In the second quarter of 2023, Russian propaganda in Bulgarian online media more than tripled compared to the same period last year.
This follows from the second newsletter of the Foundation for Humanities and Social Studies - Sofia (FHSI), which studies propaganda on the Internet, Radio Free Europe reports.
The number of fake news sites reprinting false information about Russia's war against Ukraine and key domestic political events, such as the formation of the cabinet of Nikolay Denkov, has also increased. Russian propaganda spokespersons in Bulgaria remain active, and according to the report, they seek to adapt ready-made narratives from Moscow to the changing reality in the country.
Much of the disinformation comes from the so-called "mushroom sites". These are fast-growing, short-lived fake news sites controlled by what FHSI calls a "fake news reprint machine."
The foundation claims that this "machine" was created in 2022 and is inextricably linked to the Blitz news agency.
"It includes more than 370 anonymous quasi-news sites with almost identical design and identical content, which reprinted an average of 3 to 9 pro-Russian articles during the study period (up to 3,500 propaganda reprints on peak days)," the authors of the report write.
In total, 105,741 propaganda articles were found between June 1 and June 30, 2023. For comparison, in the first 5 months of last year, this figure was about 36,000.
Author - Olena Madiak, 10/08/2023