Over 170,000 people have signed the “ProGlas initiative”, launched by a group of intellectuals and public figures calling people to vote in the 17 December elections. The public figures, who do not support any party openly but are highly critical of the current government, include the former president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Vladimir Kostić, former rector of the University of Belgrade Ivanka Popović, actress Svetlana Bojković, actor Dragan Bjelogrlić, judge Miodrag Majić and others.
The negative campaign against the “ProGlas” in the pro-government media has been ongoing since early November when the initiative was launched. In addition to statements from government officials, pro-government media dailies have regularly published pieces discrediting individuals who supported “ProGlas”.
Last week, the Russian state media outlet in Serbia Russia Today Balkan (RT Balkan) also joined the effort to discredit “ProGlas”. RT Balkan “investigated” the alleged connections between “ProGlas” and civil society organizations in Serbia, Soros, CIA and the United States.
RT’s analysis, published on 6 December, made its way to the front page of the leading pro-government tabloid Informer, and the article about it was also published in the print edition of the oldest daily in Serbia, Politika.
Thus, the Russian state media in Serbia once again came to the aid of the ruling party. During the first in a series of mass anti-government protests following the May mass shootings, RT Balkan reported that opposition parties were attempting to exploit the tragedies for the promotion of their own interests.
The newest RT article states that the initiative is backed by the non-governmental organization Civic Initiatives (Građanske inicijative), “known in public as one of the pro-Western NGOs”.
“The list of donors for this organization includes the embassies of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States, as well as the European Commission, Freedom House, ‘Integra Kosovo,’ Soros’s Kosovo Open Society Foundation and its branch in “the rest of” Serbia, the Council of Europe, USAID, and, of course, the unavoidable NED, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, which has been linked to CIA activities since its inception”, writes RT Balkan.