October 4, 2023

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Russian propaganda works well in Serbia

Russian propaganda works well in Serbia

Serbia has been negotiating its membership in the European Union for nearly a decade. At the same time, it maintains a very close relationship with Russia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic often refers to Moscow’s role as a protecting power.

Serbia’s proximity to Russia is also reflected in various polls and polls. A year after the start of the war in Ukraine, the majority of Serbs believe that Russia was not responsible for the attack. 66% believe that the West is responsible for the war in Ukraine, while only 21% hold Russia responsible.

The research was published by the Serbian NGO “New Third Way”. According to another recent study, Russian media contribute significantly to this view.

The report is titled “Russian media in the Balkans and their role in the aggressive war against Ukraine.”

It was published by the Friedrich Naumann Political Foundation at the end of last July, and written by Thomas Bray, who was for many years head of the German Press Agency (DPA).

With the support of the Serbian elite

Russian media outlets such as RT Balkans (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik have modern press offices in Belgrade and provide daily news in Serbian. According to Thomas Bray, this is a Russian propaganda media outlet, which disseminates not only the official Russian policy viewpoint, but also the image of Serbia as a victim of a Western conspiracy.

At the same time, he points out that “Russia stands unreservedly with Serbia in any conflict, especially when it comes to Kosovo,” which gained its independence in 2008 and which Belgrade still does not recognize. But the influence of Russian media will be limited if it does not gain the support of Serbia’s political elite under President Aleksandar Vucic.

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Most of the country’s media are under Vucic’s control. Thomas Bray says Russian President Vladimir Putin is a role model for his Serbian counterpart.

News from another world

At the Thomas Bray Gallery, some prints that seem to come from another world are of particular interest.

“Ukraine attacked Russia!” This was the Informer headline on 02/22/2022, two days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Srpsky Telegraph newspaper wrote on 07/04/2022: “The Americans and the British admitted: Putin won the war!” The Bekat newspaper confirmed in October 2022: “Putin: The collapse of Western hegemony is irreversible.”

Thomas Bray believes that it is important to restore the truth by informing Serbian youth and exchanging visits with their peers in various Western countries. Moreover, training of young Serbian journalists and financial and technical support for independent and critical media are extremely important.

Finally, according to the study’s author, the European Union has specific means to pressure the Serbian elite.

For example, the European Union is Serbia’s largest investor and largest trade and economic partner, so it can help achieve important reforms in justice and the functioning of the media.

Edited by: Maria Rigozzo

source: German wave