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Why is anti-Semitic violence spreading in Russia’s North Caucasus?

29 minutes
Why is anti-Semitic violence spreading in Russia’s North Caucasus?

On the evening of October 29, a crowd of rioters stormed the Makhachkala airport and then flooded the tarmac after a flight landed from Tel Aviv. The angry men had assembled amid reports circulating on the social network Telegram about Israeli refugees allegedly coming to resettle in Dagestan, supposedly with a diabolical plan to oust the native population. Rioters waved Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Semitic slogans. 

A day before the airport violence, locals in the city of Khasavyurt assembled outside a hotel amid rumors circulating online that it was accommodating Israeli refugees. When hotel guests refused to come to their windows to prove (somehow) that they weren’t Jews, people in the crowd started throwing rocks at the building. The mob didn’t disperse until the police showed up and allowed several demonstrators to enter the hotel to verify that it wasn’t “full of Jews.”

That same day, unpermitted anti-Israeli rallies took place in Makhachkala’s Lenin Square and in Cherkessk, the capital of Karachay-Cherkessia. Demonstrators demanded that “Israeli refugees not be allowed to enter the region” and that ethnic Jews be expelled from the area. The following morning, on October 29, unknown individuals set fire to a Jewish cultural center in Nalchik that was still under construction. The assailants threw burning tires onto the property and wrote the phrase “death to Jews” on the wall.

In the days after the Makhachkala Airport riot, Moscow settled on the explanation that foreign intelligence operatives — in Ukraine, orchestrated by the Americans, of course — are to blame for manipulating Dagestanis’ understandable outrage about Israel’s attack on civilians in Gaza.

For a better grasp of what has fomented anti-Semitism in the North Caucasus, The Naked Pravda spoke to political and security analyst Harold Chambers and RFE/RL Caucasus Realities senior editor Zakir Magomedov.

Timestamps for this episode:

  • 02:51 Anti-Semitic Incidents in Russia's North Caucasus
  • 03:46 Putin’s Response
  • 04:34 The Supposed Role of ‘Foreign Intelligence’
  • 07:59 Incitements on Telegram
  • 11:20 The Israel-Palestine Conflict
  • 19:35 Protests Against Putin's Mobilization Orders
  • 23:24 The Aftermath: Arrests and Support from Athletes

New episodes of The Naked Pravda are released at the end of every week. Catch each show by subscribing through Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or one of these other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the podcast, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Production and mixing by Ania Kovalenko. Sound editing by Kevin Rothrock.

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