As Swedish mass media report, a group of Swedes took a risky and even life threatening solidarity action with Belarusian freedom movement.
Young activists managed to go beyond Mathias Rust: they have not just bypassed Belarusian air defense on the next day after the Independence Day posh parade, but managed to bomb morning Minsk with 800 parachute teddy bears with supportive slogans.
The pilots say they ‘assaulted’ the presidential residence at about 5 AM.
Later, mass mesia published the photos of ‘bear-bombing.’ However, Minsk — the target for the attack — cannot be seen on any of them.
The goal of the action was to support democratic transition of Belarus.
Belarusian authorities have not commented on the incident yet.
It is said that a plane registered in Sweden took off in Lithuania and entered Belarusian air space with no permission.
The pilots considered shooting down the plane quite a possible scenario, but the mission was accomplished without contingencies.
“I don't know if anyone reported us. We were flying very low,”said a pilot.
Swedish Aftonbladet says the action was funded by Studio Total, a PR-agency known for its audacious publicity stunts. Thus, Studio Total orchestrated a female rights support performance: they gave 100,000 SEK to feminist activists who burned the money as a protest against wages discrimination.
Initially, it was planned to drop flyers, but then Teddy-bears were chosen.
The Swedes might have been inspired by Belarusian youth movement Zmiena who set up ‘toy rallies’ in Minsk.
According to Studio Total, the action was carried out as an independent show of support for Charter 97, which is also a pro-human rights Belarusian news website, The Local says.
Aftonbladet, one of the most popular and influential Swedish newspapers, assures it learned about the toy bombing beforehand.
“We appreciate the idea of fighting the dictatorship with humor. The worst thing for a dictator is to be laughed at,” said the pilots in interview with Aftonbladet before taking off.
“Using an airplane may seem brave, but living in Belarus takes even more courage,” told a pilot, who took a risk even in spite of the possibility to “end up in prison.”
However, there are no documental evidences of the performance. The reporters of Nasha Niva visited the ‘beared sight’ but found neither teddy bears nor concerned law enforcement officers.
Belarusian Ministry of Defense reported there were no unsanctioned crossing of the air border of Belarus on June 4.
All in all, the whole incidents looks like a noble PR-action.