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GLOBSEC Trends 2022: Bulgaria

Bulgaria has established itself as a country home to the most fervent pro-Russian sentiment in Central and Eastern Europe. Bulgarians indeed espoused the greatest support for an Eastern geopolitical orientation in 2021 (at around 12%). The 2022 survey indicates that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has not changed these views. On the contrary, people are now more likely to support leaving NATO and the EU. The perception that Russia is a security threat to Bulgaria, that said, has surged to 30% (it was previously near zero). But 57% still reject the idea that Russia poses a threat (unchanged from the year prior). Russia, moreover, is still seen as a strategic partner by nearly 30% of Bulgarians. Only 21%, by contrast, identify the US as a strategic partner.  

For most Central and Eastern Europeans, dissatisfaction with how democracy works in their countries is considered an endemic problem1. Perhaps influenced by the actions of nearby autocracies, the 2022 polling revealed that satisfaction with democracy as a governance system soared across the region, on average, by 11%. Satisfaction with democracy, now 24%, in Bulgaria increased six points in the country. This figure, nevertheless, puts it on par with Romania at the lowest level in the region.  

This report scrutinises various indicators to assess whether these developments can be considered a pattern or rather a piece of a more complex puzzle. Compared to the GLOBSEC Trends comparative report, it provides a more in-depth look at socio-demographic data and notable shifts therein. 

Read more below.