Over the past decade, Bulgaria is among the preferred targets of Russia’s influence operations which employ multifaceted and constantly evolving hybrid warfare tactics. Such operations can be hard to detect but they generally seek to undermine democratic institutions and processes, deepen and exploit economic dependencies, and sow social divisions through deceit and manipulation. Because of their destabilizing effects, the Kremlin’s influence operations pose a significant threat to national security.
A robust and effective strategy to respond to Russia’s hybrid campaigns requires concerted action on multiple fronts. On 28 June 2023, the Center for the Study of Democracy held a workshop titled “Integrated approach to countering hybrid threats in Bulgaria” which focused on the prerequisite infrastructure and capabilities for the implementation of a coordinated national strategy to mitigate the impact of foreign authoritarian influence on security. The workshop brought together representatives from law enforcement, criminal justice, defence, and foreign policy sectors, as well as academia and civil society. This event is part of a series of expert-level workshops which aim to facilitate cooperation between Bulgarian and Romanian stakeholders on preventing hybrid threats in the Black Sea region.