Fact Check: Cover Of A Bulgarian Poetry Collection Does NOT Display Pro-Ukrainian Propaganda

проверка на факти

  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Cover Of A Bulgarian Poetry Collection Does NOT Display Pro-Ukrainian Propaganda Old Book

Is the cover illustration of a Bulgarian poetry book showing a child waving the Bulgarian flag and wearing the Ukrainian colors a form of pro-Ukrainian propaganda? No, that's not true: The edition of 'I am Bulgarian,' a book containing classical Bulgarian poetry with a cover showing a child wearing a yellow and blue sweater and waving a Bulgarian flag, has been published with the same cover since 2006, years before the war in Ukraine. According to the designer of the book cover, the choice of what colors to use reflected his personal artistic decision and had nothing to do with Ukraine.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) published by @dyteop1bqmi6 on January 22, 2024.

The 34-second video begins with an unidentified man speaking in Bulgarian, translated into English by Lead Stories staff. The narrator says:

I don't mind the yellow-blue sweaters. But I mind them being front and center on the cover of one of the most Bulgarian pieces of literature. I'm sick of this Ukro-propaganda. No book from this publisher will enter my home. It is about time to boycott not only the endorsers but also the implementors of the plan to brainwash us and replace our values.

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

Screenshot 2024-01-25 at 10.03.50.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Jan 25 08:13:36 2024 UTC)

Claims the book portrays Ukrainian propaganda have widely circulated on Bulgarian social media channels, seen here (archived here) and here (archived here), and were the subject of an article (archived here) from January 22, 2024, in the Bulgarian media 'Pik,' that led to calls for a boycott of Hermes Publishing, which publishes the book.

The company refuted such claims on its official Facebook page and wrote this in a post (archived here), dated January 22, 2024, in comments translated by Lead Stories staff:

We categorically state that the insinuations in the article (Pik) are manipulative and untrue. The book cover and its artwork were created in 2002, and the book has been on sale for 22 years. From 2002 to 2005, the edition had a different cover, and from 2006 to the present, it has been using the current one. Any attempt to link the book cover to current political events is unfounded.

The author of the book cover, artist Boris Stoilov, confirmed in an interview (archived here) with Bulgarian TV NOVA, that the book had been republished since 2006 using the same cover which has nothing to do with Ukraine. Stoilov said the choice of the colors of the child's clothing on the book cover is a personal artistic choice inspired by the clothing of his kids at the time. According to him, the choice of colors cannot be associated with Ukraine.

The poem 'I am Bulgarian,' used for the title of the collection of poems, is one of the most popular Bulgarian classical works. In early 2024, it became the subject of misinformation (archived here) that led to an official statement (archived here) on January 16, 2024, from the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria, calling the claims disinformation.

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