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30 Okt 2023

Russia: Telegram channel allegedly incited an anti-Semitic airport rampage in Dagestan

"Dagestian anti-jewish airport rampage was egged on by Telegram channel", 30 October 2023

A mob of protesters that ransacked a Russian airport in search of Jews...was incited by an antisemitic Telegram channel.

Morning Dagestan, a channel with some 65,000 subscribers, alerted its followers to a scheduled arrival from Tel Aviv, Israel over the weekend.

Insider reviewed and translated a number of its posts, and compared them with events at the airport. The respected Institute for the Study of War also identified the channel as driving the mob.

The tone of the messages was religious, interspersing its instructions with common Islamic phrases like allahu akhbar, inshallah and bismillah. The channel interspersed posts about the plane with anti-Israel posts and updates from Israel's war on Hamas.

The crowd at the airport went further than the channel asked, breaking through security cordons and storming through the airport.

At that point the channel made increasingly desperate appeals for a level of restraint — asking them to only harass any Jewish people it found and not to attack them.

The Telegram channel went on to post detailed instructions, asking people to insist that arriving passengers denounce Israel, then to follow them home and record their addresses. It said that anybody who did not denounce Israel should not be allowed to leave the airport.

At least 20 people were injured during the mob at the airport, including nine police officers, according to the state news outlet RIA Novosti, which cited Dagestan's Ministry of Health.

The identity of the Telegram channel administrator is unclear. According to the Financial Times, the channel is affiliated with Ilya Ponomarev, a Kyiv-based Russian-Ukrainian exiled opponent of Putin and former member of the State Duma.

Part of the following timelines

Tech companies criticized for their complicity & bias against Palestinians regarding the Gaza conflict

Russia: Telegram to ban channels inciting anti-Semitic violence following airport rampage