Regional head promises ‘no forgiveness’ for anti-Jewish rioters
Russian authorities won’t let anti-Jewish rioters in the southern region of Dagestan get away with taking part in an illegal and violent rally, the region’s head, Sergey Melikov, has claimed, denouncing the unrest as a “betrayal.”
Melikov spoke to reporters on Monday about the rally at Makhachkala Airport late on Sunday during which protestors, many of whom were holding Palestinian flags, broke into the facility and blocked the runways as they tried to board planes in search of Israeli passengers who they believed were fleeing the conflict with Hamas.
The regional head stressed that local law enforcement had managed to bring the situation under control, vowing that all those responsible for the unrest would be held accountable, and “there will be no forgiveness for anyone.”
According to Melikov, the “attempts to destabilize the situation in Dagestan” by inciting ethnic and religious division were “carried out by our enemies.” He explained that the calls to join the illegal protests were being spread by Ukrainian nationalists.
“Today we have received absolutely reliable information that the Utro Dagestan (‘Dagestan Morning’) [Telegram] channel is administered and controlled from Ukrainian territory, by traitors, Banderites,” he claimed.
In October 2022, former Russian State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev, who fled Russia in 2014 after being charged with embezzlement and later settled in Kiev, described the Utro Dagestan as “our” Telegram channel. After the Makhachkala unrest, however, the fugitive former-MP said he had cut ties with the outlet several months ago.
Melikov also claimed that those involved in the protests were “stabbing in the back” the Russian military. “While some are fighting against our enemy, others took part in the so-called protest, playing into his hands. This can only be called treason.”
He also told reporters that he felt “ashamed” about the riots and offered those detained during the incident the chance to redeem themselves by joining the Russian army to fight against Ukrainian forces either as volunteers or contract soldiers. However, he stressed that the authorities had no plans to enforce any “special measures.”
Melikov stated that Russian law enforcement had “acted in a concerted fashion,” although he admitted that some mistakes had been made, especially in the media sphere.
According to Dagestan’s Interior Ministry, police identified more than 150 “active participants” in the unrest, 60 of whom have been detained. It also said that nine law enforcement officers were injured, two of whom have been hospitalized.