Analysis of the News “That’s how a horde is made!”

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.

That’s how a horde is made! New Western Definition of Capitulation: “Evacuation to Enemy Territory”—1137484297.html

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the dominant narrative imposed through questions of the Serbian branch of the Russian media outlet Sputnik, and later reported by a large number of domestic media, is that Europe is breaking under pressure from Russia, and that America is behind it all.

The text states that “the West has shown complete indifference towards the truth” and that today’s society, in the context of the war in Ukraine, wants to be reduced to the level of a horde. Sputnik’s reasons for writing this are the efforts of the Ukrainian army to save the last defenders who remained in the Azovstal steel plant in the destroyed city of Mariupol.

As the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced, the soldiers “completed their mission” and there is no way to liberate the steel plant by military means. As announced, the evacuation means the end of “the longest and bloodiest battle in this war and a significant defeat for Ukraine.”

Regardless of the fact that the Ukrainian authorities defined the evacuation of the remaining survivors as their defeat, Sputnik Serbia writes about the evacuation as another propaganda of the West. The main narrative of the text is that the West, by using the word evacuation, wants to show that Ukraine is hiding its defeat.

Thus, Sputnik Serbia writes that it is about “complete indifference to the truth, facts and basic logic”.

“Western propaganda constructs its reality according to the principles of popular culture, to such an extent that it presents the so-called heroes of the Ukrainian resistance according to the codes and patterns by which Hollywood movies are made. So, among the heroes, we also have a certain number of women, minority communities, especially the LGBT community,” writes Sputnik Serbia.

Further, it is stated that the news about the evacuation from Azovstal was taken uncritically by the Serbian media, and that the news was followed by a photo with a sign that the Ukrainian army is carrying out the evacuation, while “the photo clearly shows that at the head of the bus procession is an armored vehicle with the letter Z on it.”

“And that’s not a mistake, but a complete indifference to the truth, which brings the news to its peak, with the use of elements of popular culture, i.e. entertainment industry. Therefore, the image that should be presented to the Western audience is created, and not according to, even if manipulated, research of facts”, state the Sputnik Serbia.

The Serbian media, to which Sputnik Serbia alludes, such as the daily newspaper Danas, reported neutrally the news about the evacuation while clearly conveying the announcement of the Ukrainian authorities. In this way the statement of the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine is conveyed, which stated that more than 260 soldiers, including the severely wounded, were evacuated from the steel plant and taken to Russian-controlled areas. According to the Ukrainian authorities, this should be resolved by the following exchange of prisoners.

Despite that, Sputnik Serbia links the writings of the Serbian media with “Western Russophobia”, through a fixation on Russia.

“The implausibility of propaganda is a feature of this period and practically we have a very conscious attempt to force people to accept an obvious lie as truth, which is practically the third level in systems of oppression.”

The text concludes that the media reporting is an absolute “expansion of Goebbels’s statement, a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth”, and therefore the severity category is abolished, i.e. the criterion by which it is interpreted whether something is serious or not.

The text of Sputnik Serbia, without any facts, uses deep-rooted narratives that have existed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and even earlier in Serbia, that the West hides the truth with its propaganda, while the West and its values, compared to Russian ones, are presented as something decadent.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević