Men roam the runway at Makhachkala airport in Dagestan in southern Russia, October 29, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1302 GMT:
The UN human rights office has found that a missile strike which killed 59 people in the village of Hroza, near Kupyansk in northeast Ukraine, was carried out by Russia.
Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:
Today, we are publishing a report into the events of October 5 that concludes there are reasonable grounds to believe that the missile was launched by Russian armed forces….
There was no indication of military personnel or any other legitimate military targets at or adjacent to the cafe at the time of the attack.
The Russians struck the cafe during a memorial ceremony for a soldier being reburied. About 1/6 of the village’s population — including all of the soldier’s immediate family — was slain.
The UN enquiry assessed:
Russian armed forces either failed to do everything feasible to verify that the target to be attacked was a military objective, rather than civilians or civilian objects, or deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects.
Either scenario would be in violation of international humanitarian law.
The report said the weapon likely used in the attack, the Iskander missile, is in the arsenal of the Russian armed forces but not in that of Ukraine.
UPDATE 0946 GMT:
The latest Russian shelling of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine killed one person and wounded 16.
Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported that Russia launched 98 attacks with 447 shells in the past 24 hours: ”The Russian military targeted the residential quarters of the populated areas of the region; administrative buildings in Beryslav and Kherson districts; a food industry enterprise and a library in Kherson.”
Russia’s shelling early Monday killed three people, including an women aged 85 and 91.
UPDATE 0900 GMT:
Citing “sources close to the Kremlin and the ruling United Russia Party”, the independent Russian outlet Meduza offers detail on the “shock” to the Kremlin from Sunday’s anti-semitic riot at an airport in Dagestan.
The sources say the riot became an unexpected “total emergency” for Vladimir Putin and his advisors.
Initially, officials and political strategists missed the significance of the gathering crowd at the Makhachkala airport. “Just for laughs”, they sent each other videos of men “looking for Jews”, one official explained.
Meduza notes the signals of the forthcoming riot. On Saturday, residents in the city of Khasavyurt gathered at the Flamingo Hotel after a Telegram channel posted rumors suggesting the hotel was “full of Jews”. In Cherkessk, the capital of Russia’s Karachay-Cherkess Republic, participants in an anti-Israel rally demanded that Jews be “expelled” from the region. The next morning, arsonists set fire to an unfinished Jewish cultural center in the town of Nalchik in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic.
However, a source said it was only when video circulated of the rioters moving through Makhachkala airport and its runway that Kremlin officials “realized the situation was far from a joke”.
Makhachkala Airport resumed operations on Monday afternoo, but flights from Tel Aviv are being redirected to other Russian cities.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Shaken by an anti-semitic riot in Dagestan in the far south of Russia, Vladimir Putin has lied that Ukraine and the West are trying to “instigate pogroms”.
On Sunday evening a mob ran through Makhachkala airport after reports that “Israeli refugees” were fleeing the deadly conflict with Gaza’s Hamas and arriving in the North Caucasus. They searched for Jewish passengers on a plane that had just arrived from Israel.
Security forces clashed with the crowd and finally dispersed them, detaining 60 people. However, the incident undercut the Kremlin’s disinformation, justifying its 20-month invasion of Ukraine, that it is fighting “Nazism” and “fascism”.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 29, 2023
Putin lied to the Russian Security Council on Monday that the riot was “inspired, among other things, through social networks, from Ukraine’s territory by Western intelligence services”. He declared that the West is trying to use regional conflicts to break Russia from within.
Putin tasked regional authorities with undertaking “firm, timely and clear actions to protect the constitutional system of Russia, the rights and freedoms of [Russian] citizens, interethnic and interreligious harmony”. He did not specify which measures should be pursued.
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed the incident was “the result of external intervention, including external information influence”. Foreign Ministry spokesperso Maria Zakharova announced a “provocation” orchestrated from outside Russia, with Ukraine playing a “direct and key role”.
“Hate, Bigotry, and Intimidation”
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby knocked back the disinformation:
Classic Russian rhetoric, when something goes bad in your country, you blame somebody else. The West had nothing to do with this. This is just hate, bigotry, and intimidation, pure and simple.
Some people will compare it to the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century and I think that’s probably an apt description, given that video that we’ve seen out there.
NATO’s director strategic communications, Janis Sarts, explained that the riot was a manifestation of the radicalization of the Russian society, amid the invasion of Ukraine and the non-stop propaganda from State media inciting hatred against Ukrainians, the West, and Israel.
Sarts noted that many of the Russian troops slain in the failing invasion were from Dagestan.
Anti-Semitism and Putin’s Invasion
The Kremlin’s propaganda over “Nazism” had already been undercut by the departure of many Jews from Russia soon after the invasion of Ukraine.
They include the Chief Rabbi of Moscow for 30 years, Pinchas Goldschmidt, who left in March 2022. He called on fellow Jews to do the same, saying they could become scapegoats if the invasion ran into trouble.
Goldschmidt said in January:
Pressure was put on community leaders to support the war, and I refused to do so. I resigned because to continue as chief rabbi of Moscow would be a problem for the community because of the repressive measures taken against dissidents.
In July 2023, Russian authorities labelled the former Chief Rabbi a “foreign agent”.
On Monday, the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Alexander Boroda, called on officials to “find and punish all organizers and participants of anti-semitic actions”.
He carefully cited the rising anti-semitism in southern Russia.
We see that the local authorities were unprepared for such incidents and allowed large-scale violations of law and order, mass demonstrations with open threats to Jews and Israelis.
But it is hard to call this incompetence — rather, the leadership of the republics could not have imagined that the multi-ethnic Caucasus would be affected by such riots.
"I came here for the Jews. I will kill them with a knife."
Dagestani children outside Makhachkala airport yesterday said they had come to kill Jews.
"You are tigers," the cameraman added. pic.twitter.com/9W7SWmauBY
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 30, 2023