The president of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) Ivica Dačić distanced himself from election video clip published on Twitter by Branko Ružić, the vice president of the SPS executive board.
Both politicians serve as ministers in the coalition government of Republic of Serbia. Dačić occupies the position of First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, while Ružić holds the post of Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.
Ružić published the video clip on May 31 with a message “Towards victory! #socialists.” The animation shows a crowd of gray people coming to worship a billboard with an image of Dačić and the slogan “Count on us” and the date June 21, 2020 – the scheduled day of parliamentary elections in Serbia.
The background music consists of punk version of the iconic song “Računajte na nas” (Count on us) by singer and songwriter Đorđe Balašević, originally published in 1978.
— Branko Ružić (@brankoruzicsps) May 31, 2020
In only two days, Ružić’s tweet recieved over 80.000 views and hundreds of negative reactions. Many of them qualify the video as “horror” and “creepy” while identifying the depiction of SPS voters as “zombies,” comparing them to characters from TV series such as the Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones.
Dačić reacted with a statement published on the SPS website, saying the clip was not an official publication of the party, but “an independent creation.”
“This is not an election video and has nothing to do with SPS. This is an independent creation which appeared on the social networks. By this time, SPS has not released its video clips,” Dačić stated.
The Socialist Party of Serbia, then run by Slobodan Milošević, ruled the country from 1990 to 2000, at the time when Serbia led several bloody wars in the Balkans. Some of the reactions to the video related to that legacy, in particular commenting on the text of the Tweet “Towards Victory!” mentioning the supposed ‘victories’ in Vukovar, Sarajevo, Srebrenica and Kosovo.
After several years in opposition, in 2008 SPS again joined the ruling coalitions which have been dominated by current President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, who as a member of the Radical Party served as Minister of Information in the governments set up by Milošević regime in the nineties.
Đorđe Balašević was among the few famous Serbian artists who openly opposed the SPS policies during the rule of Milošević.