DISINFO: Bulgaria is a country of professional Russophobes living on Western grants
  • Outlet: kp.ru (archived)*
  • Date of publication: June 22, 2021
  • Article language(s): Serbian
  • Reported in: Issue 254
  • Countries / regions discussed: Bulgaria, Russia, US
Russophobia Anti-Russian West education

DISINFO: Bulgaria is a country of professional Russophobes living on Western grants


Bulgarian society has turned anti-Russian in order to conform with the interests of the West. For 30 years the USA, using the America for Bulgaria Foundation, has been doing everything it can to spread Russophobia and now has direct influence over Bulgaria’s educational system. A majority of Bulgarians have lost all sense of rationality and are now full of blind hate towards Russians. Bulgarians are pragmatic and only pretend to like Russians in order to attract Russian tourists. However, all Russophile parties lose in elections with surprising consistency, and even scandalously failed in the last ones, each party gaining about 0.4%.


A recurrent disinformation narrative about supposed widespread Russophobia in Bulgaria. It serves to disparage Bulgaria’s Western orientation and delegitimiыe Bulgaria's opposition to Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy by falsely portraying Bulgarian society as extremely anti-Russian and by falsely claiming that the America for Bulgaria Foundation is spreading anti-Russian sentiments in Bulgaria’s educational system.

This case is part of a trilogy of cases covering the different disinformation aspects of the same article. The other two cases are available in the database here and here.

The article deliberately equates Kremlin’s authoritarian regime to Russia as a whole in order to present Bulgarian proponents of democracy and known critics of the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policies as Russophobes. The article also paints an unrealistic black-and-white picture where people are either pro-Kremlin or pro-Western and where there is never any middle ground.

In reality, however, a majority of Bulgarians are both Russophiles and in favour of Euro-Atlantic integration. The basic fact is that Bulgarians (and all people for that matter) can hold a complex mixture of ambiguous opinions, sometimes self-contradicting ones. Just because a majority of Bulgarians are in favour of the country’s continued membership in the EU and NATO, that does not necessarily mean they are Russophobes. Conversely, just because a majority of Bulgarians look favourably on Russia, that does not necessarily mean they oppose the West. Contrary to the sweeping assumptions pushed by the article, countries and societies within them are not uniform and homogenous, but are composed of various public and private bodies, organisations and individuals with diverse opinions.

The claim that a majority of Bulgarians are secretly Russophobes and only pretend to like Russia in order to attract Russian tourists is unfounded. Studies based on representative public opinion polls and focus groups in Bulgaria from 2020 and 2021 show that some 84% of Bulgarians see Russia as their “Slavic brother nation” and 45% of Bulgarians consider Russia to be Bulgaria’s most important strategic partner (compared to 27% for the US and 8% for China). The studies point out that out of all the analyzed Central and Eastern European countries (9 countries in 2020 and 10 in 2021), Bulgarian society is actually the most favourable towards Russia, as well as the most vulnerable to the Kremlin’s malign political and economic influence. In fact, conducting focus groups with people who are Russophobic in Bulgaria is a known challenge because so few actually subscribe to anti-Russian views.

Attempting to provide proof of Bulgarians’ alleged Russophobia, the article makes the claim that all Russophile parties consistently lose in Bulgaria’s general elections, especially in the last elections (in April and a snap election in June 2021) where these parties received no more than 0.4% of the votes, according to the outlet. In reality, Russophile parties have always been represented in parliament in Bulgaria’s contemporary history. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which is the successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party and is well-known for its favourable views toward Russia, has participated in every single parliamentary configuration and in four government compositions since 1990. It has never come below third place in any general election since 1990. BSP received 15% and 13% respectively and came in third place in both general elections in April and June 2021.

The article provides no tangible evidence for the claim that the US has been doing everything it can in the last 30 years to turn Bulgarian society against Russia by using the America for Bulgaria Foundation to influence the educational system. The America for Bulgaria Foundation has been active in Bulgaria since 2009, during which time it has invested over $200 million in over 1,000 projects in support of the country’s private sector and democratic institutions. The Foundation is an independent, non-political organisation that follows a policy of full transparency in terms of its activities and finances. The claims that the Foundation has direct influence over Bulgaria’s educational system and that it is stoking anti-Russian sentiments are baseless. The Foundation supports a network consisting of tens of Bulgarian schools, universities, libraries, theatres, museums and other organisations that aim to provide accessible and innovative education to young Bulgarians. Bulgaria’s educational system follows the continental European tradition and public education standards are set entirely by the Bulgarian state.

Read similar cases of disinformation in the database claiming that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria is Russophobia, that there was an attempt to carry out an anti-Russian coup in Bulgaria, that Bulgaria followed Czech example in accusing Russia of arms blasts, and that the America for Bulgaria Foundation, George Soros and other NGOs were organising a Maidan against Bulgaria’s president-elect.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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