Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups


Bulgaria’s political history prior to the establishment of the communist regime after WWII is one of occupation and halting steps towards representative government. In the 1800s and earlier, there was the centuries-long Ottoman occupation, which ended in 1878, and gave way in the late 1800s to various German aristocrats being “elected” by somewhat representative parliaments as princes or Tsars of the Principality of Bulgaria.

As such, speaking of far-right movements in today’s terms for that period doesn’t really track given the central role of a Tsar. But the issue of Bulgarian nationalism has always been salient as the country’s independence has long been threatened due to the proximity of the Ottoman Empire and then later by Soviet dominance.

The history of fascism in Bulgaria dates to the reign of Boris III, or Tsar Boris, who was in power from 1918 to 1943, first as an “elected” Tsar, meaning he had parliamentary sanction, and later as an out and out authoritarian. Like many European countries, Bulgaria saw fascist movements arise in the 1930s. Fascists in interwar Bulgaria were split into several small and politically unimportant movements, including the National Social Movement (NSM) and the Ratniks, both inspired by the Nazis, and the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, which allied with the NSM but was less radical. Marxist historians later labeled the period from 1935, when Boris established an overtly authoritarian regime, to his death in 1944 as “monarcho-fascism,” and in the West, it was referred to as a “royal dictatorship.” Importantly, Boris sided with the Axis powers during WWII.  

Fascism became more pronounced after a 1934 coup carried out by the Zveno military organization, a nationalistic outfit made up of intellectuals, politicians, and officers, and aided by the Bulgarian army. They abolished political parties, political organizations and unions and opposed both the Soviets and the Axis powers. In April 1935, the officers in charge of the post-coup regime were replaced by Boris, who took power into his own hands, while elections were held in 1939 but on a nonpartisan basis because Boris had abolished political parties. 

In 1940, when Bulgaria signed on with the Axis powers, the regime created a fascistic mass youth movement, Brannik. But other elements of fascist regimes, such as a corporate economic system and trade unions didn’t exist to the same extent as they did in the West. In this period, antisemitic propaganda inspired by Bulgaria’s Nazi allies grew and the oppressive antisemitic Law for the Protection of the Nation was enacted in 1941, which refused Jews citizenship, took their property, banned mixed marriages and freedom of movement, and barred Jews from certain professions, along with other restrictions. 

The law was endorsed by leaders of the Ratniks and by pro-fascist organizations including the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, the Union of Bulgarian Youth, the National Union of Bulgarian Students, and Brannik. After April 1941, the law’s jurisdiction was extended beyond Bulgaria’s pre-war borders to territories in Macedonia, Greece and Yugoslavia occupied by the Bulgarian army and claimed and administered by Bulgaria. 

Interestingly, there was considerable domestic opposition to German demands for deportation of Bulgarian Jews, including from the Orthodox Church and political leaders, and ultimately this opposition may explain to some extent why Bulgaria did not deport its Jews to Nazi concentration camps, though Jews from territories occupied by Axis-aligned Bulgaria were deported. Even without deportation, the treatment of Jews within Bulgaria was appalling, and many were forced into labor camps. After the war, most Bulgarian Jews emigrated to Israel and elsewhere, and the population is now about 2,000.

Boris died in 1943 and was replaced by a regent council, which was then overthrown, and the country switched sides to align with the Allies. In September 1944, Zveno orchestrated another coup, along with the anti-Axis Fatherland Front. This historical trajectory was interrupted with the 1944 Soviet occupation, which faced no resistance. A pro-Soviet communist regime was installed in 1946 headed by Georgi Dimitrov and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, run by the Bulgarian Communist Party, was established, lasting until 1990. It was a stalwart ally of the Soviet Union.

The first post-Communist elections were held in 1990 and won by the reconstituted Communist Party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In 1991, a new constitution was enacted creating a parliamentary democracy and a new party, Union of Democratic Forces, won the elections. Since that time, the country has held several elections and had peaceful transitions of power among political parties while suffering from repeated economic crises, corruption scandals, and organized crime. In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO and in 2007 joined the European Union. 

The Bulgarian far right surfaced with the founding of the political party, Attack, in 2005. The party is anti-Roma, anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish and against involvement in European institutions and NATO. Until very recently, far-right political parties did not garner much support. Such parties have been present in the Bulgarian parliament since 2005, attracting between eight and 12 percent of the vote. This is a rather late appearance of the far right compared to the rise of such parties in the West in the 1980s, and the emergence of far-right parties in Eastern Europe in the 1990s. 

The main thrust of the far right is demonizing and excluding various minority populations. Attack and other far-right organizations have targeted primarily national minorities, namely ethnic Turks and Roma, who constitute eight and four and half percent of the population respectively. Here is the leader of the Bulgarian National Union, Zvezdomir Andronov, speaking in 2019: “Gypsies, Turks, Armenians and Jews are guests in Bulgaria and if they are good guests, they can live peacefully here.” These comments were delivered on bTV, the most influential TV station in the country. Unlike in other countries, even during the Syrian migration crisis, immigration is not a main focus for the far right, which is focused on demonizing the country’s own minorities. 

Targeting an “internal” rather than an “external” other means that exclusionary rhetoric and policies take on a different character in Bulgaria as the minorities these far-right groups want excluded share common citizenship, rights, and even history with the dominant majority. Though there is also antisemitism, Jews are somewhat less likely to be targeted than are Roma and other minorities. The LGBTQ+ community has also historically been targeted. In 2008 a group of neo-Nazi thugs threw petrol bombs and stones at Gay Pride marchers, sparking a heavy police response. An Orthodox priest called for participants in the annual Pride march in Sofia to be stoned. And protests against Pride events are a regular occurrence up to the present day, often now sparked by anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda that has been imported from the US and the UK.

The level of animus towards the Roma community is horrific in Bulgaria. Repeat Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (2009 to 2013, 2014 to 2017, and 2017 to 2021) in 2017 appointed National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria leader, Valeri Simeonov, who was part of his government coalition, to head the national body on ethnic integration, prompting protests from human rights groups calling him a “pronounced supporter of fascist and neo-Nazi ideology.” Simeonov, who speculated about creating “modern concentration camps,” infamously described Roma as “brazen, feral, human-like creatures” and Romani women as having “the instincts of stray bitches.” A conviction against him for hate speech was later overturned on appeal. 

Racist and neo-Nazi soccer hooligan crews have also been a problem, such as Lokomotiv Plovdiv’s “Lauta Army,” and they have made their presence felt during violent mob attacks on Roma settlements. Such attacks also followed comments in 2019 by IMRO party leader and deputy prime minister, Krasamir Karakachanov, who called the Roma “exceptionally insolent” and suggested the need for a “complete solution to the Gypsy problem.” His party had an entire section on its website dedicated to the “Gypsy question.” 

Though racist soccer hooligans have been less of a problem since the 2019 infamous game between England and Bulgaria where England’s black players were subjected to a torrent of abuse which included monkey chants and Nazi salutes, crews like the Sofia West hooligans and Lauta Army, who were behind those chants, and the CSKA Sofia group “Animals,” are still around and their stickers can be seen in Sofia. 

There are many more indications of extremism among elected political officials. For example, Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki, a leading member of the Bulgarian National Movement, or IMRO political party, has been involved in campaigns to secure the release of criminals connected to the Bulgarian neo-Nazi scene. Dzhambazki, who described Roma as “primates,” was accused of inciting hatred after calling on Bulgarians in Sofia to clean the city of immigrants and take “self-defense actions” by means of “volunteer patrols and units.” He was personally involved in an effort to secure the release of Nikolai Yovev, a well-known football hooligan and political extremist who was arrested in 2012 in connection with bombing of a EuroRoma office, which led to one death. He also campaigned for the release of IMRO member Dimiter Lazarov, who is linked to neo-Nazi groups and was arrested for a violent attack on left-wing demonstrators. 

In 2022, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) described Roma and LGBTQ+ persons as the main victims of public expressions of hatred and prejudice by high-level Bulgarian politicians. Noting that both communities have come under attack, with Roma targeted by violent mob protests, the ECRI said that, “the positive steps taken to counter antisemitism have unfortunately not been applied to these types of hatred as well.” ECRI strongly recommended that the authorities take all necessary measures to prevent threats and violence against Roma particularly from their neighbors; urged that Romani homes be protected from illegal demolitions; and called on the authorities to ensure that de facto segregation of Romani children in schools was not happening. 

Recent Bulgarian politics has been chaotic, creating openings for far-right parties. In 2019, Bulgaria’s dominant party GERB (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria) went into coalition with three parties including the far-right Attack. As a result of their newly found partnership with the far right, GERB had to make concessions on EU values, including minority rights, and turned a blind eye to flagrant abuses of political privilege. 

The country held its fifth parliamentary elections in two years in April 2023. The inability of elections to create durable governments has left the country ruled for long periods of time by the pro-Russian and scandal-ridden president, Rumen Radev, and his appointed cabinets. The very recent political turmoil has helped the far-right party Revival, which saw its support increase in the April vote. The party is now the third largest in parliament. Revival campaigned for a referendum against Bulgarian accession to the Eurozone, which was scheduled for 2024 but has now been dropped. 

This helped it attract pro-Russian far-right supporters and those concerned that the introduction of the Euro will raise the cost of living. The party also proposed a neutral stance in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The party’s leader, Kostadin Kostadinov, regularly attacks journalists. In 2019, the party released a campaign video showing a man opening fire in a crowded room, which Kostadinov explained was full of journalists. 

Of particular note in the Bulgarian context is the annual Lukov torch march, commemorating Hristo Lukov, who was Minister of War from 1935 to 1938, when he was assassinated. Lukov was a Nazi collaborator who played a key role in the deportation of Jews from areas occupied by the Bulgarian army in WWII. The rally, first held in 2003, gathers far-right supporters, ultra-nationalists, and neo-Nazi groups from within Bulgaria and other countries. It is organized by the Bulgarian National Union (BNU), which has National Socialist sympathies, to commemorate the “fallen heroes of Bulgaria.” The march is accompanied by international neo-Nazi gatherings, such as an April 2019 conference in Sofia that featured a number of neo-Nazi groups, including a Hungarian group that had recently attacked a Jewish community center in Budapest. 

BNU has also worked with the Bulgarian branch of the international neo-Nazi network Blood & Honour. BNU is a nationalist party founded by Boyan Rasate, who in 2021, while running for president, was arrested for carrying out an anti-LGBTQ+ attack. Every year there are calls to have the march canceled as it attracts extremists from all over Europe to Sofia. In 2020, efforts by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandakovа banned the march but the commemorations still continued on a smaller scale with an increased police presence. It was banned again in 2023. Bulgaria has also attracted American neo-Nazis. While on the run from a possible ten- year prison sentence in the US, Robert Rundo, founder of the neo-Nazi Rise Above Movement, was identified as being in Plovdiv (he was arrested in March 2023 in Romania). Interestingly, in 2022, Macedonia banned the promotion of fascism and Nazism. 

The legal changes came after Bulgarian organizations in Macedonia backed by the Bulgarian state opened two clubs, one named for a Nazi collaborator. Some on the Bulgarian far right have irredentist views, believing that areas like Macedonia, which were once part of a greater Bulgaria, still belong to Bulgaria.

Anti-LGBTQ+ efforts have recently been given a boost in Bulgaria. In February 2023, the Bulgarian Supreme court ruled that transgender people will no longer be able to change their gender on legal documents. The court was heavily divided 28 to 21, with the dissenters stating that the decision effectively bans legal gender recognition. This now likely will set Bulgaria against the European Court of Human Rights. In late 2022, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance reported intolerance, hate and prejudice against LGBTI Bulgarians persists. They recommended that the Bulgarian authorities set up an LGBTI working group, including members of the community, to document discrimination and develop a national strategy. 

What follows is a description of far-right hate and extremist groups active in 2023 in Bulgaria. It surely does not capture all extremist activity, given the underground nature in particular of neo-Nazi and soccer hooligan organizations. Perhaps more importantly, this list doesn’t truly capture the hatred of Bulgaria’s ethnic minorities that exists broadly in society, particularly anti-Roma sentiment, that has led to many acts of violence against the community. Bulgaria has been criticized by most international bodies, including the UN, EU, and others for rampant hatred, discrimination, and violence against its minority communities.

Bulgaria Group Descriptions

Attack (Атака)

Location: Sofia

Ideology: Antisemitic, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Woman, Anti-Roma, Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ+, Conspiracy

Attack was the first, and for a long time, the largest far-right political party in Bulgaria. Founded in 2005, Attack is primarily a vehicle for the promotion of its leader, Volen Siderov (Волен Сидеров), and his noxious ideas. It is pro-Russian, and has been accused of having connections to Russian intelligence, and is anti-EU and anti-NATO. The party’s webpage has a photo of Siderov rather than a logo. While they have won no seats since 2021, the party has long been known for provocative campaigns and controversial statements regarding ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, government institutions, international organizations, and for spreading conspiracies. 

They were most successful electorally in the 2006 presidential elections when Siderov won almost 650,000 votes, nearly a quarter of the total votes cast. In 2011, it was revealed that Siderov had taken part in an international antisemitic conference in Moscow in 2002. Siderov reportedly talked of globalization being run “by the Jews, those villains and God-fighters, who financed the Bolshevik revolution which caused so much suffering to the Russian nation.” A photo showed Siderov with Ahmed Rami, founder of the antisemitic Radio Islam, and American former Klansman David Duke. Even before 2005, Siderov had been peddling his extremist ideas. As a “journalist,” he published two books, The Power of Mammon and The Boomerang of the Evil, where he laid out his antisemitic ideas that Jews run the world and often “play the victim.” He links Zionism to Nazism, disparages the Roma, denies the Holocaust, calling it at one point the “greatest fraud,” and claims that “for two thousand years the world has been going towards moral degradation and physical destruction, driven by the satanic forces of Judeo-Freemasonry.” In 2012, a case was brought against him for antisemitism, which he mocked with claims of being “bullied.” 

During the pandemic, Siderov peddled conspiracies on his party’s television channel, Alfa, including that a cure for COVID that he invented was available. He alleged that the medication could also cure HIV, hepatitis, and other viral infections, but he claimed the Bulgarian Drug Agency refused to sanction this miracle cure. Alfa features like-minded individuals and Siderov, as owner, is a frequent guest and host. Siderov’s bigotry is multifaceted. In a 2013 interview by then-pregnant Lora Krumova, Siderov insulted her and told her to stay at home and be a housewife. He said, “I do not understand why they are pushing women to host TV shows, it would be better if they were at home, taking care of the family and giving birth to children.” The Attack party has also protested Pride events. In 2019, the party’s protest featured signs with statements such as “Gay Over,” “Why is Ministry of Interior keeping safe the faggots,” and “Let’s stop the parade of the perverts.” He is also known for attacking police. In 2015, he called the police “professional criminals,” and said that “the police are already captured by the gay society.” 

In 2009, Siderov was sued for racial incitement against Jews and the Roma. A Bulgarian court eventually dismissed the charges, but the European Court for Human Rights decided his statements were antisemitic and anti-Roma and held the Bulgaria state responsible for not sentencing him. In 2016, Siderov was sentenced to pay non-property damages to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (Бойко Борисов) for libel. Attack members have been involved in a series of violent incidents. In 2014, Attack MPs, along with Siderov, instigated a violent accident, and Siderov was charged with felony. During a flight to Sofia from Varna, Siderov argued with a fellow traveler. A man warned him to lower his voice, but he refused. On the bus to the terminal, Siderov kept shouting, and one man called him a “moron.” After the police intervened, Siderov punched a policeman in the head. In October 2015, Siderov along with another Attack MP “inspected” a shop on a busy Sofia street. 

They insisted that the shop was selling drugs, tobacco, and alcohol without paying excise taxes, and the two physically assaulted the shop’s employees. Two weeks later, Siderov along with other Attack MPs, staff from Alfa, and 15 bodyguards broke into the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts. Siderov entered lecture halls after students attempted to lock him out. Siderov claimed he was leading a battle against drugs and wanted to put posters of his party up. As Siderov had immunity as an MP, it was not possible for him to be prosecuted for breaking into the structure. After a major uproar, the parliament removed Siderov’s immunity and he was sentenced to two years’ probation. Siderov declared himself a victim of the “Bulgarian narco-mafia” and complained he was beaten by police.

Blood and Honour Bulgaria

Location: Plovdiv

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist

Founded in the UK in 1987, Blood and Honour (B&H) is an international racist skinhead organization with chapters in many countries, including Bulgaria. B&H was created by Ian Stewart Donaldson, founder of the hate band Screwdriver, and named for the slogan of the Hitler Youth. What eventually became the B&H Bulgarian chapter first emerged in 2003 in Plovdiv, initially called “Plovdiv 28.” The group officially joined B&H in 2009. 

In 2009, B&H Bulgaria took part in an event that became known as “the Asenovgrad case,” when neo-Nazis and skinheads attended a B&H event in that town’s library. In a picture from the event, an individual dressed in Klan robes can be seen standing behind a microphone next to a Nazi flag. The event was a concert where hate rock was performed including the song, “Kill the Jew.” B&H claimed it was not a Klan event, but their publication took credit for having put on the concert. B&H claims Europe is not for the “liberals and fa***ts” but for the nationalists and the traditional family. Believers in the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, the organization argues that the “white man” will soon disappear if emergency measures are not taken. B&H holds regular under-the-radar gatherings, often private concerts or in local pubs. 

In 2012, members of Blood and Honour were arrested for having stabbed a Roma man in Plovdiv. The five young men, the oldest being 21, attacked and stabbed the individual, who luckily survived. At the time the police estimated that there were approximately 40 to 50 members belonging to the organization. Blood and Honour supporters are known to organize so-called “night patrols” in Roma neighborhoods, which essentially involve violently harassing Roma communities. In 2012, to a Btv reporter, B&H members admitted that their sympathizers took part in the attack on the EuroRoma club in Sandanski. Blood and Honour Bulgaria has held joint activities with the Bulgarian National Union (BNU). Blood and Honour took part in a “charity event” with the BNU for the release of the men for the bombing of the EuroRoma club in Sandanski, which caused the death of one Roma person. In 2013, Blood and Honour tried to establish a political party with National Resistance, but their application was rejected.

Bulgarian National Union (BNU) (Български национален съюз)

Location: Sofia

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, White Nationalist, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Roma, Anti-LGBTQ+

The Bulgarian National Union (BNU) is the self-described direct descendant of the Nazi Union of Bulgarian National Legions, which was Minister of War and Nazi-sympathizer Hristo Lukov’s (Христо Луков) organization during WWII, for which the annual Lukov March is named for. BDU is the main organizer of the March, which brings neo-Nazis from around the world to Sofia. The organization has existed at times as a political party, usually drawing very little support. The group’s leader, Boyan Rassate (Боян Расате), is known for violence and open admiration of Hitler and has convictions for hate crimes, incitement to violence, and other offenses which he proudly displays on his website. 

In a protest against the war in Ukraine, Rassate held the flag of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization, the Azov Battalion. BNU vows to fight against the “spread of homosexualism.” In 2008, Rassate organized a counter-event protesting the first Gay Pride parade in Bulgaria. Rassate and his allies threw bombs and Molotov cocktails at the participants and distributed anti-LGBTQ+ fliers reading, “be intolerant, be normal.” The police arrested 60 counter protestors along with Rassate. BNU created a hit list that year of “gay organizations” to serve for “further analysis.” In 2010, Rassate spoke about refugees and urged Bulgaria not to accept any from the “third world,” comparing them to monkeys and called them “exotic representatives of unknown nations.” Other BNU members have made similarly hateful statements about Jews, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. 

The organization has an active Telegram group with almost 1,000 members. It also runs its own sports events and sponsors hikes, camping trips, martial arts, and “military” training. Unlike other Bulgarian far-right groups, Rassate’s BNU is anti-Russian. After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Rassate expressed his support for the Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, which has links to white supremacists and neo-Nazis. In 2022, he registered his party for elections wearing a T-shirt bearing the Azov symbol. In 2022, BNU attended Fortress Europe, a German event attended by several European far-right organizations. The event included Die Rechte, a far-right German political party with neo-Nazi members, the Nationalists movement from France, the National and Social Front from the Czech Republic, and Legion Hungary. In addition to working with neo-Nazis who come to Sofia for the Lukov March, BNU occasionally cooperates with similar organizations and invites them to Bulgaria as well. 

Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) (Българска социалистическа партия)

Location:  Sofia,* Kyustendil, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Targovishte, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Vidin

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is the direct descendent of the Bulgarian Communist Party, which ruled the country from 1944 to 1989 and now struggles at the polls. Perhaps to lift its electoral standing, BSP has very recently taken up anti-LGBTQ+ positions, specifically an effort to push a national referendum against “gender ideology,” essentially a code phrase for LGBTQ+ rights initiatives. The anti-LGBTQ+ turn started in 2018 when BSP leader Korneliya Ninova (Корнелия Нинова) criticized same-sex marriage, which is banned in Bulgaria. She said that “gay marriage is unacceptable and it will never happen because this is Bulgaria.” She also claimed she was safeguarding the Bulgarian Christian family, traditions, and Bulgarian children.

At the party’s conference in February 2023, Ninova announced that BSP will never accept the Istanbul Convention, which protects against gender-based violence targeting women, the LGBTQ+ community, and national minorities. Ninova says the convention is a way to spread LGBTQ+ propaganda, backed by “a lot of money.” According to Ninova, the EU parliament’s socialist faction “exerts serious pressure” on her to abandon these efforts. She has been clear that as long as she runs the party, Bulgarian families will have “boys and girls,” and the parents will be “mothers and fathers.” Ninova, while claiming she respects LGBTQ+ rights, also endorsed a decision of the Supreme Court of Cassation disallowing people to legally change their gender on official documents and rhetorically asked if “supporters of the gender ideology” respect the rule of law. At the February 2023 party congress, it was decided that BSP would advocate for a national referendum on gender ideology in schools. 

Gender ideology is a concept adopted by the far right to articulate opposition to gender equality, abortion, sex education, and LGBTQ+ rights in areas such as marriage, adoption, surrogacy, and reproductive technologies. Members from Plevin put forward the idea, saying, In the name of our children and the protection of Christian values and the family,” the party should hold a national referendum on “gender ideology” being taught in schools. Georgi Svilenski (Георги Свиленски), another prominent leader of the BSP, said shortly after the congress on Bulgarian National Television that the goal of the referendum is to show that, “Bulgarian society is against gender ideology,” and to save the Bulgarian children. Ivan Chenchev (Иван Ченчев), who is a former member of the National Assembly, also endorsed the idea for the referendum. He claimed that BSP is not against LGBTQ+ people, but that LGBTQ+ propaganda should not be taught in schools. Other BSP members have made similar comments. 

In February, Ninova launched the referendum effort with help from other anti-LGBTQ+ organizations including Freedom for Everyone and Society for Values. The party is pro-Russia. For example, longtime BSP activist Aleksandar Simov (Александър Симов) holds political positions favorable to Russia, claims that sanctions against Russia are suicidal for Europe, and that supporting Ukraine with military equipment is a big mistake. In February 2023, the US, employing the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the government to sanction those found to be human rights offenders or those involved in significant corruption, to freeze their assets, and to ban them from entering the US, against the BSP’s Rumen Ovcharov (Румен Овчаров). The party publicly backed Ovcharov, saying that “the BSP safeguards the Bulgarian national interest in energy and supports experts who defend it.”

Freedom for Everyone (FFE) (Свобода За Всеки)

Location: Unknown

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Trans

Freedom for Everyone (FFE) describes itself as only a website, but it functions as a far-right Christian organization, taking part in protests and other activities. Adherents also speak to the press on controversial topics. They claim their aim is to preserve freedom of speech, human rights, and family values, but their main work is to agitate against the LGBTQ+ community. FFE co-leader, Victor Kostov (Виктор Костов), says their organization is a proud supporter of counter-protests to Sofia Gay Pride. FFE is also part of the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s referendum initiative against “gender ideology.” 

The group argues that the “sexual revolution” was caused by a “small part” of the population, LGBTQ+ people. It claims the LGBTQ+ community’s main aim is to recruit “children from a young age without the knowledge of their parents or even worse – against their will, into corrupt early sexualization.” FFE claims that LGBTQ+ people “are coming for our children and no longer hide that.” In an interview, Kostov, speaking about a decision of the Supreme Cassation Court that rejected a right to change one’s gender on official documents, said the rights of transgender people are not “fundamental human rights” but rather “newly established” and thus illegitimate. 

Kostov explained that it is a “complete absurdity” to be transgender, and he also does not believe it is possible to be born gay. On Facebook, FFE mocks advancement of rights for the LGBTQ+ population with posts featuring sensationalist captions such as, “the Gender-Fascist Police regime in Canada arrest young Christian for claiming God created two genders.” The website shares articles in English from far-right Christian groups around the world including the American Homeschool Legal Defense Association, the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators, and the Irish Christian Home Educators’ Association. 

IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) (Вътрешна Македонска Революционна Организация/ВМРО)

Location:  Sofia,* Burgas, Plovdiv, Shumen, Troyan, Varna

Ideology: Anti-Roma, Anti-LGBTQ+

IMRO, or Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, is one of the oldest far-right political parties in Bulgaria. Its name alludes to a secret revolutionary society that aimed to free Macedonia, an area historically claimed by Bulgaria, from Ottoman rule in the early 20th century. The party has won parliamentary seats several times, and in 2017, was part of the ruling coalition led by the center-right party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria), with IMRO’s co-chairman Krasimir Karakachanov (Красимир Каракачанов)

serving as vice prime minister and minister of defense. IMRO also has representatives in the European Parliament. As an irredentist organization, IMRO believes Macedonia should be Bulgarian, and the party occasionally speaks out against the independence of the Republic of North Macedonia. 

This was particularly problematic when it governed in coalition with GERM, undermining relations between the two countries with statements contradicting the official Bulgarian position. IMRO is virulently anti-Roma and anti-LGBTQ+. The party is against same-sex marriage and vows to ban Pride events. In 2019, in response to a Balkan Pride event organized by the LGBTQ+ community in Plovdiv, activists from IMRO together with a local mayor formed a human chain in front of the building where the event was taking place. They held signs that read, “Don’t go to the other side.” While protesting the Sofia Pride parade as part of the counterprotest march for the “Traditional Family,” Karakachanov said that “the place of every normal Bulgarian citizen isn’t with Pride.” IMRO co-chairman Angel Dzhambazki (Ангел Джамбазки), at the same counterprotest, called for the LGBTQ+ community to “give back the rainbow to the children.” He also claimed that same-sex marriages are a “perversion.” 

In 2021, the party started a campaign against so-called “gender ideology,” which refers to elements of LGBTQ+ rights. IMRO figures are known for bigoted statements about the Roma community. Karakachanov, in a comment on Facebook, said “the gypsies who had not been socialized yet, need to be extradited to India.” Dzhambazki has said that “the gypsies countrywide loot, kill, rape, pollute the air and destroy the forests.” He said the Roma people are a threat to Bulgarian society, “the genocide over the Bulgarian people from those minority groups needs to be ended now.” In 2017, the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria decided Karakachanov had discriminated against Roma people when he said during a TV interview that the “gypsies became exclusively insolent.” In 2022, Dzhambazki was sanctioned by the European Parliament for giving what is believed to be a Nazi salute in the Parliament building. He denied doing so but was caught on camera. IMRO “is notorious for systematically propagating hatred against neighboring peoples in the Balkans as well as anti-Gypsy propaganda,” according to the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance. In May 2023, the European Roma Rights Centre and the Equal Opportunities Initiative filed lawsuits against Dzambazki, IMRO, and the “7 Days” news outlet over anti-Roma hate speech. 

Kubrat Youth (KY) (Кубрат Младост)

Location: Sofia

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist

Kubrat Youth (KY) is the youth wing of the Bulgarian National Union (BNU).  KY is named after Khan Kubrat, the founder of Old Great Bulgaria in 632 and father of Khan Asparukh, who established Danubean Bulgaria. They self-describe as National Socialists. They engage in their own activities, which the BNU sometimes also takes part in. Some KY members are active in BNU and take part in the elections when BNU is registered. Like the BNU, they want an end to the party system and a country “without minorities.” KY argues they come  from “Aryans,” and not the “monkeys of Darwin.” KY helps put on the annual Lukov March, which honors a pro-Nazi WWII Bulgarian minister and is attended by neo-Nazis from around the world. 

They argue that those who want the March banned are “liberals, communists and faggot activists.” They also argue that Nazi-linked General Hristo Lukov (Христо Луков) had “little to no” connection with what they call the “so-called holocaust.” In their logo, the symbol in the green panel stands for “14,” which they claim is for energy. But 14 is a common white supremacist nod to the 14 words, a popular white supremacist slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) (Национален фронт за спасение на България)

Location: Sofia

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Roma, Anti-LGBTQ+

The National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) has been described as “ultranationalist/fascist” by the Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism and Intolerance. Its most prominent member and founder is Valeri Simeonov (Валери Симеонов), who also owns SKAT, the television station where much of the party’s propaganda is aired. In 2014, NFSB joined with IMRO to form the “Patriotic Front” coalition, winning 19 seats. In 2017, the Patriotic Front alliance then signed on with Attack and renamed its coalition United Patriots, which formed a ruling coalition with the center-right party, GERB. Simeonov was elected as a vice prime minister. Simeonov has a long history of making bigoted statements against the Roma. 

In 2017, he was charged for hate speech for saying in parliament that, “Without doubt a big part of the Romanies live without obeying the law, rules and human behavior. …The law does not apply to them, they do not understand what taxes are, what paying the bills is, because they believe they are freed from any rules and obligations. Bulgaria stands in front of a deep ethnic crisis. …What made the assumption that to our swarthy countrymen everything is allowed, they need to be handed food, clothing and medications for free?” Simeonov also said that the Romani people are “insolent, presumptuous, and ferocious human-like, demanding wages without labor, seeking sickness benefits without being sick, child support for children who play with the pigs in the street, and maternity benefits for women with street-bitch instincts.” The US Embassy promptly condemned the remarks. 

He was sentenced to abstain from such statements in the future as the court decided his words led to a violation of the dignity of every representative of Romani background. After Simeonov appealed the decision, the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria overturned it, deciding that the protection of discrimination does not trump freedom of expression. In 2016, Simeonov led a furious campaign against migrants and refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. He urged Bulgaria “not to accept migrants and refugees” and proposed the border should be manned by armed guards and those crossing the border illegally should be stopped with “physical force, water cannons, grenades, bombs and firearms when needed.” In 2017, Simeonov joined protesters who tried to barricade the Bulgarian-Turkish border to stop ethnic Turks with Bulgarian citizenship from voting in the Bulgarian election. He is also anti-LGBTQ+, saying about Pride events, “This is a deviation from the normal human physiology, it was in the ancient times, there it is nowadays, but in no way such an orientation should be encouraged as it is unnatural, even to say inhumane.” In 2019, NFSB released a statement denouncing the annual Sofia Pride parade. 

In 2017, Bulgaria’s impending 2018 ascension to the head of EU’s Council presidency sent shock waves in Brussels. Members of the Council of Europe expressed concern that UP leaders, meaning NFSB members in the coalition, had used racist rhetoric toward Bulgaria’s Roma minority, advocated violence to prevent migrants from entering Europe, and publicly expressed doubt that man-made climate change is a problem. Simeonov was singled out for having described the Roma as “ferocious apes.” In 2017, Facebook photos showed Pavel Tenev (Павел Тенев), the NFSB deputy minister for regional development and public works, giving a Nazi salute while at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Tenev apologized and resigned, while claiming the photo was a joke. Three parties in parliament called for Simeonov’s resignation as well, and the ruling party GERB apologized in his name. In 2017, Simeonov was appointed head of the Bulgarian Council on Ethnic Minority Integration, which deals with the local Turkish and Roma minorities. Soraya Post, a MEP from Sweden, said it was unacceptable for a person like Simeonov to be in such a position in a member state of the EU. In 2020, Simeonov was sentenced to pay 8,000 Bulgarian leva to two journalists for falsely accusing them of corruption on Bulgarian National Television.

National Resistance (NR) (Национална съпротива)

Location: Sofia

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Antisemitic, Anti-Roma, Anti-LGBTQ+

National Resistance (NR) is an antidemocratic, neo-Nazi organization established in 2008 and headed by Blagovest Asenov (Благовест Асенов), who has been photographed wearing a t-shirt with Nazi SS Bolts. Asenov runs NS fight club which is reportedly part of a national network of such clubs. Over the past few years, the gym has become a haven for Sofia’s neo-Nazi scene and a training ground for radicalized youths, many of whom use their training to inflict violence on Bulgaria’s ethnic minorities and most marginalized groups. One of the strategies NR employs to increase membership is the indoctrination of disenfranchised youths through football hooliganism and MMA fight clubs. Asenov has pledged to protect Bulgaria from “foreign ideologies” such as parliamentary democracy, moral decay including “strongly propagandized sodomy,” and the “parasitism of minorities.” 

Members of the group have made antisemitic, anti-Roma, and anti-LGBTQ+ statements, and the group serves as organizers for the Lukov March, which honors a pro-Nazi Bulgarian WWII figure and brings other extremists from around the world to Sofia annually. The group argues it is defending Bulgaria from “communists, democrats, liberals, sodomites, illegal immigrants.” Asenov denies the Holocaust and has said that even Jewish people “do not believe in it anymore.” Asenov has accused Jews for being “anti-Bulgarian,” for causing the refugee crisis in Europe and for “handing” the COVID pandemic to the government. NR attempted to create a neo-Nazi political party, the Nationalist Party of Bulgaria, with help from the Bulgarian branch of the international neo-Nazi organization “Blood and Honour,” but it was rejected for registration. 

The party platform said it needed to establish a “new homogeneously clean society” and its first task would be “cleansing the immigrant and foreign masses that pollute our streets and scare the Bulgarian population.” And they would “destroy gypsy terror with an iron fist.” The party was symbolically established on November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the infamous date of a wave of antisemitic Nazi attacks against Jews in 1938. The party was not registered as the general prosecutor found it violated Bulgaria’s Constitution. NR’s YouTube channel is filled with extremist materials, including “lectures” promoting the antisemitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In one lecture, Asenov says there was a plan “for the capture and enslavement of Europe by the Jews.” 

In 2019, Shalom, which represents Bulgarian Jews, filed a case against Asenov for spreading antisemitism and hate speech and reported his Facebook page to the company, which banned it for a short time. NR is also rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ and organizes against the annual Pride parade in Sofia. Its anti-Pride motto is “keep the children from the debauchery.” In 2017, NR shared a statement that they “will not allow the faggot parade” and “will clean…the human rubbish.” Unsurprisingly, NR is also anti-Roma, whom they call “social parasites.” Often on May Day, NR protests the Roma with signs that read “National Resistance Against the Social Parasites.” NR activist Nikolay Yovev (Николай Йовев) was arrested in 2012 for allegedly planting a bomb in front of an office of EuroRoma, the political party representing the Roma people, which resulted in the murder of one Roma man.

The People’s Party “The Truth and Only The Truth” (Народна Партия Истината И Само Истината)

Location: Ruse

Ideology: Antisemitic, Conspiracy

The People’s Party “The Truth and Only The Truth” is an officially registered political party that receives few votes (about 2,500 in 2022). A personal vehicle for Ventsislav “Chicago” Angelov (Венцислав Ангелов), the party is antisemitic and conspiracist. It says that the Central Electoral Commission, which organizes the Bulgarian elections, are “servants, traitors, of the Illuminati (globalists) and the Zionists” and that the CIA and the Mossad are “choosing” the political parties in parliament, hence low vote totals for the party are rigged. Angelov, in a 2022 debate on Bulgarian National Television, made clear his antisemitism, saying “to all Zionists in the small country of Israel you have an order from God, get out of Bulgaria and Palestine.” 

He was later sanctioned by the Bulgarian Central Electoral Commission for antisemitism, but claimed his remarks were not problematic because Zionism is a political ideology, not an ethnic group. On the party’s Telegram channel, hatred towards Jews is openly expressed. The party blames Jews for abortion, COVID, the media, gun control, and the slave trade. Angelov has claimed that ISIS, the Mossad, and the CIA are all created by globalists, satanists, and Illuminati who allow the traffic of immigrants through Bulgaria. The party’s main propaganda vehicle is Facebook. Nearly every day, Angelov streams live broadcasts where he attacks other political parties and politicians as “the gravediggers of the Bulgarian people,” and spreads conspiracies which he calls “reveal[ing] secrets.” In addition to open antisemitism, the party has a religious evangelical dimension, often discussing Jesus Christ as “brother”and their followers as “divine family of brothers and sisters.” 

One party member often featured in Angelov’s live broadcasts and on TV is evangelical pastor Stanislav Todorov (Станислав Тодоров), known for having organized a forum in which pastors denounced Orthodox Christianity, the largest religious community in Bulgaria. Also a conspiracist, Todorov said that COVID vaccines were an instrument to kill people, “brought by Satan himself,” and the doctors who pushed vaccination actually created COVID so they could cure it, which he describes as “Satanism.” Angelov is just as conspiratorial. In an April 2023 TV interview, Angelov said that his party “had declared war” on the “Fraud Covid-19 Plandemic.” The party spreads other conspiracies, for example that the airplane chemtrails are used by governments to spread toxins on an unsuspecting public, dinosaurs never existed, and that there are secret pedophilia rings, an essential element of QAnon conspiracies. 

This conspiracy mongering hasn’t been harmless: Angelov confronted and then beat a doctor who vaccinated a patient with cardiac issues who subsequently died. Angelov claimed falsely that the vaccine “killed” the patient and the doctor was a murderer. Angelov told the doctor, “I will turn you into salad. Your place is in Belene (a labor camp during the communist era). I’m telling you I will kill you!” He received a year and half in prison for the incident in May 2023. Angelov also believes he is “sentenced to death by the Zionists in a secret case in Tel Aviv, Israel.” He has a long rap sheet. In 1996, he was charged with hooliganism, in 2002 he was accused of cigarette smuggling, and in 2008 he and his nephew were caught in Nicosia, Cyprus with hundreds of grams of heroin for which Angelov spent a year and a half in a Cypriot prison. In 2011, he was arrested for heading an organized crime organization trafficking cocaine from Lima, Peru, to Madrid, Spain. In 2014, he was sentenced in Bulgaria to six years in prison for drug trafficking and fled the country, but was caught in 2018.

Revival (Възраждане)

Location:  Sofia,* Dobrich, Lovech, Sliven, Varna

Ideology:  Antisemitic, Anti-LGBTQ+, Conspiracy

Revival is a far-right political party that received 14 percent of the vote in 2023, making it the third largest party. This is the best result a far-right party has ever achieved in modern Bulgarian  history. The party is presumed to be pro-Russian, objecting to sanctions on Russia and to giving military aid to Ukraine. When asked to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Drenchev (Николай Дренчев), a Revival MP and secretary of the party, said that at least Putin “did not make a blitzkrieg in Ukraine.” Revival engages in anti-vaxx campaigns, is against pandemic measures, rejects the Euro, Ukrainian aid, the EU, and NATO. The party is described by analysts as the “biggest winner” of the ongoing Bulgarian political crisis that started in April 2021 and has now resulted in five consecutive parliamentary elections in two years. The party trades in conspiracies and bigotry. In a speech to party sympathizers, Chairman Kostadin Kostadinov (Костадин Костадинов) explained that it was “high time” to understand that “it is not normal to be homosexual and it is not normal to have same-sex marriage in the society.” 

Kostadinov once said that Jewish Bulgarian MP Daniel Lorer (Даниел Лорер) is a “foreigner,” although he is a Bulgarian-born citizen, and former minister. In 2021, the party’s candidate for vice president claimed that there are “too many” decisions made by people with foreign surnames, and that to her, there were too few “Bulgarian surnames in Bulgarian politics, on Bulgarian soil, in the Bulgarian state,” and that “those people should not forget that this is the land of the Bulgarians and they are only guests,” although the people she targeted were Bulgarian-born Bulgarian citizens. Kostadinov was condemned by the prosecutor’s office and asked to restrain himself from using discriminatory remarks when he called American Vice President Kamala Harris “Camilla,” which in Bulgarian means “Camel.” In response Kostadinov said he sometimes “gets the animal names wrong.” Revival rose to power by opposing pandemic measures, including what it claimed were mandatory vaccinations. 

Though such a measure was never enacted or even proposed, Revival used this bogus argument to build its base by arguing it alone could save the Bulgarian people from an out-of-control government. Party members also called COVID vaccines “experimental liquids.” The party organized protests in front of the National Assembly against the green pass, a proof of vaccination that allowed for participation in certain activities during lockdowns. At one of the protests, Kostadinov warned the parliament “since you don’t want to offer understanding, you will get revolution.” Protestors complained of “medical fascism” and featured American extremist symbols, including Confederate and “don’t tread on me” flags. Other protesters held signs linking Zionism with Nazism. In January 2022, when the green pass became obligatory for in-person parliamentary activities, Kostadinov compared it to the Holocaust and to the WWII-period’s rabidly antisemitic  Law for Protection of the Nation. Kostadinov’s remarks were heavily criticized by the Bulgarian Jewish community. 

An open letter to Kostadinov by the director of Shalom, which represents the Bulgarian Jewish community, condemned his comparison of the pass to the Holocaust. For his part, Kostadinov attacked the director on Facebook saying he was “an advocate for a long gone people.” Even after widespread criticism, Kostadinov refused to take back his antisemitic remarks. Kostadinov has made many other extremist comments. In a video titled “TRUMP,” he commented that the US is an “empire of evil that destroys world peace and nations and countries without any scruples,” and that Trump was the “only one” who changed that. In the same video Kostadinov claims Bulgaria is an “American colony” and most Bulgarian media are “American channels.” He views most of his opposition as “national traitors” that he vows to “punish.” They include opposition parties, public figures, vloggers, journalists, and others. Kostadinov once mentioned on Facebook that he would punish “traitors” the same way dogs undergo the banned ritual “trichane,” where a dog is hanged on a rope over a river and spins until it falls. The party attacks Bulgarian journalists as “yellow-brown waste water from the American embassy” and frequently tries to kick them out of its briefings. Kostadinov has called journalists “foreign agents” and has often refused to speak in front of media representatives. 

ROD International (Parents United for Children International) (РОД Интернешънъл)

Location:  Sofia,* Plovdiv, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Trans

ROD International is an NGO that claims its mission is to safeguard the traditional family and raise children without “foreign interference,” meaning from the LGBTQ+ community and international bodies that support LGBTQ+ rights. According to ROD the ‘’traditional family’’ is in danger and it must consist of ‘’a male father, a female woman, and lovely grandparents.” ROD International has an agreement with the far-right and racist political party Attack to co-operate in stopping “anti-family policies that seek to break up the Bulgarian family.” Their board member David Alexandrov (Давид Александров) was a candidate in 2021 for parliament on the far-right IMRO ticket, which works closely with ROD. He campaigned with posters reading “affirmation of traditional, Bulgarian, family and Christian values” and “strengthening marriage and family by father – man, mother – woman and their children.” 

Another ROD board member, Vladimir Sheytanov (Владимир Шейтанов), is a lawyer rabidly opposed to gender-affirming care, which he calls sex change operations, and LGBTQ+ people, who he claims are not discriminated against, “the traditional Christian family is discriminated against…We are against imposing practices [LGBTQ+ rights] that are not part of our culture. The law cannot apply laws that are against the traditions, customs and morals of Bulgarian society.” ROD is skeptical of the EU, which it views as imposing rights, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, that discriminate against conservative family values, Christianity, and harm children. The group shared a post by Georgi Markov (Георги Марков), former GERB MP, that read, ‘’Brussels is on the way to bury Christian Europe.” 

The article was responding to EU initiatives to protect children and the LGBTQ+ community and expressed outrage at pressuring member states to recognize self-identified gender and same-sex marriage. ROD’s website is filled with criticisms of pro-LGBTQ+ policies, and they are perfectly happy to work with far-right and extremist parties in efforts against the LGBTQ+ community and EU legislation that protects that community. ROD has convened meetings with IMRO, Attack, NFSB, BSP, and Revival. The association joined the committee of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to help with its planned referendum against ‘’gender ideology.” In a newspaper connected to the far-right National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, Desant, Sheytanov criticized Bulgarian MEPs who voted in favor of the EU “gender resolution” that protects the human rights of LGBTQ+ people. Sheytanov says that LGBTQ+ people are a minority in Bulgaria that ‘’blackmails’’ the other ninety percent of Bulgarian society. 

The gender resolution called for the recognition of the same-sex marriage in all EU states as well as guaranteeing freedoms to people in same-sex marriages across the whole European Union. ROD has launched other campaigns against initiatives it claims ‘‘undermine the traditional family’’ including the Istanbul Convention. They claim the convention is a ‘’foreign intervention’’ with the aim of imposing new sexual orientations, elevating sexual minorities and even kidnapping children. ROD is against efforts to self-identify one’s gender and supports the decision of the Bulgarian Supreme Court which decided that sex is only biological. In 2022, a Pride counter-event, the march for the “Traditional Christian family,’’ was held with ROD’s help at the same time as Sofia’s Pride parade. 

The organizers said that the aim of that march was to revive the debate about the importance of the traditional family, and that it is important for Bulgarian children to grow up in an ‘’environment with values.” ROD spreads conspiracy theories of various sorts. In 2019, their Facebook pages spread rumors that the state takes away children while they are at school. After a backlash, ROD urged people not to believe fake news and that the ‘’forceful kidnapping’’ of children is still happening. In 2019, ROD organized a special conference, ‘’Social Child Kidnapping: Hidden War Against the Family.” At the conference, Englishman Steve Bennett of the Austrian group Step Up for Children spoke of the family being under attack by “Marxist agitators” and “modern third wave feminists.” German Gabriele Kuby, a conservative Catholic who believes acceptance of non-heterosexual orientations and self-determination of gender identity are “madness” and that the Harry Potter books drive people to the occult, talked of her books, including Global Sexual Revolution. 

Kuby has spoken at other anti-LGBTQ+ events, including the 2014 World Congress of Families, which is put on by the Illinois-based International Organization for the Family. ROD’s conference was streamed on YouTube. ROD has held other conferences attacking what it calls “gender ideology,” inviting Europeans who support their anti-LBGTQ+ positions to discuss the issue. Their conference, ‘’European Dimensions of Gender Policies,’’ will take place in May 2023 (prior to this report going to press). It is slated to feature Kristian Schkvarek (Кристиян Шкварек), who is against gender-affirming medical care, which he calls a complete ‘’hell’’ that should be banned in Bulgaria; Magdalena Tasheva (Магдалена Ташева), a former MP from the far-right and racist Attack political party; Peter Torcsi from the Hungarian Center for Fundamental Rights which co-hosts the American-based CPAC conferences when held in Hungary that feature anti-LGBTQ+ speakers, and Jerzy Kwasniewski from Poland, president of the anti-LGBTQ+ Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture.

Society and Values (Асоциация общество и ценности)

Location: Sofia

Ideology:  Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Trans

Established in 2007, Society and Values (SV) is an anti-LGBTQ+ organization dedicated to the “traditional family.” They oppose LGBTQ+ rights, same-sex marriage, medical care for gender transitioning, self-identification of gender on official documents, and abortion. The group was founded by a pastor of a Protestant Apostolic Reformist Church and an active member of the church, Mihaela Djorgova (Михаела Джоргова), who now heads it. SV is against gender affirming transitions and makes false claims, often using American and UK propaganda, that children are forced into gender choices at a young age. 

The group supports the Bulgarian Constitutional Court’s decision that gender is biological and cannot be legally altered, even after transitional surgery. They repeatedly imply that if these rules change, young children will be forced into decisions over their gender that they will later regret. They also make allegations that if these rights are afforded, biological men will start participating in, and dominating, women’s sports after simply calling themselves female. And they argue men will abuse women when using women’s restrooms because they will identify as women to do so. The group has connections to American anti-LGBTQ+ groups who hold similar positions. 

On their YouTube channel, they uploaded a video with added Bulgarian subtitles that features members of the American groups, Family Watch International and American College of Pediatricians, discussing the risks of gender transitions and alleging the children are being pressured into hormone therapy. Both groups are known to trade in LGBTQ+ falsehoods and to demonize the community. SV is against the Istanbul Convention, complaining the document mentions “72 times that gender is a social construct.” They also believe no one is born gay and that sexual orientation can be changed through debunked practices such as conversion therapy. In 2022, they took part in the march for the “traditional family” organized by ROD to protest Sofia Pride. They also support the referendum initiative of the Bulgarian Socialist Party against “gender ideology.”

Start Typing
Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

GPAHE uses cookies to collect information and give you a more personalized experience on our site. You can find more information in our Privacy Policy.
Stay connected with GPAHE
You can unsubscribe at any time.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Stay connected with GPAHE
Thank you for subscribing!
Thank you for subscribing.
Join Us in The Fight Against Global Extremism.
Stay connected with GPAHE and get the latest on how hate and extremism are threatening our safety and democracy.
Subscribe To Our Free Newsletter!
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Join Us in The Fight Against Global Extremism.
Stay connected with GPAHE and get the latest on how hate and extremism are threatening our safety and democracy.
Subscribe To Our Free Newsletter!
You can unsubscribe at any time.