Serb tabloids on Putin and Kosovo: A spurn or loyalty

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Moscow earlier this week. Since the very beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials have regularly underscored that a precedent was set when NATO bombed sovereign Yugoslavia and intervened in Kosovo.
However, Putin’s latest statement to Guterres particularly caught the attention of both domestic and international media – that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic became independent precisely based on the precedent made by the International Court of Justice while ruling on Kosovo’s independence.
Putin pointed out that he „read all the documents“ of the International Court of Justice regarding Kosovo and that he „remembers quite well“ the decision stating that in exercising the right to self-determination, a certain territory of any state is not obliged to ask the central authorities for permission to declare sovereignty.
„That was declared when it comes to Kosovo and it was a decision of the International Court of Justice, which was supported by all,“ Putin said, adding that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic have the same right as Kosovo to declare its sovereignty without permission from the central government. „Because a precedent was set,“ RIA Novosti reported, which was then picked up by other news agencies.
A day later, Serbian tabloids began reporting about Putin in a different tone than usual – lacking the long-standing support for the Russian President.
„Putin forgot about Serbs and Kosovo because of his war“ – „Have we, as a nation, placed too much faith on the Russian president“, reads the front page of Blic daily.
„What have you done, our Russian brothers“ – „Putin stabbed Serbia in the back“, „Traded Kosovo for Donbas“ – Srpski Telegraf reports.
„Maps are open“ – „Naked interest“ – „Putin’s statement protects Russia’s interests in Donetsk and Lugansk, without taking into account Serbia’s position in Kosovo.“ „Our state must be guided exclusively by its own interests „, reads the front page of Belgrade-based tabloid Kurir.
Such headlines triggered an avalanche of reactions of analysts and media in Serbia and the region, as well as Western experts, who shared suspicions that Serbia is preparing to impose sanctions on Russia. In support of that, they cite the increased pressure on Serbia from the West, as well as the ongoing visit of the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried, to several countries in the region, including Serbia.
However, even among today’s headlines of pro-governmental Serbian tabloids, the reports are somewhat differing.
For example, on the cover of Informer, despite headlines that could be interpreted as criticism of the Russian president, it is relativized by expanding the context to the world conflict, while directly criticizing Serb opposition politician Vuk Jeremic:
„The world conflict by our skin / Putin puts on a Kosovo play“, „Donetsk and Luhansk became independent just like Kosovo, said Vladimir Putin and referred to the 2009 ruling of the International Court of Justice, which legitimizes a false state and was reached thanks to Vuk Jeremic!?!“
The same cover also contains Putin’s photograph – one of the photos used for years to portray the Russian president as a hero, with the message:
„If anyone gets involved in the war, I will not hesitate to use weapons that no one has „- Vladimir Putin said yesterday in St. Petersburg.
However, on the same day, a number of Serb media outlets shared news pieces depicting unquestionable support of the Russian government for Serbia.
„Russian gas comes to Serbia without interruption,“ reads the front page of Vecernje Novosti. The same cover describes the „interpretation“ of Putin’s words to Guterres about the parallel between Kosovo and the self-proclaimed Russian republics as „a strike against Vucic“: „They ‘interpret’ Putin to strike against Vucic“. The cover also contains an image of a part of a text published by – „Putin humiliated Vucic at the famous table / I will tell you why I recognized the independence of Donbas“.

Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.