The entire Western military machine is against Russia, and the sanctions hit hardest the European Union, which will return to the Middle Ages without Russia. We have seen, heard and watched this and similar anti-Western messages inspired by pro-Russian disinformation campaigns in the domestic media many times since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, media monitoring by Crta has recorded some 20.000 media articles related to the war. Within this, monitors have identified dozens of anti-Western narratives that can be labelled as disinformation. The analysis showed that some of the disinformation from domestic media coincided with pro-Russian disinformation campaigns identified by the EUvsDisinfo project of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The energy and energy crisis seems to be one of the key points at which disinformation related to the war in Ukraine is being refracted. Many domestic media, including Informer, Novosti and Pink, have seized on a striking example of exposed Russian propaganda and announced that in Switzerland it is possible to report neighbors who overheat their apartments and receive a reward of 200 euros, while those guilty of excessive energy consumption could end up in prison. The media did not hesitate to publish conspiracy theories, such as that Britain and the United States were responsible for the sabotage and explosions of the North Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, as reported by B92, Mondo and Novosti. The same claim was simultaneously registred in the Russian media.
The recurring narrative that EU sanctions have a boomerang effect and do more damage to Europe than to Russia has now been transmitted to destinations by the Serbian daily newspapers, including Kurir and Večernje novosti. This unjustified defeat can also be linked to the Russian media, as is recorded in the EUvsDisinfo database.
But despite the frequent coincidence of disinformation with Russian sources, the Serbian mainstream media is still predominantly anti-Western, not pro-Russian. Media monitoring carried out by CRTA since 2017 (a total of 160,000 clippings) has recorded a constant increase in anti-EU-tinged coverage, while pro-Russian coverage has been relatively stable over the years, with only a significant increase in coverage of Russia, with a sharp rise in coverage of the war in Ukraine. Moreover, only less than one third of the narratives conveying disinformation are pro-Russian, while around two thirds are anti-Western. However, as pro-Russian disinformation campaigns flourish, the Serbian mainstream media have been inspired to spread their anti-European and more broadly anti-Western messages.