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Regional journalist shares dismay at pro-Russian ‘fake news’

Viktoria YordanovaA regional journalist working in the UK has shared her dismay at pro-Russian misinformation being shared in her homeland.

Viktoria Yordanova, of the Colchester Daily Gazette, has hit out at “fake news” about the invasion of Ukraine being circulated in Bulgaria.

Viktoria, pictured, has claimed the problem is “rife” in the Eastern European nation, with “nothing being done about it”.

In a first-person piece for the Gazette, she cited examples including pictures showing “kind-hearted Russians taking care of fallen Ukrainian troops” and Bulgarian Facebook pages suggesting images used by UK news outlets “never took place or were taken back during previous conflicts”.

Viktoria said: “My country ranks last in Europe for freedom of expression and journalists are often subject to harassment, violence and intimidation.

“And as if the battle on this front is not fierce enough, their work is constantly undermined by fake news. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was just the latest event to spark a wave of misinformation in my country.”

In her piece, she explained “fear (and love) for Russia has been nurtured for years” due to Bulgaria being a former Communist state and her country using the Russian-Turkish war to claim back its independence after five centuries under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

She wrote: “The fact that most of the posts published have Bulgarian captions makes it even harder for Facebook to flag them as false information.

“Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the pro-Russian far-right party Vazrazhdane (Revival) even said ‘there is no military action’ in Odessa, and he did not understand why the government had evacuated Bulgarian diplomats from the beseiged town.

“Prime Minister Kiril Petkov then told him ‘to be a man and go to Ukraine if there is no military action’.

“Everyone hopes the war will end soon. But the war of misinformation in Bulgaria only seems to be starting. Fake news could be the last nail in the coffin of the once mighty country.”