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Is Putin Sending Animal Eyeballs to Ukraine’s Embassies?

Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine has just taken an especially disturbing turn.

On November 30, the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid received a mail bomb, which exploded and harmed one diplomat.

A few days later, the home entrance of Ukraine’s representative to the Vatican was vandalized, the embassy in Kazakhstan received a bomb threat, and the embassy in Washington DC received a threatening letter.

All of this was business as usual for most diplomatic representations. But then came something disgustingly extraordinary.

The Ukrainian embassies in Budapest, The Hague, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Rome as well as the consulates in Naples, Cracow, and Brno received bloodied packages containing animal eyeballs.

As the Ukrainians officially put it, “we are studying the sense of this message.”

Sense, indeed.

The sick minds that concocted such a display of inhumanity obviously wanted to say something. That they’ll poke out the eyes of all Ukrainians? Too obvious, perhaps.

That they’ll incapacitate Ukrainians’ ability to see—and hear and feel and smell? More likely. Or are they following in the footsteps of the Croatian Ustasha, who collected Serbian eyeballs during World War II as a form of ethnic cleansing? Take your pick.

Who might be responsible for these atrocities?

There are only two possible candidates: the Russian secret service, the FSB, or fascist Russian refugees of emigres living in Europe.

I’d place my money on the FSB, which is a criminal organization spawned by the no less criminal Soviet secret police organizations, the Cheka, NKVD, and KGB.

If it’s the FSB, then it’s also Putin, who has retained his connections with the organization that he joined in 1975, at the height of its crackdown on Soviet dissent. His possible complicity is hardly surprising considering the genocide he’s perpetrating in Ukraine. What’s a few animal eyeballs when you’re killing thousands of innocent civilians?

But the fascist refugees or emigres aren’t out of the running. Russia has a long tradition of radical conservatives, monarchists, and fascists who fled the country, found succor in Europe, and plotted to destroy Russia’s enemies—among whom the Ukrainians have always been at the top of the list—in their bid to revive Russian power.

One can easily imagine a cabal of unhinged Russians gathering in smoke-filled European cafes and deciding which of them would have the honor of finding the appropriate animals…

Whoever the perpetrator of these bizarre acts, the one thing we can assert with a high degree of certainty is that they are Russian.

Is it any wonder that the Russian writer Viktor Yerofyeyev has recently stated: “Russia today is actually dead”?

A 19FortyFive Contributing Editor, Dr. Alexander Motyl is a professor of political science at Rutgers-Newark. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the USSR, and on nationalism, revolutions, empires, and theory, he is the author of 10 books of nonfiction, including Pidsumky imperii (2009); Puti imperii (2004); Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires (2001); Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities (1999); Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism (1993); and The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929 (1980); the editor of 15 volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Nationalism (2000) and The Holodomor Reader (2012); and a contributor of dozens of articles to academic and policy journals, newspaper op-ed pages, and magazines. He also has a weekly blog, “Ukraine’s Orange Blues.”

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