Scott Ritter: Putin ‘Was Quick to Lay Down the Law’ on Russia’s Response to Dagestan Airport Riots

Oct 31, 2023

Members of the Jewish community need to peacefully coexist with Muslims, Christians and people of any religion, Scott Ritter, a military analyst and a former United States Marine Corps intelligence officer, told Sputnik.

At least 83 people have been detained over their involvement in mass riots at an airport in the city of Makhachkala, the capital of the Russian republic of Dagestan, located in the North Caucasus. Late last week, the airport was shut down for inbound and outbound flights after an angry mob stormed the facility and the tarmac after a passenger plane from Tel Aviv landed on October 29.

The developments were spurred on by provocateurs on social media claiming that the plane was packed with “Jewish refugees” seeking to escape the Palestine-Israel conflict and to settle in Dagestan. Police quickly took the situation under control, with a criminal probe into the incident already underway.

“This was very much an anti-Semitic mob, who wished to do harm to the Jewish passengers on the aircraft. And they acted violently when Russian authorities came in to take control,” Ritter said, commenting on the October 29 incident.

He recalled that Western media and “Western government sources” tried to use the incident “to cast Russia in a very negative light” as they alleged that Russia “is a hotbed of anti-Semitism and that this is the same as what took place during tsarist times.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was quick to react to the situation, convening [the country’s] emergency council Security Council where he laid down the law about how Russia will respond to this or holding all of the perpetrators of this violence accountable and making it clear that there’s no room in Russia today for anti-Semitism,” Ritter said.

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The analyst stressed that Russia “has always maintained a neutral stance when it comes to Israel and Palestine,” and that Moscow “hopes to maintain that neutrality.” However, he warned, this “would be marred if violence of this nature continued.”

Ritter then described Russia as a country which has “a significant Muslim population,” adding, “globally the Muslim world is outraged at the behavior of the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza, where they’ve laid siege to a city of over 2 million people and they’ve subjected these people to a bombardment that has killed many thousands of innocent civilians, many of whom are children under the age of 14.”

According to the analyst, even though the Russian government has made it clear that “it’s right to be angry with the Israeli government, this anger cannot manifest itself into anti-Semitism and into blanket condemnation of Jewish people, [as well] the Jewish religion, [and] Jewish faith.”

Ritter suggested that “because of this decisive intervention, it’s very likely that the Russian Federation will cap this violence, that there won’t be a repeat of this.”

“There’s no room in the world today for anti-Semitism. Jewish followers need to peacefully coexist with Muslims, with Christians, with people of any religion. That’s the way it should be. And that’s the message that the Russian president was sending to Russia and the world when he convened this [emergency] meeting [of the Russian Security Council],” the analyst concluded.

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