Ukrainian oligarch says he performed ancient Jewish curse on Putin

Gennadij Korban says the ‘pulsa denura’ is what has kept his home city of Dnipro safe from Russian attack.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Ukrainian oligarch says he performed an ancient Jewish curse on Russian President Vladimir Putin to protect his city from the war with Russia, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

Gennadij (pronounced “Hennadiy”) Korban, who is Jewish, told Ukrainian Radio NV on Friday that he executed a Kabbalistic ceremony called the pulsa denura, Aramaic for “lashes of fire,” which is invoked against serious sinners and causes them to die.

“Pulsa Denura is a complex, difficult procedure,” he said. “I am not a person who strictly observes rituals, although I am a believer, but I think that this fast somehow also influenced the fact that so far, Dnipro has not been hit. I want to knock on wood, I don’t want to jinx it, God forbid, nevertheless, it is so.”

Dnipro is an industrial city of one million people and the capital of the central Dnipropetrovsk region. Korban serves as head of the region’s territorial defense forces.

The Russians destroyed the city’s airport in April, but it has been relatively safe from the war, taking in refugees from other, harder-hit areas of the country. Still, air raid sirens wail often, and in mid-July, three people were killed and 15 injured when Russian long-range cruise missiles hit a space rocket plant and a nearby street.

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It was at that time that Korban took to Facebook to warn the Russian leader, “Putin, if you hit the Dniepro again, you will get a PULSA DENURA in response!”

He told the interviewer that he had published his warning because a possible target of the curse must be notified of it in advance.

In Jewish tradition, a person can receive the highest punishment by the courts only if there are witnesses to his sin and he was warned of the consequences ahead of time.

Korban, who is very involved in the Jewish community, donating millions to Ukrainian Jewish institutions, says he believes that Putin may take the curse seriously.

“Very often dictators – such as Putin, Hitler, Stalin – are very irrational in this regard and believe in many magical, mystical things,” he said. “After all, we know from various chronicles that there were some shamans, astrologers and non-traditional healers under these people. Therefore, these people are very inclined to believe and are afraid of some mystical things.”

The pulsa denura was made famous in Israel after rabbis reportedly performed the curse against then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 a month before his assassination.

Rabin had infuriated the political and religious right when he signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, giving up Israeli territory to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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Extreme right-wing activists also said they performed the Kabbalistic ceremony against Ariel Sharon, right before the forced evacuation of Gush Katif and northern Samaria that he initiated in the summer of 2005, in an unsuccessful attempt to head it off. They then claimed “credit” for the stroke the prime minister suffered six months later, from which he never recovered.

Korban himself has been a controversial figure in Ukraine. He served as deputy governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region from March 2014 to March 2015. He was then arrested in October of that year on charges of political kidnappings and embezzlement in an ongoing case that he has called an unfounded blood libel based on his political opposition to the authorities at the time.

He has also fallen afoul of current leader President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose office recently issued a short list of people whose Ukrainian citizenship has been stripped, ostensibly due to their having dual citizenship. Korban, who is also an Israeli national, was surprised to hear of the decision when stopped at the border to his country in late July, where he was told that his Ukrainian passport had been invalidated.