In Southern Russia, 60 individuals were apprehended following an anti-Israel demonstration that disrupted traffic at Makhachkala airport on Sunday. During the protest, nine police officers sustained injuries, with two of them hospitalized. The information is reported by Reuters, citing Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
Video footage recorded at the airport shows protesters waving Palestinian flags, breaking glass doors, and shouting “Allahu akbar” (Arabic for God is great). Authorities gradually gained control of the situation, which coincided with the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian radical movement Hamas.
Fortunately, none of the plane’s passengers were harmed, although a total of 20 individuals sustained injuries during the incident. Russian authorities have identified the 150 most active demonstrators. The Baza channel reported that over 1,500 people participated in the airport storming. The authorities are investigating the incident as a mass riot, which could lead to prison sentences of eight to 15 years in Russia, according to Meduza. However, it remains uncertain whether the detainees will be charged with this crime.
The local government in Dagestan has called for citizens to remain calm and avoid participating in such protests. Makhachkala airport remains temporarily closed, though Meduza suggests it may resume operations on Tuesday. Earlier reports indicated it would remain closed until November 6.
Notably, anti-Jewish sentiment appears to be growing in parts of Russia. On Saturday, a crowd in the town of Khasavyurt in Dagestan surrounded a hotel following rumors that Israeli refugees were staying there. Reportedly, several dozen men entered the hotel and checked the passports of guests, prompting the police to close the hotel.
The Dagestani government has increased security measures across the region, which has a population of approximately three million. The unrest in this area poses a challenge for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is concurrently engaged in a conflict with Ukraine and aims to maintain domestic stability in preparation for next year’s presidential election, as reported by Reuters.
Sergei Melikov, the head of Dagestan, denounced the incident as a severe breach of the law and attributed the organization of the riots at Makhachkala airport to “enemies” who he claimed were attempting to destabilize the situation in Dagestan. He made reference to “traitors and banderos” from Ukraine in this context. Ukraine did not respond to these allegations.
Previously, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky characterized the events in Makhachkala on Sunday as part of a prevailing culture of hatred towards other nations in Russia, which he attributed to state television and the authorities. Zelensky contended that anti-Semitism and animosity towards other nations in Russia are deeply ingrained and systemic. He recalled statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the previous year, which had incited controversy by linking Zelensky’s Jewish heritage to alleged Nazi elements in Ukraine. Lavrov’s comments also suggested that even Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry and that some of the most significant anti-Semites were Jewish. Israel claimed that Putin later apologized for Lavrov’s remarks in a phone call with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.