On a recent Sunday evening, Makhachkala, a city in southwestern Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, experienced a surge of protestors at its airport.
The demonstrators were resounding with chants against Israel, eventually causing the airport to suspend operations due to runway inundation. This information was confirmed by the Russian aviation authority, Rosaviatsia, which in turn reported that all inbound flights were rerouted away from the affected airport.
According to journalist Amichai Stein, from the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, a minority among these stranded individuals were of Jewish and Israeli citizenship. They found themselves ‘isolated’ in the airport’s vicinity amidst the unrest.
In response to the unfolding event, the Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that its ambassador to Russia was collaborating with local agencies and officials, devising measures to secure the safety of Israeli citizens located in the area impacted by the protests.
A lynch mob has stormed the airport in Dagestan, Russia to look for Jewish passengers after finding out that a plane from Tel Aviv is about to land.
They have also stopped police cars in front of the airport and are searching them for Jews.
What’s Putin doing?
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 29, 2023
The Israeli authorities issued a strong-worded statement, denouncing any threats against citizens of their nation or Jewish individuals regardless of their location. Their expectations from Russian law enforcement were clear: to ensure the safety of all Israelis and Jews situated anywhere in the country, and to take decisive action against both those involved in causing the turmoil and those that were fuelling the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiments.
The Republic of Dagestan, where the protest took place, is primarily populated by a Muslim-majority population. Jews form a minority in Russia, with an estimated population of approximately 83,000 Jewish individuals residing across the entire vast expanse of the country.
Rebekah Koffler, a foreign affairs expert, conveyed to Fox News Digital her assessment of the situation, which she believes could emerge as a significant issue for Russia’s President Putin, should the protests continue to escalate and be left unchecked.
Koffler further elaborated on her point, shedding light on former strict control over religious expression during the Soviet era, which according to her, laid the foundation for the radicalization of certain Muslim populations. Koffler highlighted that these individuals sought to learn and practice an extremist version of Islam outside of their country. President Putin’s strict stance and measures, including waging wars in Chechnya to counteract Islamic extremism, were remembered by Koffler in this context.
In an act of condemnation against the actions of the rioters, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy branded the situation as ‘disturbing’ via a Sunday night statement. He accused the Russian officials of displaying hatred towards the Jewish individuals.
According to Zelenskyy’s statement, the incidents in Makhachkala are indicative of the anti-foreign sentiment that pervades Russia, promoted by state-run media platforms, various commentators, and officials. The Ukrainian leader used the social media platform X for airing his comments, previously known as Twitter.
He affirmed his view that antisemitic remarks were far from being isolated instances in the country. He claimed that both the Russian foreign minister and the Russian President had been found guilty of uttering such antisemitic comments within the last year alone.
Zelenskyy argued that Russian official media were not free of such speech either. In his perspective, discriminatory rhetorics were part of their regular broadcast. He pointed out that recent conflicts in the Middle East had prompted Russian ideologues to voice more antisemitic remarks, confirming the pervasive nature of this problem.