Erik Kucherenko

Back to pogroms: Result of Kremlin’s antisemitism

Yesterday, as I went to a news website to check the recent events in the world, I was totally shocked.

In Makhachkala, Russia, an aggressive mob stormed the local airport. They knew that the plane from Tel Aviv was coming, and they broke all layers of airport security all the way to the landing strip. The airplane was actually surrounded by angry pogromists shouting antisemitic slogans.

This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows a mob looking for Jews and Israelis on the apron area of an airport in Makhachkala. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP)
Pogromists are surrounding the airplane (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP)

This is a blood-curdling event. It is reported to have been organized by local Telegram channels urging the mob to “search for Jews”. To defend the passengers, the crew had to lock down themselves inside the airplane.

Cars near the airport were stopped by demonstrators, who demanded drivers to show their documents.

20 people were injured in the event, 2 are in critical condition.

It is hard to believe all of that is possible in the 21st century.

But is it surprising?

Unfortunately, it is not. Authorities in Moscow are very consistent in their racist and antisemitic rhetoric. The Russian government purposefully uses antisemitism to garner more support for its war against Ukraine. Just recall Lavrov’s statement that “Hitler had Jewish blood”.

Once it is out, you can no longer control it. The hate speech, which has become a constant feature of the Russian government’s communication, is backfiring. Israeli passengers flying to Makhachkala became victims to this rhetoric.

What has the Kremlin done in response to the consequences of its hate speech and antisemitic rhetoric? It came up with even more hate speech, this time against Ukraine.

The Dagestan governor, appointed directly by Vladimir Putin, dared to blame “Ukrainian traitors” for what happened in Makhachkala.

This claim does not make any sense. Even worse, it demonstrates how profoundly ignorant the Russian authorities are. They are ready to use this shameful episode in order to incite even more violence and shift attention from their responsibility for the event to imaginary enemies.

We have all seen this before. But after February 2022, the Russian aggression has come to the whole new level. This aggression cannot be localized or limited. It has already got out of control. Unless the entire world unites against it, we will all face the consequences.

As have all too sadly faced them the innocent passengers flying from Tel Aviv to Makhachkala.

About the Author
Erik Kucherenko, Master of Public Policy Candidate at the University of Oxford, adviser to a Member of the Parliament of Ukraine.
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