June 26, 2023

Authors and affiliation: Ruslana Margova and Dr. Milena Dobreva, GATE Institute & Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media

Reviewers and affiliation: Patrick Gensing, Tagesschau, and Irina Nedeva, Association of European Journalists


  • In recent years, Bulgaria has been in constant early elections (five national votes in two years) and governed by a caretaker cabinet for over a year. Political tensions in the country stem from several corruption scandals that have deepened institutional distrust. As a result,  powerful societal and political divisions remain impossible to bridge. This mistrust in official institutions and the increasing societal divisions are an ideal breeding ground for disinformation.
  • The transformation of COVID-19 anti-vaxer user accounts and groups into pro-Putin advocates is proof of the severe consequences of this mistrust. 48% of Bulgarians are satisfied with the European Union’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, compared to 56% of European citizens taken cumulatively. Among the sampled Bulgarian, 47% favour economic sanctions against Russia,  and 39% support banning Russian state media, against the European average (74% and 67%, respectively).  
  • The pandemic-led rise in mortality and consequent decrease in life expectancy severely affected Bulgaria, which also has very high rates of unvaccinated population, suggesting vulnerability to COVID-19 disinformation.
  • As a whole, the Bulgarian disinformation landscape faces both old and new challenges, as well as domestic and external threats that feed on each other. In addition to cross-border disinformation, there are also many home-grown disinformation narratives – e.g., the misrepresentation of national history, the technology-related fears, and the shutdown of social media accounts.
  • In addition, Bulgaria is traditionally at the bottom of the EU countries ranking in the Media Literacy Index. The numerous training initiatives in this domain are insufficient, as the educational system does not integrate media literacy. 

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The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of EU DisinfoLab. This factsheet does not represent an endorsement by EU DisinfoLab of any organisation.

This project is funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.