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Anti-Russian Attitudes among Bulgarians Outnumber Pro-Russian 50%-33% Month after Start of War in Ukraine, Survey Finds

A survey of Bulgarians’ attitudes towards government institutions, politicians’ approval rating, the Cabinet’s performance and the economic situation, among other topics, was presented at the BTA National Press Club here on Thursday by Yuliy Pavlov of the Centre for Analyses and Marketing. The survey was conducted among 1,021 adults between March 25 and 29, 2022, past the first 100 days in office of the present Government and one month after the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Approval Ratings
President Rumen Radev remains one of the two politicians enjoying a positive rating, the other one being Vice President Iliana Iotova. The most distrusted politicians are VMRO leader Krasimir Karakachanov, GERB leader and former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Economy and Industry Minister Korneliya Ninova, Vazrazhdane Party leader Kostadin Kostadinov, and Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) Chairman Mustafa Karadayi.
The survey found that the Government’s initial positive rating has now worsened. Parliament is traditionally mistrusted. Public opinion of the Armed Forces has changed from positive to slightly negative. The negative opinion of the police has intensified. The judiciary’s negative rating has been reaffirmed, and the prosecution service rating enjoys the highest disapproval ratings.
On a scale of 2 to 6 (where 2 is very poor and 6 is excellent), 35.7 per cent of the respondents give the Government a grade of 4. The highest grade, 6, was given by 3.5 per cent of the respondents, and 18.2 per cent gave the lowest grade, 2.
Some 33.9 per cent of those polled singled out President Rumen Radev as the most influential politician as regards this country’s current policy. The second highest rated figure in this respect was Prime Minister Kiril Petkov with 32.7 per cent.
Inflation and High Prices
Nearly 45 per cent of respondents see unaffordable prices and inflation as the worst problems facing Bulgaria today. A growing number of people consider the war in Ukraine as this country’s most serious problem.
Nearly half of the interviewees said that the prices of goods they most often buy have increased by more than 20 per cent over the last six months. 
Early Elections? 
As many as 57 per cent of respondents believe that early parliamentary elections are likely, and 27.1 per cent of them think that such elections will take place before the end of 2022, 9.2 per cent expect them in the spring of 2023, and 21.7 per cent suppose that a new National Assembly will have to be elected simultaneously with local authorities in the autumn of 2023.
If early elections were conducted now, 24 per cent of respondents would vote for Continue the Change, 22.9 per cent for GERB-UDF, 11.2 per cent for the Bulgarian Socialist Party, 10.2 per cent for the MRF, 8.1 per cent: for There Is Such a People, 6.5 per cent for Democratic Bulgaria, 6.2 per cent for Vazrazhdane, 1.2 per cent for VMRO, and 3.7 per cent for another party.
Borissov’s Arrest
A total of 31.4 per cent approve of the Interior Ministry’s handling the arrests of Borissov, former finance minister Vlaidislav Goranov and GERB PR Sevdelina Arnaudova but suspected that the action was sabotaged by the prosecution service. Some 26.3 per cent assumed that the three should have been charged but the arrests were unnecessary. Another 27.2 per cent found that the charges were inadequately reasoned and saw the Ministry’s actions as a political stunt, and 12.1 per cent did not know.
International Scene 
Asked which countries should be Bulgaria’s closest international partners, 31.2 per cent opted for Germany, 22.7 per cent for the US, 19.7 per cent for Russia, and 6.3 per cent for Turkey. This country’s national security can best be guaranteed by NATO according to some 70 per cent, by Russia according to 12 per cent, and by Bulgaria itself according to 6 per cent. 
War in Ukraine 
Thirty-three per cent of respondents keep their positive attitude towards Russia even after the invasion of Ukraine, and 2.1 per cent have changed their view from negative to positive. Half of those polled are negatively disposed to Russia, with 33.7 per cent of the latter saying that their attitude has changed from positive to negative. Of those interviewed in the survey, 67 per cent disapprove of Putin and 16 per cent approve of the Russian President.
Asked to rate Bulgarian President Rumen Radev’s position on the war in Ukraine, some 47.2 per cent saw it as “rather balanced”, 33.7 per cent as “rather pro-Russian”, and 22 per cent were undecided. 
Future Expectations 
As many as 59.3 per cent fear that the situation in Bulgaria will get worse in the coming months, and 43.6 per cent expect a deterioration of their own situation.