Ukrainian oligarch says he placed Jewish death curse on Putin

The ‘Pulsa Denura’ ritual has previously been directed against at least three Israeli politicians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia (photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia
(photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)

Ukrainian Jewish oligarch Hennady Korban has performed the Pulsa Denura “death curse” against Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said Friday.

“Pulsa Denura is a complex, difficult procedure,” Korban said in an interview with Ukrainian Radio NV. “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, [the central Ukrainian city of] Dnipro has not been hit. I want to knock on wood. I don’t want to jinx it, God forbid. Nevertheless, it is so.”

“By the way, maybe this is irrational logic, but very often dictators such as Putin, Hitler and 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 nontraditional healers under these people. Therefore, these people are very inclined to believe and are afraid of some mystical things.”

Korban said what he did was a “warning.”

"I warned Putin. Let him think and draw his own conclusions."

Ukrainian oligarch Hennadiy Korban

“I warned Putin,” he said. “Let him think and draw his own conclusions. In other words, Pulsa Denura is not just a procedure that you can start whenever you want. This is a procedure when you have to warn the enemy or person whom you want to subject to this procedure officially, so that he knows that such a procedure is being started against him.”

Russian Israeli right wing activist Avigdor Eskin lays a Pulsa Denura death curse on Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in response to the Oslo Accords.  (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)Russian Israeli right wing activist Avigdor Eskin lays a Pulsa Denura death curse on Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in response to the Oslo Accords. (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

The businessman had warned that he would conduct the curse in mid-July, writing on his Facebook page, “Putin, if you hit Dnipro again, you will get a PULSA DENURA in response!”

Who is Hennadiy Korban?

Korban is a past business associate of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, a former politician and a mining magnate who is famously belligerent. A member of the board of trustees of the Jewish community of Dnipro, he has spent millions on Ukrainian Jewry’s institutions and causes, as well as significant sums on beefing up Ukraine’s military capabilities against Russia. His sister Victoria lives in Israel, and their parents are said to be Israeli citizens. Korban is believed to hold Israeli citizenship. His Ukrainian citizenship has been revoked.

Korban was arrested in 2016 in connection with a $150,000 bribe that police said he had given to a judge. The investigation into his actions, which Korban has compared to an antisemitic blood libel, is ongoing.

The oligarch, who is also head of the territorial defense in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, had his Ukrainian citizenship stripped from him in July, with the official reason reportedly being that he held foreign citizenship. A petition calling for his citizenship to be restored has been signed by more than 10,000 people.

What is the Pulsa Denura curse?

The Pulsa Denura ritual is attributed by some to the kabbalistic text the Zohar or other Jewish mystical works, although multiple studies have found that the first instance of the curse ever being mentioned or used seems to be in the 20th century.

Although the Aramaic term Pulsa Denura does appear in the Zohar and other works, it is almost always used in a metaphorical sense to describe either education, protection or punishment, according to a paper titled “Pulsa DeNura: The innovation of modern magic and ritual” by Zion Zohar, a professor of religious studies.

The ritual is usually described as involving having at least 10 mystics gather at midnight after having fasted for three days straight. The mystics light black candles, blow a shofar and intone the curse before blowing out the candles.

Multiple versions of the text of the curse exist. The ritualistic actions often accompanying the curse resemble the actions often conducted in a herem (excommunication) ritual.

In the past, the Pulsa Denura curse was used by Israeli activists against former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Naftali Bennett and Ariel Sharon.

Cnaan Liphshiz/JTA contributed to this report.