According to figures from the president’s office, one Russian receives a Bulgarian passport daily, for a total of 356 in 2022, according to Euractiv quoting the Bulgarian media Segabg.com.
In 2022, 7,410 people acquired citizenship based on Bulgarian origin, a Bulgarian citizen parent, or general naturalization. 2660 people had their Bulgarian citizenship restored. Due to various infractions, the naturalization of 13 persons was revoked.
Bulgarian citizenship was removed by decree for 247 persons. Bulgarians who have permanently moved to another country and applied for citizenship fall into this category, as Sofia does not allow dual citizenship.
These ex-Bulgarian citizens obtained passports from countries such as Belarus and Russia. Others obtained citizenship in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, North Macedonia, and the United States.
Bulgaria has prohibited the issuance of so-called “golden passports” in consideration for significant investments in the country since 2022, with Russians receiving almost 40% of the 105 golden passports.
According to the presidency’s report, no decrees for golden passports have been issued since Bulgaria decided to abolish them last year. Nine golden passports will be distributed in 2021. However, eight people, all of whom are athletes, became Bulgarians by merit in 2022.
The pattern, however, has not changed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s worrying as there is a risk of Russian agents and spies infiltrating Bulgarian society, an EU member. Also, the Russian influx, with their most probably anti-Western views, might impact overall public opinion in the country in times o political crisis.
In 2021, 479 Russian citizens received Bulgarian passports. The previous year, the figure was 485. Furthermore, according to 2019 data, Russians hold over 300,000 houses in Bulgaria, primarily along its seaside.
Russians rank seventh among those who obtained Bulgarian citizenship last year, with Macedonians (1,992) leading the pack, followed by Ukrainians (1,639), Turks (1,290), Serbs (556) and Albanians (556).