John Oliver chose the bears as a reference to the Plush Troopers campaign. It was held on July 4, 2012 by the citizens of Sweden, speaking out against violations of freedom of speech in Belarus. Teddy bears were dropped from a light aircraft over Minsk and the city of Ivenets on small parachutes with attached signs “Freedom of speech now” and “We support the struggle of Belarusians for freedom of speech” in English and Belarusian.
Alexander Lukashenko then carried out a large-scale purge in the security structures of the republic, wrote Kommersant. He fired the chairman of the State Border Committee Igor Rachkovsky, as well as the commander of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces Dmitry Pakhmelkin. The official reason for the resignation is “improper performance of official duties to ensure the national security of the country.” Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin and Chief of the General Staff Pyotr Tikhonovsky were warned of incomplete official compliance, while State Secretary of the Security Council Leonid Maltsev and KGB head Vadim Zaitsev received severe reprimands.
According to John Oliver, HBO has ordered 10,000 of these toys. They sold for $ 19.99. At the moment, all the bears have been sold out. It is also invited to make a donation to Belarusian human rights defenders through the platform GlobalGiving.
The money will go to support victims of political repression in Belarus, pay for medical expenses, lawyers and help organizations that provide scholarships and grants to journalists.