Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Bulgarian Flag Burning In Kyiv During Protests In 2015

проверка на факти

  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Bulgarian Flag Burning In Kyiv During Protests In 2015 Misattributed

Does a picture, published on social media, show the Bulgarian flag being burned in Kyiv, Ukraine, during protests in 2015? No, that's not true: The misleading information is based on a photo taken in North Macedonia in 2021, not in Ukraine in 2015, as several videos sharing it claim. The original photo was taken in Vevchani, Republic of North Macedonia, at the beginning of 2021 and was widely covered by the Bulgarian media at the time.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) published by @georgipeev06 on May 31, 2023.

The Bulgarian text overlay, translated into English by Lead Stories staff, reads:

The photo is from 2015. The Bulgarian flag was being burned in Kyiv. Now you send them weapons and shelter them, providing them with a decent life, unlike many Bulgarians! I don't agree with the war, but I can't stand against Russia either! All of you who support Slava Ukraini... you have a short or selective memory!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Jun 5 06:00:10 2023 UTC)

Posts with similar misleading content have circulated and gained popularity throughout 2022, and have continued to appear sporadically in 2023. They are characterized by the use of the same photo with slightly altered textual content and a recognizable wording structure. In most cases, the text accompanying the photo suggests the use of Google Translate. Also, the image has been digitally edited and cropped from the original size, which can be seen here, to support the accompanying pro-Russian propaganda text shared on social media.

Some of the posts use a more extreme language, as can be seen in this Facebook post, in Bulgarian, published on March 29, 2022, under the title: "This is how the Ukrainians are burning Bulgarian flags and killing Bulgarians!"

It continues:

The 'Azov nationalists,' 'Right Sector,' and representatives of the 'neo-Nazi far-right guard' in Ukraine scream: "Slava Ukraine" and "Death to our enemies!" while burning the Bulgarian flag.

(Translation from Bulgarian by Lead Stories staff).

The photo in question, showing the Bulgarian flag being set on fire, has been shared by several posts falsely claiming it happened during the protests in Kyiv in 2015. It did not: The photo was taken on January 14, 2021 - six years after the alleged date circulating on social media -, in a completely different context, during a traditional carnival featuring mask burning and the chasing of evil in the village of Vevchani, in North Macedonia.

The first reports of the incident with the burning of the Bulgarian flag in North Macedonia appeared in the Bulgarian press on January 14, 2021. A subsequent strong reaction voiced by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ekaterina Zaharieva, resulted in a condemnation statement by the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski.

За Нас

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

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