But even as a local correspondent for the Danas daily in eastern Serbia, he has faced death threats and other online abuse from a mostly anonymous digital mob since profiling a Ukrainian in his early 30s who found temporary shelter in Serbia after fleeing Lviv, in western Ukraine.
Stojanovic said the threats left him unwell enough to seek emergency medical care himself and have him worried for the safety of his family as well as for the war refugee in his story.
„I feel terrible,“ he told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service from Zajecar, where he is a local correspondent for Danas. „What strikes me most is that this guy traveled 1,000 kilometers, escaped from the hell of war, and now he feels insulted and attacked here.“
Local police responded quickly to Stojanovic’s complaint, arresting an unnamed individual suspected of endangering public safety.
But his and other cases — against a backdrop of rallies in Belgrade to support Serbs’ Russian „brothers“ — hint at the reach in the Balkans of Kremlin talking points and the perils of even appearing to blame Moscow for its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Stojanovic, who has expressed opposition to the war in Ukraine, said he was threatened „that something would happen to me if I accidentally met someone who was threatening me on the street in Zajecar,“ a city of around 60,000 people.
Stojanovic said not all the insults and online attacks are anonymous; some include the names and surnames of the people who posted them.
Some of them accuse the young Ukrainian of opposing Orthodox Christianity and supporting Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose 2008 declaration of sovereignty is supported by more than 100 countries but still fiercely opposed by Belgrade and Moscow, among others.
Stojanovic also said some insults against the Ukrainian include suggestions that he is „a Nazi and not welcome in Serbia, as Ukraine is a fascist country.“
Such language echoes a long-standing and misleading characterization of the pro-Western governments that emerged in Ukraine after a pro-Moscow president was ousted by popular unrest in 2013-14.