Acts of provocation by the Russian special services
To begin with, we need to understand one simple axiom: The North Caucasus is a region where anti-Semitic or other similar actions cannot spontaneously arise. Since the Second Chechen War, this region has been under the increased control of Russian special services, which monitor any activity of suspicious people. Power there is in the hands of officials vetted by the Kremlin: they are given the right to use force. The streets of large and not-so-large Caucasian cities are filled with surveillance cameras, law enforcement agencies operate in a heightened mode, and Internet traffic is fully monitored. Therefore, in principle, nothing of what we saw in Makhachkala and other cities in the region can happen in the Caucasus.
Throughout the week, Russian intelligence services and media outlets under their control created and shared anti-Israeli stories throughout Russia, with the Caucasus, of course, being a priority. Russia's chief propagandist, Dmitry Kiselyov, who receives his guidelines directly from the Kremlin, said that Russia is a historically Muslim country, and that anti-Semitism is normal for Muslims. At the same time, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov actively campaigned for the punishment of Israel and all Jews. He called the Israelis fascists and threatened to send Chechen battalions to the Gaza Strip as "peacekeepers".
First, Russian security forces launched an online campaign calling for Jews not to be provided with housing in the Caucasus. A huge number of such ads appeared on apartment search sites, hotel doors, etc. Later, on 27 October, a series of petitions were launched in Kabardino-Balkaria (on various platforms) calling for the prevention of the construction of the Jewish Cultural Centre in Nalchik. This centre was to become the largest Jewish facility in the North Caucasus. Later, during the events in Makhachkala, Dagestan, provocateurs set fire to the building and wrote on its walls: "Death to the Yahudas" (Arabic for Jews, Semitic people).
On 28 October, simultaneous rallies against the Jewish population took place in several cities of the Caucasus. First, a rally was held in Cherkessk, the capital of Karachay-Cherkessia, where half a thousand local residents came out to demand that Jews be deported from the region and that refugees from Israel be prevented from entering. The Russian police barely reacted to it. Then, in Khasavyurt, Dagestan, information was spread through social media that Jews were allegedly living in the Flamingo Hotel. A crowd gathered, which Russian security forces sent to the hotel in a controlled manner and even allowed them to conduct searches. Instead of Jews, they found only Russians.
It is worth noting here that there are not many mountain Jews left in the North Caucasus District. A simple example: in the large city of Makhachkala, with a population of almost 600,000, there are only 700-750 of them. So, it was important not so much to find someone as to organise a showcase anti-Semitic campaign.
It culminated in the events in the capital of Dagestan, Makhachkala, where a frenzied mob entered the airport waiting for a plane from Tel Aviv. Several hundred people stopped cars and buses near the airport, tried to find Jews in them, and attempted to hijack the plane and block the runways. However, it is not only the act of aggression by the Dagestani people that is important, but the way in which Russian security forces directed and provoked this aggression.
Special operation "Makhachkala"
How did this attack on the airport in Makhachkala begin? Information about a plane from Tel Aviv that was about to land in the Dagestani capital was spread on the Internet in advance. A crowd began to approach the airport, with provocateurs inside who knew exactly where and how to lead people. In addition to them, there were people of strong physical build - trained fighters who were capable of starting a fight with Russian security forces if necessary.
The organisers of this event knew exactly when the plane was due to land (which, by the way, arrived earlier than planned). They also knew that it had turned around and was heading for the emergency landing strip. Moreover, they knew exactly where the runway was located and how to sneak in.
What did the Russian security forces do? The police and the Russian Guard stood by and watched the pogrom in silence. They allowed the most brazen provocateurs to check buses and cars to see if there were Jews inside. It is significant that the crowd even checked police cars. At the same time, it took an hour for riot police to arrive at the airport, who also did not want to do anything but merely observe what was happening.
Meanwhile, quite interesting events were taking place: a group of unidentified people broke into the territory of a strategic facility that is the Makhachkala airport. They tried to seize a civilian plane with people on board and commit an act of violence. Along the way, the crowd was destroying everything and blocking ordinary people with sick children in their arms in buses. All of this was filmed by the provocateurs and organisers, who were definitely from the Russian security forces.
The events in Makhachkala are very reminiscent of the pogroms that took place in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, in 1988. Back then, provocateurs from the Soviet KGB incited local residents and directed them to destroy Armenian property. Each place visited by the crowd was mapped ahead by the security forces, and special people with cameras were placed along the way. The events in Sumgait were planned by high-ranking people in high offices in Moscow, and the Kremlin was very well aware of the course of events in the Azerbaijani SSR. It is the same now: anti-Semitic actions in the North Caucasus were plotted and carried out by Russian security forces, and the order came exclusively from Moscow.
Why do we believe that this order was given personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin? Because only he could order regional leaders, including the head of the Republic of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, to act at their own discretion or not to interfere with the "protesters" at all.
It is significant that only a few hours after the pogroms began at the Makhachkala airport, Melikov and other heads of the Caucasus regions unanimously condemned the anti-Semitic actions and accused the West and Ukraine of provoking them.
Why does Putin need Jewish pogroms?
So, the most important question is why did Putin need to carry out anti-Semitic actions in the Caucasus?
First, Russia and its partners (Iran, China and others) are now trying to at least weaken the US position in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal of driving America out of the region altogether. The Kremlin has openly supported Hamas. Moscow has supplied the terrorists with weapons, money, intelligence, and has helped to create a closed network for communication between Hamas, Iran, and Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists. It needs to unite all Muslims in Russia around the anti-Semitic theme, in particular in order to send the most aggressive of them to the Middle East (Syrian scenario).
Second, by inciting such actions, Russia is sending a signal to those countries in the Global South where Muslims live. In fact, the Kremlin is saying: Moscow supports you in your opposition to the Americans. Putin is destroying the contacts and negate the agreements that have been reached between the West and the countries of the Global South over the past six months to a year.
Third, Putin will blackmail the West as the leaders of the USSR did. He has shown the United States and its allies that he is holding the Jews of Russia hostage, and that it is up to him to ensure that they live in relative safety. At the same time, he does not rule out repeated pogroms in the North Caucasus. The Russian president is basically saying: "Get in touch with me".
Fourth, by fuelling anti-Jewish sentiments within Russian society, he directs them against Ukraine. And he will explain that Russia is facing counteraction there, just like Muslims are in the Middle East from Americans and Jews.
Fifth, Russia is playing against Turkey by launching such actions. Recently, at a pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that he would free and support Muslims from Bosnia to Palestine, from Libya to the Caucasus. Putin understands that Turkey is now growing stronger in the Mediterranean and Black seas, as well as in the Caucasus (Azerbaijan - Karabakh) and Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan). Russia has a huge number of regions where various Turkic ethnic groups live. The current pogroms in the Caucasus have occurred, in particular, in those areas where either Turks are in the majority or where they can play the Turkish card.
The situation in Makhachkala is now being actively exploited by Russian security forces and oligarchs close to Putin, who finance Russia's special services. The events in Dagestan took place at a time when Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is in China. The head of the Dagestan Republic, Sergei Melikov, is a colonel general and a person close to the head of the Russian Defence Ministry. Putin's close friends, the Kovalchuk brothers, and those Russian special services that play against Shoigu, have long wanted to remove him. But this is a completely different story.
The Russian authorities are directly responsible for the fact that anti-Semitism has flourished again in Russia. Although, in truth, it never disappeared. Putin has simply once again demonstrated his true face as a fierce anti-Semite. It was he who fuelled anti-Jewish sentiment within Russia and speculated on which Jew was better and who had the purest blood. It was he who speculated on the Jewishness of the Ukrainian leadership. And finally, he brought his country to the anti-Semitic brink. But this had to happen because Russian fascism has historically not tolerated Jews - it was the case under the tsar and during the Soviet era. And this is the case now.
The events in the Caucasus have demonstrated one thing: anti-Semitism in Russia will grow. It will go beyond the North Caucasus Federal District. And Vladimir Putin will also be to blame for this.