For eight prior years, it was seeking to save face and present its civilised version to the world. Russian authorities have stopped, as said, “counterfeiting” a democratic liberal state. They used many terms to call themselves and the order in russia with some new words. This was necessary in pursuance of covering up the methodological discrepancy, as it was clear to everyone worldwide that the russian state is not a state in the general sense of those that emerged and exist in the Western European and Atlantic world. Therefore, this starts a whole layer of reflections that this is not a state at all but a special russian system or something else. Even though we lack a significant number of legislative state documents of russia with a clear definition of the ideology of ruscism, they testify to its validation every day, exterminating Ukrainians in genocidal practices.’

Viktor Ohneviuk, Doctor of Philosophy, Full Professor, Member of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Rector of Borys Hrinchenko Kyiv University, the head of the scientific project Punish ruscism, emphasised the following during his speech: ‘Two things must be distinguished: the emergence of the concept of ruscism and the appearance of ruscism per se. The concept of ruscism is quite new, but ruscism itself has very old roots. These roots date back to the collapse of Rus and the formation of the muscovite tsardom. Still, I ended up facing ruscism when the enemy was here, near Kyiv. So what is it? The essence of ruscism is the destruction of our future and the obliteration of our history. Tracing back to the history of the muscovite tsardom’s formation, what methods did the muscovite tsars use to fight the Novgorod Republic? This is what they are doing now, what they were doing in Soviet times, what they were doing during the entire period of the so-called russian history. They have exterminated the local population that had had veche, the way of the then democracy [popular assembly], deported the rest of the people and populated the occupied lands with their tribes. Therefore, this is their actual hatred of freedom and a special addiction to the slave psychology, to loyalty. Ruscism was born a long time ago – it was just not ranged that way, but it always worked by the same method.’

Serhii Datsiuk, a Ukrainian philosopher, political journalist, author of numerous philosophical articles and essays, in particular on the study of russia, also took the floor. The speech was also delivered by Yuri Fedorov, russian analyst and political journalist, an employee of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Moscow and Professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (until 2006), author of many scientific studies, in particular the book Russia amid Fascism and Collapse. Ivan Zaiets, people’s deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of five convocations, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine (2000–1), public and political figure, was invited to take the floor.

The format of the meeting provided for not only the speeches of the guests but also an active discussion. The roundtable ended with questions from the audience and comments from the participants.




07.09.2022 22:19:00