Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has once again highlighted the risks associated with the EU’s considerable dependence on conventional energy supplies from Russia. Although the current energy crisis began before the war, Russia exacerbated the situation in an effort to blackmail the EU and its members to abandon their common energy security strategy, green transition plans, and foreign policy stance in support of Ukraine. The invasion has, however, served to expedite the EU’s diversification away from Russian energy and has also shown signs of potentially hastening the transition away from fossil fuels. As such, the European Green Deal has taken on a new significance as a means of addressing the implications of the war and of reducing the EU’s dependence on Russian energy and its vulnerability to the Kremlin’s authoritarian overreach.
Bulgaria remains one of the most vulnerable EU and NATO member states to foreign authoritarian influence. The country has long been among the Kremlin’s favourite targets and playgrounds for its information warfare. The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation in the country have increasingly targeted the European Green Deal, as part of its ongoing campaign of promoting large-scale Russian energy projects. In 2021 most of the local disinformation related to the Green Deal in Bulgaria was produced and disseminated by Bulgarian media and political and economic entities known for systematically amplifying the Kremlin’s influence. Given Bulgaria’s significant vulnerability to disinformation and the low levels of information literacy in the country, these activities cast doubt on Bulgaria’s ability to abide by its commitments regarding the Green Deal.