Russia and Mongolia: Once and Forever

by G.Chingis 

The Prime Minister of Mongolia will be in Moscow on the 13th-16th of December to see his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
 This trip has become a tradition for Mongolian Prime Ministers since 2007, when Mr. S. Bayar became the new Prime Minister and Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP). Before his tenure, Prime Ministers were not so close with Russia, except for Mr. N. Enkhbayar, who hosted the first visit of a Russian President since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Now, Mr. S. Batbold will need to continue what his two rivals, Mr. S. Bayar and Mr. N. Enkhbayar started. Mr. S. Bayar was the Mongolian Ambassador to the Russian Federation when Mr. Vladimir Putin was President. In some circumstances, there was some small chance that the pair S. Bayar-N. Enkhbayar could be such as Vladmir Putin- Dmitrii Medvedev. Nevertheless, Mongolians used to repeat all political scenarios which happened in Soviet Union. But the pair of S. Bayar- N. Enkhbayar was disastrous. According to Mongolian newspapers, the Russians interfered several times to fix this pair of S. Bayar- N. Enkhbayar.
Anyway, Mr. S. Bayar was a champion among Mongolian Prime Ministers in terms of his number of visits to Russia.  He had ambitious plans to fix everything with his experience and knowledge of Russia. Unfortunately, the world economic crisis seriously hit Russia and Russian oligarchs, especially Mr. Oleg Deripaska. He visited Mongolia at least one time, and Mr. Oleg Deripaska always met privately Mr. S. Bayar. Mr. Oleg Deripaska lost heavily when aluminum prices fell suddenly.  He sold his mining properties in Mongolia and he left only his bank “Credit” Bank here. Another plan of Mr. S. Bayar was with uranium and the building of a nuclear plant in Mongolia. He had very ambitious plans to build a nuclear plant by 2012.
During his visit, Mr. S. Batbold will continue to discuss the uranium project. Mongolia wants to create a joint venture with the Russian State owned company “Rosatom”. For that reason, the former Prime Minister, Mr. S. Bayar created the Mongolian Nuclear Energy Agency and the Mongolian State owned company “MonAtom”. Everything at the beginning was great and very simple. Mongolia has uranium, and with the support of Russian friends, there would be a rapid building of the first Mongolian nuclear power plant. But uranium is still under the surface, and it is most important that uranium does not belong solely to Mongolians. You cannot do anything without an agreement with a third shareholder, which is the Canadian company “Khan Resources”. Of course, there was a very tiny hope that the two shareholders, the Russians and Canadians, will fix this quickly, and Mongolians will not need to put any efforts into this.
Nowadays, Canadians are quite active in Mongolia. They did a lot of good things, especially in terms of investment, employment generation and infrastructure building. Unfortunately, the Canadians are weak with handling the Mongolian central and local Governments. Even the recent visit of Prime Minister Mr. S. Batbold did not fix the problems with such companies as Boroo Gold, Ivanhoe Mines etc.
Therefore, for Prime Minister S. Batbold there will be the huge task of revitalizing Mongolian-Russian relations. According to his agenda, there will be a fresh start in terms of relations. He will face for the first time Mr. Vladimir Putin as Mongolian Prime Minister.  From one side, it will easy for him to communicate with the Russian Prime Minister. Mr. S. Batbold is an alumni of Moscow State Institute of International Relations, which was a starting place for many high ranking KGB officials, such as Vladimir Putin. On the other hand, it will be very difficult since his two predecessors, Mr. S. Bayar and Mr. N. Enkhbayar failed with the Russians. Before signing the Oyu Tolgoi agreement, there were many publications in the Russian press that Oyu Tolgoi will be given to Russian companies. There was even some information that Mr. Oleg Deripaska met with Mr. Robert Friedland to fix such a deal. There was also the same information floating about that Tavan Tolgoi will be given to the Russians as well. Therefore, the Chairman of “Russian Railways” Mr. Vladimir Yakunin reported two years ago to Russian President Mr. Dmitrii Medvedev that the Russians took over Tavan Tolgoi.
According to his agenda, Mr. S. Batbold will also meet with Mr. Boris Grizlov, Chairman of “The United Russia” Party. Therefore, there will be a meeting between the two party leaders, “United Russia” and the newly named Mongolian People’s Party (MPP). He will meet Mr. Sergei Mironov, who is the current Chairman of the Federation council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament. He served in Mongolia as geologist in Soviet times. Therefore, Mr. Sergei Mironov likes Mongolia, and he tries to visit Mongolia for any possible occasion.
Of course, Mr. S. Batbold will also meet Mr. Igor Levitin, who is in charge of Mongolian-Russian intergovernmental relationships.
There is no doubt that it will be a very important visit for Mr. S. Batbold, since Russians are easy partners, especially Russian Prime Minister, Mr. Vladimir Putin. There is not so much space for maneuvering for Mr. S. Batbold, because Oyu Tolgoi is gone, Tavan Tolgoi is almost gone and it is a very complicated situation with Mongolian uranium. The MPP needs support in the incoming parliamentary elections from “United Russia” and Mr. S. Batbold needs some kind support or let’s say some small victories with the Russians before the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2012. There is a big chance that it will be the last election for Mr. S. Batbold and his party. Therefore, Russia is very important for Mongolia and Mongolian politics.

Source:UB Post, English Weekly of Mongol News Company

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting article and I am not educated enough in these matters to fully understand. Look at the demographics and the trends here. Where will Mongolian products be sold to the end user? What are the requirements for India, China and other countries to the South. Where will the factories and the workers be located?
    It looks like Russians are going to disappear or be attached to the European edge of Asia.


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