Belarusian president dictator Alexander Lukashenko sacked two top military officials after they failed to stop an incursion into Belarus's airspace…by teddy bears.
Only July 4, a small Swedish advertising agency flew a light plane into Belarus and dropped 879 bears wearing parachutes and carrying slogans in support of human rights into the least-free country in Europe.
In a statement yesterday, the president announced that air defense chief Dmitry Pakhmelkin and head of the border guards Igor Rachkovsky had been dismissed "for not properly carrying out their duties in safeguarding Belarussian national security."
"This plane was discovered in time, but why did the (air defense) authorities not intercept the flight? … Come on lads. We are all grown up. The guilty ones have to answer for this."
This kind of stunt can seem silly, but the reaction suggests that the Swedes have gotten under the skin of the man who has held power since 1994:
Authorities in Belarus have also arrested a journalism student who posted teddy bear photos on his personal website and a real estate agent who offered an apartment to the Swedes. The two men were accused of assisting border violators and face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
And Belarusian freedom fighters have had some success in this vein before. In 2008, a political flash mob of people silently ate ice cream gained nation attention. Because "nothing says 'police state' like detaining kids for eating ice cream."