Bulgaria has been among the preferred targets of Russia’s influence operations, which employ hybrid warfare tactics, combining hard, soft, and sharp power. Russia has relied on strategic corruption and regulatory manoeuvres to capture key assets including in the energy and communications sectors and has leveraged deeply rooted sentiments on cultural and historical matters within society to advance its agenda by politicizing emotions along geopolitical lines. The Kremlin’s influence operations are not limited to a specific sector or area of activity but target multiple domains. Their destabilizing effects pose a significant threat to national security.
As the ongoing war against Ukraine demonstrates, Russia’s hybrid warfare strategy can escalate into a full-scale invasion. An effective strategy against hybrid threats must address local vulnerabilities and focus on equipping government and civil society stakeholders with knowledge, techniques, and tools to mitigate the risk of malign foreign interference. This report outlines a model of an integrated national approach for preventing, detecting, and disrupting hybrid threats. The model centres on proactive deterrence, in order to ensure capacity for intercepting aggressive behaviour in a timely manner.