News & Events

In its Policy Brief Disinformation Narratives in the November 2021 Bulgarian Elections Campaign: Key Actors and Amplifiers Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) is exploring Bulgaria’s growing vulnerability to propaganda and disinformation in the context of November 2021 parliamentary and presidential elections. At the same time COVID-19 pandemic is at the height of its fourth wave, political instability and polarization have reached highest levels, and rising energy prices threaten social stability.

This rapid reaction assessment, seeks to improve the understanding of the link between the use of disinformation messaging techniques and popular attitudes on key contemporary issues during the November 2021 election campaigns. It conducts a brief overview of the main social media communication patterns of political parties and candidates and tries to reveal possible influence over voting patterns. Some of the key points of the analysis are:

  • The deterioration  of  media  freedom  and  the  lack  of credible  public  policy  responses have  exposed Bulgarian voters to a  toxic  cocktail of local and  foreign propaganda.
  • The widespread  dissemination  of propaganda  and disinformation  narratives  in  Bulgaria  should be  seen  in the  framework  of the  increased social  media  channels societal  impact  of and  the  competition  between democratic  and  authoritarian regimes.
  • Mainstream political parties have captured much of the social media attention during the current election campaign. Yet smaller nationalist political groups have significantly increased their reach.
  • The most popular  narratives  in  the  Bulgarian  Facebook space  in  the  weeks  before  the  elections concerned COVID19, and the vaccines.
  • The most popular disinformation narrative regarding the European  Green  Deal  portrayed  it  as  a utopian, economically  unviable  policy, that  has  led  to  Europe’s current  energy crisis.