Throwing stones and setting fires In recent days, the North Caucasus region has seen a wave of anti-Semitic incidents
A series of anti-Semitic incidents across the North Caucasus has drawn condemnation from the North Caucasus Coordinating Center for Muslims, while Dagestan Governor Sergey Melikov attributed the actions to “false information” spread by “outside provocateurs.”
On October 28, in Khasavyurt, Dagestan, locals demonstrated outside the Flamingo hotel, following the spread of online rumors suggesting that Israeli refugees were staying there and that the hotel was “full of Jews.” The Telegram channel ChP Dagestan reported that a group gathered outside the hotel several hours after a video showing a person with a supposedly “Israeli appearance” near the premises circulated online. The crowd demanded that hotel guests come to the windows, and, when they did not comply, the group started throwing stones at the building.
According to the news site Caucasian Knot, police officers who arrived at the scene allowed several of the demonstrators to enter the hotel so they could verify that there were no Israeli citizens inside. Subsequently, the crowd dispersed. A sign hung on the hotel entrance after the demonstration reads: “Entrance is strictly prohibited for foreign citizens of ISRAEL (JEWS)!!! (AND THEY AREN’T STAYING HERE!!!!!)”
On the same day, unsanctioned anti-Israeli rallies took place in Makhachkala’s Lenin Square and in Cherkessk, the capital of Karachay-Cherkessia. Demonstrators in Cherkessk demanded “Israeli refugees not be allowed to enter the region” and ethnic Jews be expelled from the area. A government representative, who came out to talk to the demonstrators, said there were no grounds for expulsion.
The following morning, October 29, unknown individuals set fire to an under-construction Jewish cultural center in Nalchik. The assailants threw burning tires onto the property and wrote the phrase “death to Jews” on the wall.
Commenting on the incidents in Khasavyurt and Makhachkala, Dagestan Governor Sergey Melikov blamed outside misinformation, “spread by enemies of Russia,” and said that the people involved were “hotheads” who “allowed themselves to be manipulated” but also noted that “the incident in no way reflects well on [the perpetrators].” He called on Dagestanis “to counter any attempts to divide society.” “Today, our prayers are with the people of Palestine,” Melikov also stated.
The North Caucasus Coordinating Center for Muslims has condemned the anti-Semitic actions. They expressed their support for Palestine but emphasized that “Muslims of the North Caucasus cannot be on the side of hatred and intolerance towards other peoples and religions.” They added that “there is no place for anti-Semitism in the region.”
Dagestan’s Jewish community has not ruled out the possibility that it will need to evacuate from the region. “The situation is very difficult in Dagestan. People from the [Jewish] community are afraid, they’re calling, and I don’t know what advice to give them,” said Ovadia Osakov, a representative of Russia’s Chief Rabbinate in the republic. In addition, he said, he doesn’t know where people would evacuate to, as “Russia isn’t a refuge: Russia has also had pogroms.”