Analysis of the News: “Vulin: All Western scenarios for peace in the Balkans imply the destruction of the Serbian factor”

Published on:

April 2024.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Vulin: All Western scenarios for peace in the Balkans imply the destruction of the Serbian factor

Serbia faced crucial foreign policy challenges in April, the most significant of which are those concerning Kosovo’s entry as a full member of the Council of Europe and the adoption of the United Nations resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica. It is clear that these events and activities have worried the Serbian public, but this is mainly attributed to the media, which tries to create fear among the Serbian population with headlines. This week’s analysis will present a brief overview of the sensational news and its actual impact.

The draft Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica stipulates that every year, July 11 is marked as “The International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide”, but also that the glorification of war criminals is condemned. The United Nations General Assembly should discuss the proposal mentioned in early May. However, the prevailing narrative in the Serbian media is related to the violent reactions of many Serbian officials who express their displeasure and fear that the Resolution will be used to abolish the entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, which this Resolution does not deal with in any way.

As usual, this kind of document is securitized in Serbia, and the former director of the Security-Information Agency, Aleksandar Vulin, uses his resignation (as a consequence of the personal sanctions of the USA) to propagate the anti-Western narrative in the public discourse to an even greater extent. “All Western scenarios for peace in the Balkans imply the destruction of the so-called Serbian factor,” Vulin said. It is important to note that the Resolution does not destroy the Serbian factor but encourages the human factor, which implies national reconciliation within Bosnia and Herzegovina. Years ago, Serbian media presented Srebrenica as an event that happened in our country, talking about Republika Srpska as a territory that is part of Serbia.

If we talk about the nature of the United Nations resolution, it is certainly a document that does not have a legally binding character, and it is clear that the resolution, in this case, represents the position of the international community regarding the crime in Srebrenica, which has not changed all these years. The question arises: why are there so many fierce reactions from Serbian officials? As usual, regional tensions in Serbia often serve as a facade that will mask the real problems that Serbia is currently facing, and all this right before the elections.

“I think it is crucial for the people of Serbia that we do our job, that we fight, our prospects are not great, we have the most dominant Western powers against us,” President Vučić said in the morning program. We can already say that shifting the blame for everything that happens in Serbia to the West has become a pattern of behavior of the Serbian ruling elite. Taking responsibility is foreign to all parties in the conflict. However, lawyer Branko Lukić assesses that “the monstrous theory about the so-called joint criminal enterprise at the Hague Tribunal served to impose guilt on the Serbian collective”. It is essential to say that the guilt was not imposed on the Serbian collective but on individuals whom the International Criminal Court convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity.

We know how poignant this topic is for the Serbian people, especially while the process of Kosovo’s accession to the Council of Europe is happening simultaneously. However, it seems that the authorities in Serbia are using the mentioned events precisely as part of a political campaign before the local and Belgrade elections. At the same time, President Vučić talks about the fight against the UN Resolution and “how we will become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as that we will now have more opportunities to differentiate between partners and friends”. The ubiquitous narrative of the “big West” against “little Serbia” that will fight against Western enemies is problematic. It creates a distorted image of how Serbia does not have the right to vote, given that citizens do not have the opportunity to hear what the President signed or verbally agreed with the same “enemies”.

Author: Nataša Stanojević