PR firm says it dropped teddy bears alone

Aug. 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM

MINSK, Belarus, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The Swedish ambassador to Belarus worked with the public relations firm that dropped teddy bears on the country, the Belarusian president charged Thursday.

Studio Total, the PR company that carried out the stunt, said President Alexander Lukashenko's charge is baseless, The Local.se reported. But Lukashenko told Belta, a Belarus news agency, he has proof the ambassador was involved.

"The ambassador should not say that he is protecting democracy in our country," Lukashenko said, according to Russia's Interfax news agency. "It has still not been investigated which role he played in all this."

The teddy bears, equipped with small parachutes and signs calling for democracy and respect for human rights, were dropped in July. Belarus has since expelled the Swedish ambassador with Sweden responding by asking Belarus diplomats in Stockholm to leave.

Per Cromwell, founder of Studio Total, said Lukashenko wanted the ambassador out of the country because he has challenged Lukashenko's actions.

"It's probably impossible for him to understand that a small Swedish PR company was even able to make such a move as we did without collaboration from the government," Cromwell told the Local.

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