Analysis of the News “Vadim Trukhachev: Serbia is unwillingly preparing for anti-Russian sanctions”

April 2023

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.

Vadim Trukhachev: Serbia is unwillingly preparing for anti-Russian sanctions

This week, an article published on the website, which was also published in other Serbian media, Webtribune and Srbin info, stands out. The text was translated from Russian and represents a call for direct interference of Russia in the politics of Serbia. The text suggests that the West is already doing this by forcing Serbia to impose sanctions. The text portrays Russia as a greater protector of Serbs than Serbia itself.

“It’s time for Russia to start cultivating politicians loyal to itself, who could ‘pressure’ Vučić and his entourage no less than pro-Western ones,” writes Vadim Trukhachev, a professor at the Russian State University for Humanities (RGGU). His author’s texts are often translated and reported in Serbian pro-government and pro-Russian media.

Specifically in this article, the author reacts to the news coming from Serbia, which are “unpleasant for Russia”. He refers to the statement of the Minister of Economy, Rade Basta, that it is time for Serbia to join the European sanctions against Russia. Apart from that statement, he refers to the information that “a Serbian military company sold ammunition to intermediaries in Turkey or Canada, which then ended up in Ukraine.”

“If that turns out to be true, Russia would have to urgently reevaluate its relation with the country that we consider to be perhaps the closest to us in the world. A serious scandal emerged, which had to be clarified by President Aleksandar Vučić himself.”

The text further states that Russia accepted Vučić’s explanation, although the public in Serbia does not know what the president of Serbia explained to Russia regarding the allegations on the sale of ammunition.

“Russia accepted the explanation, but some bitter taste still remained. And it stayed because Serbia really gave a number of reasons to talk about the readiness to distance itself from Russia. Therefore, not some minister, but Vučić himself did not rule out the possibility that, under the pressure of the EU and NATO, the country will have to join the sanctions,” writes Trukhachev.

Further, the text states that Russia is a true friend of Serbia, regardless of the fact that “it did not help Serbia in the 1990s”. However, Trukhachev believes that the current leadership in Serbia is not grateful enough to the Russian Federation.

“Thanks to Russia, to a great extent, the recognition of Kosovo was withdrawn by as many as 26 countries – mostly African countries. We gave the Serbs gas at a low price – even though we didn’t have to. Sometimes it really seems that Russia shows to be a greater protector of Serbs than Serbia itself,” the author writes.

In the text, which was taken over by pro-Russian portals in Serbia, but at the same time opposition-oriented due to the “Western policy” of Aleksandar Vučić, the well-known narratives about Russia as the protector of Serbia when it comes to Kosovo are repeated. Also, the narrative about Russian preferential gas prices for Serbia is mentioned, although the exact price Serbia will pay for gas in the next three years according to last year’s agreement between Putin and Vučić is not exactly known. In relation to Russia, which looks after Serbian interests, the text suggests that the West will only use Serbia for its conflict with Russia.

Author: Sofija Popović