Russia Uses Rigged Polls, Fake News to Sway Foreign Elections
Bulgarian officials say a former Russian spy advised pro-Moscow party on how to manipulate voters as part of Kremlin’s effort to regain influence in Eastern Europe; a 30-page dossier.By Joe Parkinson and Georgi Kantchev, WSJ
March 23, 2017 11:19 a.m. ET
SOFIA, Bulgaria—In the run-up to presidential elections in Bulgaria last year, the country’s opposition Socialist Party received a secret strategy document proposing a road map to victory at the ballot box, according to five current or former Bulgarian officials.
Among its recommendations: plant fake news and promote exaggerated polling data.
The source of the roughly 30-page dossier, intercepted by Bulgaria’s security service, was a think tank connected to the Kremlin, according to the officials. It was delivered by a former Russian spy on a U.S. sanctions list, three of them said.
In November, the Socialists’ candidate, Rumen Radev, emerged victorious. Now, the party—which wants to end European Union sanctions against Russia and limit North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations around the Black Sea—is a front-runner in parliamentary elections t
“I’m very worried,” said Rosen Plevneliev, a Kremlin critic who was Mr. Radev’s predecessor as president. “Russian activity across Eastern Europe has gone to a new level.”