A year ago, as Russian forces retreated from Kherson in disarray, one soldier attempted to salvage a small victory from defeat by stealing a raccoon from the city zoo.
Since then, the poached pet has become a symbol across social media of the absurdity of Russia's invasion.
Read also: Exotic animals rescued from Kharkiv zoo
But now, in a twist mimicking his country's failures, the kidnapping soldier has discovered his furry trophy was pilfered from him in turn, according to Telegram posts on Oct. 28.
The raccoon was stolen by one of his assistants, named Roman, the soldier reported on the Telegram channel “Raccoon from Kherson,” which the Russians created to manufacture propaganda featuring the stolen animal.
"Unfortunately, the project Raccoon from Kherson ends its life with a simple betrayal," the invader laments.
In the fall of 2022, while fleeing Kherson, the Russian occupation forces stole a raccoon from the local zoo.
The raccoon from Kherson became one of the symbols of Russian propaganda. At the time, Russian military correspondent Anna Dolgarieva called the theft of the animal "the only good news." She also coined the absurd Russian propaganda slogan: "We will return Kherson, we will not return the raccoon."
The Russians named the Kherson raccoon Hersey and created a Telegram channel for him, where they supported Russian paratroopers on behalf of the animal and raised funds for the Russian army through making videos with the raccoon. They also filmed propaganda stories with him for Russian television and took him to the front line.
The Russians even "enrolled" the stolen raccoon in a university in Melitopol, a city in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Oblast.
In Ukraine, the Kherson raccoon has become the hero of numerous memes. The animal has become a symbol of the absurdity of the Russian troops, who steal everything from washing machines and toilets to zoo animals.
Through the raccoon meme, Ukrainians have also ridiculed Russia's rapidly changing goals in the war, from "Kyiv in three days" to stealing a raccoon from a zoo.
In addition, Ukrainians posted memes calling for the animal's release. A petition was even created on the president's website with a proposal to exchange the raccoon for the Odesa monument to Russian empress Catherine II.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine