Putin is copying the propaganda playbook of Serbian war criminals

A year ago, Ukrainian soldiers discovered evidence of the Bucha massacre in which Russian forces slaughtered hundreds of Ukrainians in cold blood. Far from owning up to its crimes, Russia has spent the past 12 months trying to spin the massacre as a Western-inspired conspiracy.  The Kremlin said the allegations are a ‘monstrous forgery’ aimed at denigrating the Russian army. This attempt to whitewash the truth has disturbing parallels with the cover up of atrocities that occurred in my home country, Bosnia, during the 1990s. There are chilling links between today’s war crimes denialism by Russia and the genocide denialism that continues in Bosnia to this day, over the murder of  more than

Bucha and the dark echoes of Srebrenica

High on a hillside not far from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica the remains of dozens of young Muslim men had been left to rot. By the time I found them most of the flesh had been eaten away by forest scavengers – bears, wolves, foxes and even stray dogs – but the skeletons and skulls remained, some with rags of clothing and scraps of hair still attached. Personal possessions lay among the remains: tobacco tins – one inscribed with the name Suljo, a pair of broken glasses, family photographs. Most of these photos were taken with Polaroid cameras – a status symbol in the old Yugoslavia. The black backings had

Russia’s ‘denazification’ project is only just beginning

Truth, infamously, is the first casualty of war. But the truth, in modern Russia, was critically wounded before it got anywhere close to the staging grounds, let alone the battlefield. And still the disinformation project limps on. The most recent and blatant example of the Kremlin’s communications modus operandi is its instant write-off as ‘fake’ of photographs and video from Bucha, a quiet town outside Kyiv, now littered with civilian corpses and the broken machinery of war. Perhaps the invading troops left in a hurry, or perhaps Bucha was meant as some kind of warning, but the perpetrators didn’t care to clear up their handiwork. Reporters have now recorded and