An opinion poll by Gallup international Bulgaria has revealed that 88% of Bulgarians approve the decision of the Bulgarian government not to expel Russian diplomats. Only 8% disapprove and 4% don’t know.
Borissov, whose country holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, said at the last EU summit that he has warned UK Prime Minister Theresa may not to repeat the mistakes of Tony Blair which led to the Iraq war. He made it clear that for him, a “highly likely” Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning was not a “certain” involvement.
Later, it became clear that unlike most EU countries, Bulgaria will not expel Russian diplomats.
The poll, quoted by the website Mediapool, has been conducted on 3 and 4 April and 801 Bulgarians have been questioned. Gallup international Bulgaria is a reliable polling agency.
Answering another question, 81% of the Bulgarians see no sufficient proofs of a Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning, while 6% say the proofs are sufficient.
A majority of 52% consider that the West is responsible for the international tensions resulting from the Scripal case, while 18% blame Russia.
54% consider that the Skripal case is a provocation against Russia, while 30% see it as a necessary mobilization of the West against a more aggressive Russia.
The poll has also detected a rapprochement between Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and socialist leader Kornelia Ninova, as well as a growing divergence between Borissov and the number two in GERB, Tzvetan Tzvetanov. 80% approve Ninova having congratulated Borissov with his position, while 13 disaprove. Also, 81% approve Borissov against 5% approving Tzvetanov, who advocated that Bulgaria should expel Russian diplomats.
Bulgarian society is traditionally pro-Russian, but the results of the poll most certainly reflect the way the Skripal case was descried by Bulgarian media and by analysts quoted by the media. The daily of the socialist party Duma and another leftist daily Zemya openly advocate the Russian positions. This can also be said with respect to the media controlled by Delyan Peevski.
Only a small political force, “Yes, Bulgaria”, has accused Borissov of playing Russia’s game in the Skripal case.
“Yes, Bulgaria” is a political force built around the push for bolder judicial reform, headed by Hristo Ivanov, a former justice minister in the second Borisov cabinet. It is not represented in Parliament, as it wasn’t able to cross the 4% barrier (it obtained 2,86%).