Analysis of the News “Russia could not leave Donbass to the neo-Nazis”

May 2022

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Russia could not leave Donbass to the neo-Nazis: Antonov – “No one will break our nation”

Almost three months after the invasion and the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the media narrative about Russia which, pressed by the threat on its borders, was forced to start a defensive war, is still actual and present in Serbia.

This news from Večernje novosti also confirms that. The news conveys the words of the Russian ambassador to the United States of America that his country “faces another external security challenge in the close proximity to its borders and could not hand over Donbass to be torn apart by neo-Nazis.” This statement is questionable for several reasons. First of all, Donbass is a region in southeastern Ukraine, i.e. neighboring sovereign state, and solving any problems is its internal political issue. On the other hand, it is not known that there was any plan by the neo-Nazis to “tear apart” the region.

In the moments of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, complete devastation of Ukrainian cities, thousands of dead civilians, Russian Ambassador Antonov continues to speak about the protection of the homeland. In the wake of international sanctions imposed on Russia and inflation, he talks about soldiers fighting for the homeland and the well-being of fellow citizens. Also, there is a spin and manipulation where war participants and soldiers are glorified and compared to the freedom fighters from Nazism in the Second World War.

“Protection of the homeland remains the most important task for us. It is the same now that Russia has faced another external security challenge on its borders. Our soldiers, heirs of the brave generation of winners in the Second World War, are fighting for the homeland and the well-being of their fellow citizens – said Antonov on the occasion of the reception in honor of Victory Day.”

Further, the news states that “Russia’s actions were a forced and timely measure, dictated by the goal of providing preventive resistance to aggression.” The euphemism of “action” mitigates the fact that the invasion, i.e. aggression against another state that was carried out by Russia, while on the other hand there is no evidence of a prepared aggression against Russia which it allegedly prevented with its attack.

This statement also alludes to the proposal of the Russian Federation from 2008, about which the ISAC fund wrote an analysis, and which referred to the creation of a new collective security system in Europe, which the European Union did not support.

Likewise, this news, conveying the ambassador’s statement, writes that “Moscow has always advocated for the creation of a system of equal and indivisible security… But no one in the West wanted to hear Russia’s fair and justified demands for security guarantees – emphasized the senior diplomat.”

What can be recognized as a trend in the media narrative all these months is that alongside Russia and its goals, actions, proposals descriptive words are mostly used that indicate the just, honest, justified background of all its activities, while the West is most often associated with exactly the opposite. Another huge problem that was pointed out in previous news analyzes is the manipulation of accurate data, i.e. spinning and inserting accurate information into a created, false context.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević