In this newsletter, we present the activity, narratives and speakers of Russian propaganda disseminated in Bulgarian online media in the third quarter of 2023. The propaganda wave was already rising in early 2022, and has remained high in 2023. The dissemination of its narratives has increased by up to 20 times. This increase is due, firstly, to new technological solutions – most notably, the formation of a Machine of Mushroom Websites which amplifies the spread of messages both on social media and Google. The Machine consists of more than 370 anonymous pseudo-news websites with identical design and content, which disseminated three to seven articles with pro-Russian content every day in the third quarter of 2023, thus
often publishing more than 3,000 articles per day. Secondly, the profile of propaganda dissemination has changed – the official spokespersons of the Russian Federation have become the main channels of Russian propaganda. These are Putin, Lavrov, Peskov, Zakharova, Mitrofanova, etc., who are literally repeating propaganda talking points with their respective vocabulary. Hence, their dissemination has sharply increased as all media, both Bulgarian and international – even the objective ones – are compelled to quote them. In Bulgaria, along with translations
from Russian, the Kremlin’s narratives are also circulated by a number of local speakers.
This newsletter analyzes the overall propaganda activity, the activity of the Machine of Mushroom Websites, the change in narratives, and the main messages of (pro)Russian propaganda
spread by its local speakers.




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