Date: 30 October 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Putin Convenes Meeting after Mob Storms Dagestan Airport in Search of Jewish Passengers

An anti-Israeli mob stormed Makhachkala International Airport in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29 searching for Jews and Israelis rumored to have arrived on a flight from Tel Aviv. Law enforcement agents arrived at the scene while Russian President Vladimir Putin convened a meeting to discuss the mob invasion at the airport. Antisemitic riots occurred elsewhere in Russia.


The Red Wing Airlines flight from Tel Aviv arrived on the evening of October 29 evening carrying sixteen Jewish passengers, including children, most of whom had a layover in Makhachkala on the way to Moscow. Rioters were reported to have participated in the airport riot, waving Palestinian flags and searching the tarmac for Jewish citizens. Some demonstrators demanded to see documents before rampaging through the terminal and getting to the tarmac. The passengers were evacuated and ended up in a VIP room where they hid. Most Israelis on the plane were reportedly evacuated by a military helicopter. Law enforcement agents were working at the scene for several hours. At least 60 people were arrested. Some twenty people were injured in the clashes. Israel also called on Russia to protect Israelis and Jews. President Vladimir Putin accused the West and Ukraine of stirring up unrest inside Russia. Also on October 29, a crowd of angry people surrounded a hotel in the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan because of a rumor that refugees from Israel were staying there. No Israeli citizen was present in the hotel. Anti-Semitic incidents spread across the Russian Caucasus, including the republics of Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria. Mob incidents were tied to rumors about refugees from Israel supposedly arriving in Dagestan. The storming in Dagestan, where Russian security forces once fought an Islamist insurgency, shows the scale of religious and ethnic tensions in Russia. The incidents in Russia have soured the Russian-Israeli ties even more. Yet antisemitic protests in Dagestan could be in the Kremlin’s best interests. As there is a considerable group of radical Islamists across the region, the Kremlin has found a reason to tighten repression in the republic. Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 30 convened a meeting with top officials to discuss the events in Dagestan. It was attended by the prime minister, the chairmen of the two houses of the Russian parliament as well as the heads of force structures, the prosecutor’s office, and the Investigative Committee. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the security meeting discussed “attempts by the West to use the events in the Middle East to divide the (Russian) society.”

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