Going from 85 483 steps forward to 53 811 backward away from the integrated society


This is the title of the research focused on the cultural needs of the Ukrainian citizens, who have sought refuge in Bulgaria and the reactions of the Bulgarian cultural sector to this new audience. It is part of Project “85 483”, initiated by the А25 Cultural Foundation and implemented between 2022 and 2023.

At the start of the Project, the number of Ukrainians in Bulgaria was 85 483. Currently this number is 53 811 and is further decreasing as, according to the NGOs working with Ukrainians, more and more of those residing in Bulgaria are returning to their homeland.

The study comprises four sections. The first was prepared by the Ukrainian “Volyn” Foundation and offers a multi-layered profile of the cultural situation in Ukraine in terms of cultural policies, governance, consumption and attitudes. The second traces the reactions of the Bulgarian cultural sector in the process of involving foreign citizens in the life of society, including best practices and weak links. The third section examines Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria as potential new audiences with their own cultural attitudes and interests. The fourth section serves as a roadmap outlining the steps towards more efficient engagement of Ukrainians as an audience and more sustainable integration activities of cultural operators.

The study should not be perceived as a scientific publication. Its aim is to serve as a starting point for cultural policy making and cultural policy discussions.

A25 would like to express its gratitude to the “Volyn” Foundation team and personally to Anna Danylchuk, to David Kyuranov, to all focus group participants and to the representatives of the “Arms Wide Open” Association, “For the Good” Integration Centre, the “It Depends on Us” Humanitarian Centre and Ukrainian Kosher, without whose contribution this publication would not have been possible.

The research is available in Bulgarian and in English as follows:



© 2023 A25 Cultural Foundatrion, Ina Doublekova, Kremena Hristova, Demna Dimitrova
© Anna Danylchuk © David Kyuranov

Parts of this research may be used with explicit mention of its title, authors and organisation.

Graphic design: “Lunohod” Studio
Editing and proofreading: Vassilka Shishkova

The project was implemented with the financial support of the National Culture Fund under the “Audiences” Programme. The opinions expressed in the study are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of the National Culture Fund.

лого на НФК