Russia’s ongoing invasion against Ukraine demonstrates that the Kremlin’s geostrategic goals remain the same as during the Cold War but the means used to pursue these goals have evolved and their severity has intensified. The Russian leadership seeks to achieve supremacy in the Black Sea region and this top priority is often framed as an existential struggle. In pursuing this objective, the Kremlin relies on an arsenal of tools for interference in and destabilization of other countries. Disinformation and media capture are part of the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare strategy and both leverage economic influence to hijack political agendas and shape public opinion in target countries.
This report examines the sustained efforts by the Kremlin and its local enablers in Bulgaria and Romania to produce and amplify disinformation to sow confusion, evade accountability, legitimize concrete policies, and undermine international disarmament and non-proliferation norms. The report summarizes the results of a comparative media monitoring analysis that focuses on the spread of the narrative about bioweapon laboratories in Ukraine in the Bulgarian and Romanian media space. Evidence-based public policy recommendations are provided for institutional audiences in both countries, with the ultimate aim of supporting the development of integrated national approaches for countering disinformation.