The Angel Group's "Hybrid Fortress" project aims to provide an in-depth and objective overview of Russia's ideology and influence. Through alternative approaches, writer and journalist Iliyan Kuzmanov has managed to compile an intense picture of a previously unexplored problems. Bulgaria is used as a successful example of how an EU and NATO member state can be successfully used as a self-sustainable multi-functional proxy by Russia.
The project aims to explain Russia's attitude towards NATO, its growing cooperation with former Soviet republics(focus Balcans and Bulgaria), and the likely second round of enlargement through visions of a new Russian identity. It explores how political forces in Russia map Eurasia after the Soviet Union's breakup and how these "cognitive maps" shape foreign policy agendas. The project aims to reconstruct historically based "cognitive maps" of Eurasia, providing additional insights into Russia's quest for a new identity and strategic thinking of NATO, as well as its growing cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance and other CIS countries.
This project aims to evolve into an In-depth Scientific Study that, through an in-depth multi-disciplinary analysis, reaches the core of Russian influence in Bulgaria. Through this to be understood as a whole so that we can successfully counter it. The project will draw on rich digital content as well as in-depth academic research.
The main categories that have been used are:
Terror and Sabotage Aims to demonstrate that Terror and Sabotage have different forms and functions. Through them, a favorable ground and environment can be provided. But they are also a means to effectively achieve geopolitical results, to financially benefit the Russian apparatus abroad.
Favourable Soil and Environment Bulgaria provides ideal soil and political conditions for Russian interests. Although it cleverly tries to hide behind Political Theater, the smaller settlements of the capital reveal the enormous depth and seriousness of the problem.
Spiritual Gate of Russia to the West The view of Bulgaria as a Trojan Horse is too limited and limited, not revealing the true size of the problem. That is why I use a term used by the largest and most successful Bulgarian publisher who, when asked by a Russian media outlet about Bulgaria's role in Europe, replied that it is the Spiritual Gate of Russia.
Ethnic Nationalism Ethnic and Cultural ties are the main instrument of Russia's attempts to form a homogeneous Slavic World.
Anti System Cults Through Anti System Cults and Beliefs, Russia has succeeded in inflicting enormous societal damage. It skillfully uses destructive sets of beliefs to realize its goals.
Educational Bridges of Perceptions Education is an essential pillar of any totalitarian society based on a centralized state bureaucracy. Through various forms of education, Russia formed a not-so-different post-Soviet society.
Red Guards The communist elite in Bulgaria, unlike in many other post-Soviet countries, was preserved and managed through mimicry to preserve itself to this day, in various forms.
The political "Opposition" The Bulgarian opposition demonstrates not only by its actions, but also by its inactions, that it largely resembles the Russian opposition.
Bulgaria should only be perceived and regarded as Russia's Spiritual Gateway to the West. The concept of a Trojan Horse, promoting Russia's interests, has completely fallen away after the military conflict with Ukraine. The importance for the formation and spread in the West of subversive anti-systemic ideologies and cultural currents is paramount. As well as spreading delusions about the nature of the Communist system as a whole. Bulgarian sects are extremely successful in France. Bulgarians were at the head of the European Socialists. Bulgarians were the only ethnic group that supported the attack on the Capitol with Trump supporters. And in general, support for Trump among the Bulgarian community is strangely overwhelming. Bulgarians have been behind some of the biggest digital scams, showing resources in the tens of billions that have been in their hands. Bulgarians in the UK are openly organising into Neo Fascist Groups, they were spreading anti-vaxxer propaganda en masse in London during the COVID, they are also openly organising Pro Russian Groups(who even organise open seminars and meetings).
In the ever-changing landscape of political ideas, Eurasianism as a complex ideology has become an influential and aggressive movement, posing a major threat to the established world legal order. The foundation of this threat lies not so much in an aggressive foreign policy as in the complexity of an anti-liberal ideology that has succeeded in gathering under the banners of Imperial Russia radical currents from the left and right of the political spectrum and underwriting them with a religious form of socialism.
This article aims to present a comparative analysis of Russia's influence on far-right parties in Europe. By delving into the discourse of these parties and analyzing public opinion, we can gain insights into the complex dynamics between right-wing populism and Russian influence in Europe. In recent years, Russia's political agenda has exhibited a marked interest in the far-right political parties of Europe. This trend, which started in Eastern Europe, has now expanded to Western Europe, with a focus on France and Italy. The political landscape of Europe has been experiencing major shifts, with far-right and far-left parties gaining ground against more traditional political forces. Amid this upheaval, Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, has found a unique opportunity to extend its influence and promote its conservative, nationalistic ideologies.
The Power of Terror- Bulgaria, next to Ukraineis about the use of various forms of terror in Bulgaria, which ensure the mimicry and transience of the old Communist elite and secure the unbreakable ties with Russia.
What the war in Ukraine demonstrates is that modern forms of warfare are highly accurate and informational. Like war in the information space is misinformation and malicious. The headlines in 2023 are about Putin's exposed digital espionage and sabotage schemes, about blackmails, sabotages by Russian hackers, Russian hunger for strategic intel and leaks of important information.
The National Socialist Ideology of Putin's philosopher Dugin, the Orthodox radical strivings of media oligarch Malofeev and the patriotic circles around them, including the private military outfit Wagner of Putin's "cook" Prigozhin, may have seemed frivolous a few years back and were treated with irony. But the war in Ukraine, has completely confused the cards and allowed this group and their current to germinate into a leadership position. Today, one year after the beginning of the military conflict against Russia, to look down on them is impossible. Not least because, the attitude towards Hitler and his National Socialists was no different from the underestimation in the early 1920s in Germany. The fact is that the world today is facing a new form of National Socialism that is pushing us toward a new world war. The big question, in what soil was this culture planted and was able to sprout and bear its first fruits undisturbed.
The Bulgarian opposition demonstrates not only by its actions, but also by its inactions, that it largely resembles the Russian opposition. But if we are to be objective, it is much more likely to be expected that there will be a democratic opposition in Afghanistan and Syria than political entities in Russia. Russia’s weaponization of corruption—its export of corrupt practices via the abuse of western legal and financial loopholes in order to further its geopolitical goals—has stimulated anti-American sentiment in Europe and galvanized extremist forces on both sides of the Atlantic. While Moscow pushes its anti-globalization narrative, it is simultaneously taking advantage of globalization to export its own version of crony capitalism to many countries in the OSCE region. Bulgaria has been plagued by corruption and institutional decay for more than 35 years. Not only is it the most corrupt country in Europe, but it has also been called, not undeservedly, Russia's Trojan Horse in the EU. Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Bulgarian elite, which successfully mimicked after the fall of Communism, has nervously used the ideological billets (ethnic nationalism and radical Orthodoxy) provided by Moscow as a shield against potentially being held accountable for its disruptive actions from within against NATO and the EU. Bulgaria has significant issues with corruption and was named 2020’s most corrupt country in the European Union by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. Media freedom is under threat and the country has been dubbed the black sheep of the European Union by Reporters Without Borders.
Russia's political system resembles the Kremlin's towers, far right, centrists and rightists fighting each other but being part of one fortress. Far-right ideology in Russia is part of the project to resurrect the Empire, and an important part of an international far-right network. Friendly clusters are being created abroad, and radical elements are being recruited and trained in Russia. In 1973. Solzhenitsyn, a large man with a scraggly beard, published a book that shook the Soviet empire. The Gulag Archipelago threatened Brezhnev's Soviet Union to such an extent that his assassination alone would have been insufficient for the scale of his betrayal; he had to be sent into exile. It was the official legend that was more than positively received by the West, making Solzhenitsyn a hero and one of the key cultural figures for decades to come. But Solzhenitsyn's relationship to the culture of American liberal democracy - finance, capitalism, individualism - remains dubious. From today's vantage point, Solzhenitsyn is undoubtedly the main foundation of modern Russian nationalism, traditionalism, and criticism of the West. For many scholars Solzhenitsyn is the unofficial leader of the Russian nationalist intelligentsia and the father of the idea of regaining lost territories(Ukraine). Today, the West is repeating the same mistake with the so-called opposition leader Navalny, who, unlike Solzhenitsyn, has entrenched far-right views, shown in embryo, and is representative of some of the most right-wing elements in the Russian oligarchy.
Why is this Study Important? Because anti-systemic cults have been tearing Europe apart for Centuries, plunging it into chaos and wars.
In 2023, a Europe not yet recovered from Kovid is immersed in social unrest. Inflation, economic crisis and labour protests everywhere. Who is fuelling the ideological base of the anti-systemic currents in Europe? What does anti-system mean?Anti-systemic ideology is the main problem the world has faced historically. The Bulgarian contribution, improved in Russian think tanks, is examined. Their development and effects in Bulgaria. As Bulgaria's subversive intellectual exports. Russian Cults, unlike Western ones, are extremely flexible, thanks to the fact that religion has been removed from their core and replaced by adaptability. Because of this they work beautifully with groups related to Art and Business (people with time and opportunity to seek answers to mystical and existential questions).
This is an extreme example of what has been missed by those calling themselves Pro West in Bulgaria. An example of the credibility of the information that expensive experts, coming from Bulgaria and trained in the most prestigious universities, have presented about Bulgaria. An example of how Russia managed to win the information war, the war of deception and fog. For more than a decade, under the eyes of institutions, services, NGOs, media, this either remained invisible or was presented as something positive. A number of Russian far-right groups were "actively training foreign white nationalists" and making efforts to recruit far-right extremists around the world. In 2020, the Russian Nationalist Organization was qualified as a specially designated global terrorist structure. In 2022. Russia was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism as well as a terrorist regime. Despite all the international developments, at the same time, a Bulgarian Russian organization from Pazardzhik Parallel to the development of educational exchanges with Russia, alternative paramilitary patriotic youth organizations trained by military personnel in Russia are developing not only seamlessly, but also with tremendous media and institutional support in Bulgaria. As well as with the support of all those who silently covered it up.
This is an example to understand the size of the information fraud coming from Bulgaria and the level of corruption deeply linked to Russia. The example used is the first large-scale PR demonstration of EU and NATO membership since the early 2000s. The media sensation - Bulgaria's first and most European village - Kalugerovo, a village that had painted its town hall in EU colours and put up a sign saying it was in the EU (even before Bulgaria's official accession). A place that, thanks to its declared media Euro-Atlanticism, managed to become a champion in the absorption of EU funds, tens of millions of which were used to finance the local elites (who were expected to be part of the Western world). But behind the corruption, let's see how after tens of millions of EU funds it rejected its ties with Moscow and whether it actually joined the western world. Or did they use Western money to blaze trails and position themselves in the West to add new points of influence for Moscow?
An example of how Russia has officially throughout the period after Bulgaria's accession to the EU developed and maintained official economic, cultural and educational ties with Bulgarian cities individually (skipping very intelligently the need to do this at state level, which is left to maintain the necessary image). How the periphery (countryside) in Bulgaria develops and maintains close ties with Russia, in parallel with the two major cities of Sofia and Plovdiv (used as showcases for deception). Certain schools with a focus on the arts and economics that are of great interest to Russia and that have worked punctually for decades to shape and promote Russian propaganda mythology, anti-system ideology, and love of Russia are examined.
Slavophilism and Orthodoxy are at the heart of the Russian propaganda machine in Bulgaria, which has been working methodically for decades. Substituting historical facts, there has been a boom of pseudo-historical books in mass culture supporting Russian mythology. What is new, however, are the large-scale television projects subsidised by the state. and the extremely skilful negative and positive PR campaigns, which, moreover, employ extremely professional ideological propagandists who meet no resistance. The fall of communism in Bulgaria in 1989 hardly affected the totalitarian cultural elite. This elite managed to retain its key positions in the financing, promotion and dissemination of the various arts and to pass them on to its successors. Moreover, it preserved the branch organizations and art educational institutions, which were the filter and censor, of the same totalitarian apparatus, Art under totalitarianism in Bulgaria was divided into Elite Culture and barbaric vulgarism, like National Socialism in Nazi Germany. Today the cultural elite seeks to return the country to traditional Slavic values, ideologically duplicating Communism. To eliminate or limit "alien" and "degenerate" influences and to form instead a racial, ethnic-cultural pure and distinct community. In Nazi Germany it was the Jews, in Russia it was the people of Asian origin from the former republics of the USSR, in Bulgaria it was the Turks, Gypsies and immigrants behind whom the struggle against Western influence was disguised.
History Clubs, Historical Myths and Nostalgia for the Soviet Union A key part of Nazi ideology and what we have today comming from Russia is the concept of the enemy in terms of historical arguments. The modern Putin National Socialism is to define the enemy and those who posed a threat to the so-called Slavic Ethno Group. On a micro level, I examine the historical formation of the Russian Myth and how it has been passed down through the generations and built upon by professional historians and secret service people strongly connected to Russia and the KGB.
Is it possible that a party born in the protests against the Mafia, claiming to be pro-Western, but launched by a pro-Russian President in 2023 could first unite with the former Communist Party and rather dubious left populists, then agree on reform with the so-called Mafia and finally reach out for a coalition to the most pro-Russian party in Bulgaria? One of the main fallacies that the pro-Russian very old elite in Bulgaria has managed to push is that "there is change" or "change is coming" in the face of young people educated in the West. The delusion that they can or want to surpass the generations before them. Ignoring the fact that literally those generations are their parents and relatives. And as in Russia, the elites were not replaced after the fall of communism, leaving them with an overwhelming sense of humiliation and desire for revenge. This applies in full measure to Bulgaria.
Young Red Guards - they could have graduated even in Ukraine, been at the head of the Young Socialists, then created gravitating parties, but they are in one way or another Moscow's vanguard against the West. A very curious and in-depth look at the development of the youth organization of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (which succeeded the Communist Party). Explores similarities and differences with the old Red Guards as well as new ideological approaches.
In the context of Russia's hybrid influence, Bulgarian literature is Russia's spiritual gateway to the West. Literature, which was perceived as the main means of propaganda during the USSR, continues to be of major importance today. It would be irresponsible to be indifferent to it today. Especially when the most successful contemporary Bulgarian writer, nurtured for decades by the state and publishing houses created with Russian money, has been called the Bulgarian George Orwell, and his style surpasses the left-wing English original in its crudity and cynicism about the individual, business, freedom and liberalism.
Media Fraternity Between Bulgaria and Russia reveals an inextricable link between the most important public figures (influencers) in the field of art and media. Taking a firm pro-Russian stance at sublime moments, they do not embarrass themselves. And at other moments they are just a conduit for anti-establishment ideology. This is art in Bulgaria, which has one market - Bulgaria and one main patron - the Bulgarian state. It is dependent and has neither the desire nor the ambition to profit abroad, except for some expensive PR campaign again for domestic consumption.
Anything related to Walt Disney has been banned in Russia since February 2023. Bulgaria's most famous leftist director poses with Let's Kill Mickey Mouse t-shirts. But this is just the tip of the iceberg called Bulgarian Culture and Successful Bulgarian Artists in the West. An iceberg filled with heirs of the communist elite, with a hatred of everything Western and imbued with the influence of art from the USSR.
This is an illustration of the political and cultural metamorphosis of Bulgaria. As well as how misleading the political elite in Bulgaria is. When we talk about the cultural (and political) trends in Pazardzhik over the last 15 years, Georgi Spasov is the man who built the overall cultural vision of the city. Georgi Spasov was the director of the Pioneer Home (the youth organization of the Communist Party responsible for political education and propaganda among the youth) during the communist regime before 1989, responsible for selecting the most gifted and ideologically faithful cadres of the party. This was the director of the Department of Enlightenment, until 1989- the ideological selection of teachers in education. Today he is on the ballot for deputy of the pretended "pro-Western" Party of Change.
In For the West and Evil are collected the wisdoms of Metropolitan Nicholas of Plovdiv. The West is evil, the Pope is evil, the universities in the West are evil, human rights and freedoms are evil... this is only a small part of the thunderous condemnations of Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv. There is also particular attention given to the various Russian clerical alumni in Bulgaria, who form an extremely stable and influential network in clerical circles.
Russian monuments are the pillars of the nostalgic past of the Great Empire of the USSR. They are part of the great Russian Myth in Bulgaria, which reminds of the obligations of its liberators, the obligations to "Big Brother Russia, who liberated Bulgaria twice from slavery" and who can liberate Bulgaria again if necessary.
Gelemenov is an important figure for Bulgarian democracy and the Far Right. He went from a graduate in diplomacy in Moscow, to skinheads, to a priest fighting Satan He graduated at the same time in Moscow with the future foreign minister from Pazardzhik Stoyan Ganev (who started the Right and Democratic Forces in Bulgaria and the whole pro-Western framework). Unlike the moderate right-wing democrat Ganev(who has interesting ties to the Korean cult of Moon), Gelemenov is the core of the far right and extreme Orthodox fanaticism.
Basically, whatever is said about Bulgarian nationalism and the fact that it is a direct product of the Kremlin will be almost exactly valid. Bulgarian nationalism can be seen as one of Russia's proving grounds. But what is interesting in this case, is how with PR and Marketing techniques, the openly pro-Kremlin Bulgarian parties are used to create the positive image of the so-called pro-Western Bulgarian opposition!
This is an example of how in Bulgaria the hatred of Russia is a PR tool, behind which in many cases real Russia worshippers hide. As well as that minor figures can give very important answers, where this PR hatred comes from and what it serves.
An example of a mayor, a politician, a man who built dozens of Russian monuments, a Moscow graduate, famous for his affinity for minors, and orgies provided for his political guests, accused of pedophile rape. An example of what it meant to be an Alumni from Russia in Bulgaria over the last 35 years. An example of how a Russian diploma could be seen as an open ticket to anything you could think and wish for - murder, rape, corruption. The important thing is to push Moscow's line, nothing more.
When talking about a particular region, geography and geolocation should be taken into account first and foremost. When using the example of Pazardzhik and the region, it should be taken into account that the most innovative methods of NATO warfare are at the training ground in the village of Cruncha, 10 kilometres from Pazardzhik. And in general, Pazardzhik's location is extremely important. It is located in the centre of Bulgaria, on the most important international road, between several NATO military bases and airfields and a few kilometres from the most important training ground.
Women in the ranks of the socialists are an interesting example. Obviously, it is easier to gravitate directly around the Russian Embassy and Russophile organizations than directly in a traditionally male and patriarchal party like the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
An example of a very interesting Minister of Culture from Pazardzhik. A man who was at the heart of the Protest Movement that started the pro-Western Parties of Change in 2020. He became Minister of Culture after that. Veleslav Minekov is the son of one of the closest artists of the communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. An example that when talking about the Communist Regime and Moscow's influence, one should always take into account at least a few generations back in anyone's CV.
People's diplomacy is an important element of Russian influence. It's a tool that skips over the need for institutions that are put in the role of Showcase of the really important things that are going on behind it. A Showcase can demonstrate Democracy, Liberalism, Pro-Western Orientation... Whatever it takes. from Pazardzhik People's Diplomacy, allows to penetrate and interact directly with town halls, interest groups, the people... or they can simply be placed by the people behind the Paravans.
In Bulgaria, the main protest force in all key protests so far has been the football teams. If you want to understand who has controlled the protests so far and who will control them in the future, the answer lies in the owners of the football clubs. Use the example of a Russian billionaire who owns the most popular football club in Plovdiv. By the way, all Russian investment in Bulgaria is strategic, and the EU pays for everything else.
Islam is the basis of the Russian historical and cultural myth in Bulgaria (about the Russians Liberators), as well as Russian and Bulgarian Nationalism. In the early 2000's there was an upsurge of Islamophobia in Russia, which they successfully exported to their former satellites and Europe alike. In the streets of Moscow people from the republics professing Islam were killed, in Bulgaria through farce they were put in Prison.
An article which examines the Bulgarian Police and its role in creating the myth of the Gypsies. A myth that is based on nostalgia for the time of Communism (USSR) and the "firm hand of the Law that gave peace to all. As well as the horrors of democracy and the Gypsy terror it brought." As the main internal vrag that sustains nostalgia, but which is also used as a scapegoat and negative distraction are the Gypsies (followed by Turks and Muslims).
This is an example of the scale and multilayered nature of the Russian propaganda in Bulgaria, which managed through various mechanisms of influence to revive landmarks typical of the Communist society before 1989. By building impassable moats that do not allow society to integrate into the new world of which it is a part.
An example of the delusions coming from Eastern Europe about the Kremlin's simple-minded moves. Perhaps with good reason and fear for themselves, having found themselves on the other side of the Iron Curtain, disinformation spills over into reports, media headlines, hysterical politicians... Part of the art of deception is to make the enemy underestimate the situation, assume it is harmless and stereotype it. After all, in the eyes of Russia (as well as the Bulgarian elite who managed to plunder the West for decades), Western society and politics are elementary and simple. It's hard to assume, especially when building other elementary images, that a digital troll can be a successful businessman who is involved in politics and is a member of parliament. Not needing a salary from the Kremlin, and him paying a salary to dozens or hundreds of people. Like all his arguments and they are based on the opinion of Specialists, Professors and Experts in various fields of scientific thought that are massively imposed in the well intentioned media environment. Soil in which Russian and Chinese seeds germinate.
The Bulgarian Nikolai Malinov, placed on the Magnitsky sanctions lists, on March 14, 2023 became the leader of the Russophile International Movement. In April 2023 a Referendum was initiated in Bulgaria for Bulgaria's exit from NATO, and on April 23 a protest for Peace and Neutrality was held in Sofia, in which tens of thousands of citizens took part. The Bulgarian Socialist Party in 2023 advocated peace in the world, or more precisely peace with Russia, the party that played a major role in everything that happened in Bulgaria from 1944 until the beginning of the military conflict in Ukraine and the threat of a new Iron Curtain. The issue now is one of survival.
The media in Bulgaria, as well as culture and education, are under the exclusive attention and control of Russia. What are the business interests of the billionaire Russian media tycoon Malofeev in the American, Greek and Bulgarian markets? What is behind the biggest bankruptcy in Bulgaria of the Bank KTB and the TV7 TV, which swallowed 300 million from the state budget? What are journalists from Malofeev's media doing in politics? The questions are many!
An example that in reality Russia has no reason to invest any funds in Bulgaria for Hybrid Warfare. Bulgaria is used as a financial piggy bank and financial proxy, but not for Russia to pay for anything in Bulgaria. At least there are billions of Euro Funding in Bulgaria, which even facilitates Russia's need to launder money. Europe can pay for anything, even Serbian pro Russian Fans and Bulgarian Team on a massive budget(with lots of corruption suspicions) to exchange best practices.
Stoyan Ganev is one of the most important people in the formation of Bulgarian democracy and elite. An extremely intelligent combinative mind. He graduated with full honors from the mathematical high school (1973) in Pazardzhik and was admitted to the most prestigious university in Bulgaria, after which he did a doctorate in law at the most prestigious university in Moscow "M. В. Lomonosov" in the 1980s, married the Russian Marina. This is one of the few people who shaped Bulgarian democracy in its infancy. One of the re-creators of the Democratic Movement in Bulgaria and the Pro-Western parties. Stoyan Ganev's overseas career is his strong connection to the empire around the sectarian leader Muun. After Stoyan Ganev's tenure at the UN ended, the former diplomat became a professor at the University of Bridgeport of all places.(As president of the 47th session of the UN General Assembly, Ganev often delivered the Korean's "Message of Hope" speeches.) For many years thereafter, the Bulgarian politician was a professor at the Moon-sponsored University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and many children of prominent Bulgarian politicians also graduated there. In the early 2000s, along with an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Vladimir Quint, Stoyan Ganev was the closest advisor to the Bulgarian Monarch, a figure around whom the Bulgarian political environment was fundamentally changing.
Articles in Progress: