Putin names culprits behind anti-Jewish riot in Dagestan
Sunday’s anti-Semitic riot in Russia's Republic of Dagestan was inspired by Western intelligence services from the territory of Ukraine and is part of a broader effort to destabilize the world, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
Putin was speaking at a meeting convened with the entire Russian leadership, including the cabinet and both speakers of parliament, to discuss western attempts to sow division in the country. The meeting follows an anti-Jewish riot in the Republic of Dagestan, sparked by fake news on a Ukraine-linked Telegram channel claiming that 'refugees' from Israel were scheduled to arrive in the Muslim majority region.
“The events in Makhachkala were inspired through social networks, including from the territory of Ukraine, by agents of Western special services,” Putin said in his opening remarks at the evening meeting.
Telegram has already banned ‘Utro Dagestan’ (Dagestan Morning), the channel linked to Ukrainian intelligence which had called for storming the Makhachkala airport in search of “Jewish refugees.” Around 150 people took part in the riot.
The Russian president noted that the horrific imagery coming out of Gaza is fueling an emotional response, adding that the “collective punishment” of civilians that Israel seems to have chosen is “absolutely not justifiable.”
However, he noted that the “ruling elite of the US and its satellites” are behind the current conflict in the Middle East and other places around the globe, in an effort to sow chaos and prevent the rise of a multipolar world order.
According to Putin, Moscow’s position on that conflict is clear – there can only be peace with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“How do you help Palestine by attacking families?” the Russian president wondered, pointing to rioters in Dagestan waving Palestinian flags while storming the airport.
Putin argued that Russia is not just leading the effort to create a truly multipolar world of sovereign countries, but literally fighting for it on the battlefields of Ukraine – and that many volunteers from Dagestan are taking part in that struggle already.
Russia is the bulwark for all of those who fight for their independence and freedom, against those who spread chaos and conflict and their “useful idiots,” Putin concluded.
Ukraine was quick to declare the Makhachkala airport riot as “proof” of Russian bigotry and anti-Semitism. However, Russia’s Muslim leaders have condemned the riot as unacceptable, as has the head of Dagestan, Sergey Melikov. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the unrest was “obviously” incited from abroad.