Mongolia marks 25 years of democracy in Russian, Chinese shadows

Ulan Bator: Mongolia on Wednesday marked 25 years since its first democratic election, a key milestone in the transformation of the as soon as Communist nation squeezed between big neighbours Russia andChina
President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, who as a scholar led protests that helped spark the changeover from seven many years of Soviet domination, informed a commemoration that his nation was now “an livelydemocracy distinctive to the area”. 

“Mongolia has undergone exceptional change over the previous quarter century”, he stated.
Since the transition in 1990, half of a broader democratic wave that swept the previous Eastern bloc and ultimately the Soviet Union that had dominated it, Mongolia has grow to be a market financial system.
Its individuals have voted peacefully in a complete of 13 parliamentary and presidential elections.
But the useful resource-wealthy nation — replete with gold, copper, coal and different minerals — has been buffeted by the booms and busts widespread amongst nations reliant on international demand.
Mongolia skilled unprecedented annual financial progress of an eye fixed-popping 17.5 % in 2011, largely consequently of overseas funding and mineral exports. 
But rising useful resource nationalism and political infighting over the right position of overseas funding in extraction has dented progress, in addition to the worldwide assets bust. 
The Asian Development Bank is forecasting progress of 3.0 % this yr and 5.0 % in 2016, in accordance with figures on its web site.
“Politicians have to be accountable to the individuals,” stated Erdene Bat-Uul, who performed a number one position in difficult the prevailing regime in 1990 as the primary chairman of the newly shaped Mongolian Democratic Party, and is now mayor of Ulan Bator.
“All their actions must be open to the general public,” he advised AFP. “The problem is find out how to make politicians extra accountable to the individuals.”
To the north, Russia is led by Vladimir Putin, who’s in a standoff with the West over Ukraine, whereas to the south China stays dominated by the Communist party.
With simply three million residents, Mongolia worries about overreliance on demand from its big southern neighbour, its prime market and in addition a serious investor in useful resource improvement. 
But Bat-Uul informed AFP he noticed neither Beijing nor Moscow as threats, including: “If Mongolia stays democratic, it`s good for Russia, China and the area.”
Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg, who took workplace final yr and has been pushing insurancepolicies pleasant to overseas buyers, appeared to a wealthier future. 
“For the subsequent 25 years, Mongolian individuals hope to step up from the slogan `We have been born in Mongolia` to `Made in Mongolia`,” he stated.

Aspire Mining aids the donation of medical equipment to Mongolia

In association with the Rotary Club of Osborne Park and the Mongolian Red Cross Society, Aspire Mining Ltd has agreed to fund the cost of shipping medical equipment supplies from local Western Australian hospitals, which no longer require the equipment due to upgrades, to a number of Mongolian hopitals and clinics.
The Red Cross will assist with delivering the equipment and it will be donated to an Ulaanbaatar based gynaecological clinic, the Tsetserleg Hospital and Mogoin Gol Health Clinic – both hospitals being located nearby Aspire’s coal and rail projects in the Khuvsgul province.
The medical equipment includes x-ray machines, dialysis machines, ultra sound machines, infant incubators, defibrillators, hospital beds, wheelchairs and more.
Aspire’s Managing Director, David Paull, commented: “This recent collaboration with Rotary and the Mongolian Red Cross fits neatly into Aspire’s community initiatives to improve health and wellbeing in our local communities and follows previous investments, including assisting in the completion of construction of the Tsetserleg Hospital in 2012”.
Paull concluded: “We are again pleased to be involved and being able to facilitate the donation of this medical equipment to Tsetserleg Hospital and other Mongolian healthcare providers where we know it will be put to good use.”

Southern Mongolia: Activists Urge International Olympic Committee to Reject Beijing’s Bid to Host 2022 Winter Olympics

On 22 July 2015, activists from several ethnic minority groups in China sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging Beijing’s candidature to host the 2022 Winter Olympics to be vehemently rejected. The open letter, sent by a group of Uyghur, Southern Mongolian and Tibetan activists, reminded the IOC that the Beijing Games in 2008 did nothing to relieve human rights abuses in the country. They claim that awarding China with the opportunity to host another international large-scale event would mean to tacitly approve the ongoing violation of rights and freedom in the country.  The 2022 Winter Olympics host will be announced next Friday, 31 July, in Kuala Lumpur.
Below is an article published by IBTimes
As the deadline to select the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics nears, a group of Chinese, Uyghur, Mongolian and Tibetan activists have penned a letter urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject Beijing’s bid. The IOC will be selecting between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, and announce the host city next Friday, July 31, in Kuala Lumpur.
“As Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians and Han Chinese, we join together to urge you, members of the International Olympic Committee, not to award another Olympic Games to China,” the open lettersigned by president of the World Uyghur Congress, director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, president of Initiatives for China and a former Tibetan political prisoner and published Thursday, said.” All the people we represent have suffered as a result of the Chinese government’s contempt for human rights.”
Beijing was lauded by many in the international community for its success in running the Olympic Games in 2008, which temporarily overcame hurdles of air pollution and traffic. Though the athletic events went smoothly, human rights advocates say that awarding Beijing with another Olympic Games would implicitly endorse current human rights abuses.
“We hope that you are aware by now that the 2008 Beijing Games did nothing to alleviate human rights abuses in China or enhance freedom. In fact, the situation now in 2015 is far worse than when those Games were awarded in 2001,” the letter said.
The letter highlighted the recent crackdown and detention of over 200 human rights lawyers earlier this month, of which a dozen are still detained or missing as well as the ban on practicing Ramadan in the Uyghur-Muslim dominant far west province of Xinjiang in a list of recent grievances with the Chinese government.
“Our collective message to all International Olympic Committee members is that for hundreds of millions of people inside China’s borders, the Games returning to Beijing will be a green light for the government’s ongoing abuse of their rights and denial of their hopes for freedom,” it read.
Photo courtesy of Reuters


Ulaanbaatar post #3: A tribute to Mongolian “greasy-spoon” eateries

fried mutton bansh (банш) with three side salads, and a soup just off camera… nice lunch
Chances are, traditional Mongolian foods are totally unlike what you imagine them to be. Taiwanese, Chinese, and American Mongolian Barbecue and Mongolian hot pot chain restaurants have done plenty to influence the global popular imagination of what Mongolian food is all about. Let me tell you, the reality of Mongolian food culture is quite different that what you can find at your local hibachi buffet.
Visitors to Mongolia actually often have trouble with traditional Mongolian cuisine upon arrival. Meat, when it is used (which is always), is fattier and more gamey than what many in the States and Western Europe are used to. And the other half of the Mongolian food pyramid, dairy, consists of cheeses, milks, and even occasional alcoholic fermented milks that are generally a bit more gamey and sour than many can appreciate.
A cheese counter (including bags of sweet and sour dried cheeses) at Mercury Market in Ulaanbaatar
This often leads to flat-out disdain toward Mongolian foods.
That said, Mongols take great pride in their foods, and honestly, once you get over “a bit gamey” and “a tad sour”, traditional foods in Mongolia can be very tasty, and dare I say it, even outstanding. But, like greasy diner-type restaurants (i.e. “dives”) elsewhere in the world, you might very well get an off night with something truly bad. Fortunately, more and more, dinner option meals (at least in Ulaanbaatar) are getting more regularly flavorful and satisfying.
New Mongol chain operations have been forming empires in Mongolia since private enterprise was a possibility. If you visit Ulaanbaatar nowadays, you will see [Modern]Nomads and their subsidiary Grab & Go all around the city, offering elevated forms of traditional Mongolian dishes, as well a quick fixes when you are on-the-go (the Nomads’ symbol is an artist’s rendition of the cap of a traditional Mongolian dwelling, the ger). There is also the 24-hour Khaan buuz  chain, that can satisfy your dumpling fix. Other chains are also rising to fill particular niche markets, including traditional greasy foods with beer, like the Zochin Mongol group (where I took my “fried noodle” pic below, as well as many other new chains.
Very generally speaking, Mongolian food is very heavy on the meat-and-starch. Meals tend to be boiled, steamed, and more occasionally fried and roasted. Vegetables are used, but mostly as ornaments. Aside from salt and onion, spices and other aromatics are notcommonly used. These observations lead to typical criticisms of Mongolian food by visitors. Strangely though, those flavors are quite similar to many diets around the world, including where I grew up, in rural Wisconsin. For example, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage were the primary “vegetables” alongside main courses of non-spiced steak, roasts, or stews. How can we criticize? I am reminded that in our country, regulatory agencies even count ketchup as a vegetable, in order to keep meat and starch as nutritionally “balanced” meals for schoolchildren in many parts of the US. Mongolia has some similar issues with that.
Nowadays in Mongolia there are actually public health campaigns encouraging people to eat green vegetables. Unlike Wisconsin, Mongolia’s landscape is quite inhospitable to most vegetables. But greens are grown successfully in a network of greenhouses, and literallytons of vegetables are imported from China and elsewhere on a daily basis. While most Mongols seem to appreciate meat-and-starch over other foods, every time I go to Mongolia I am pleasantly surprised at the new food trends. The bar keeps getting kicked ever higher, with surprising imports from around the world and with supercharged entrepreneurial domestic produce in that landlocked country. More and more, cabbage and lettuce varieties are included in meals, spinach and Chinese long leaf veggies are also becoming staples. Kimchi is practically a staple (as is hinted at my post on Korean UB), and you can even get fresh herbs at many of the major markets: basil, cilantro, and mint.
Back to classic Mongolian diner food… Below are some images of typical Mongolian “greasy spoon” restaurants (i.e. places that might be likened to American “dives” and “diners”). These are places that sling out greasy home-style meat-and-starch meals, the likes of which mom, or possibly grandma, used to make.
“steamed dumpling gwanz”
I have to say… I really enjoy these places, largely the same way I enjoy down-home American diners. It’s just regular people (with the occasional inclusion of those from higher and lower echelons of society), getting a quick fix on some basic comfort foods. Think mac ‘n cheese, but without the processed foods and without the preservatives.
These kinds of restaurants are known by different names in Mongolian, with varying degrees of formality. The most basic of dives are calledгуанз/”gwanz” or a цайны газар “tsaynee gazar”[tea house]. A slightly more formal setting (serving similar dishes) might be called a “dinner house” or “banquet house” зоогийн газар “zoogeen gazar”. Restaurants may also be themed “dumplings” or “fried meat pies” as specialties (like the pic to the left).

“deep fried meat pies, noodles, and steamed dumplings”
“Arvijix” Tea House.
Modon Tea House.
“7 [pig] Tea House”
“Mongol Buuz” (and Huushuur)
“Happy” Tea House: buuz, huushuur, buuz, huushuur, buuz.
Menu items between restaurants (if they have a menu at all) are pretty similar. Here are some of the common finds:
Бууз “buuz” (pronounced “bōz”)- these are steamed meat-filled dumplings. Similar foods can be found from Japan all the way to Turkey and the Mediterranean. Buuz skins are usually a little thicker than what you might find as wrapped dumplings at Chinese dim sum places, for example. This is an important dish to Mongols, and it is largely used as a celebratory food. They tend not to eat them with sauces or dips. The filling meat is usually mutton, onion, salt and pepper.
Цуйван “Tsuivan” (pronounced “tswee-wen”). Fried noodles with whatever is handy. Often the noodles are first steamed and then fried, and common complements are onion, carrot, potato, cabbage. As usual, fatty mutton is used. This one has cucumber and red pepper too:
Банш “bansh”. These are smaller dumplings, similar to jiaozi or gyoza. Sometimes these are put into soup, sometimes steamed, and sometimes deep fried (like the following example–another view of the dish from the top):
Шөл “Shol”. Soup. This can vary widely, but it is always a meat broth, with occassional additions of noodles, carrot, potato, cabbage.
I am missing a key photo of the other very typical go-to food, хуушуур “huushuur”. These are much larger, flat meat pies, that are deep fried. See here for an image of huushuur onBuffaloEats. Christian Wild also has some nice images on his travel blog.
Note: if you ever travel to Inner Mongolia, and you are looking for these kinds of restaurants, look for “Milk tea house” 奶茶店. Otherwise you might assume the only Mongol restaurants are the big tourist ones.


Street View Challenge As Google Maps Mongolia

Google's Street View team uses horse-drawn sleds, barges and local trekkers to take its cameras across unforgiving landscapes.
07:25, UK,Thursday 23 July 2015
Google has already captured millions of miles of roads with its Street View cameras, but its latest project has proven to be one of the most challenging yet.
The Silicon Valley giant has mapped out Mongolia with its 360-degree cameras, but the task was far from simple.
Vast sections of the trip were off-road, with the camera-equipped pick-up truck trundling over vast steppes and frozen lakes.
But there were some areas which were too tough even for Google's all-terrain vehicle.
Deep in Mongolia's wild expanses, a Mongolian trekker called Ariuntuul strapped the 18kg Street View camera kit onto her back.
And at Khuvsgul Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in Asia, the team trekked across its frozen surface on a horse-drawn sled, providing breathtaking views of Mongolia's unforgiving landscape.
The truck had to cross a ramshackle makeshift bridge over a tributary of the Yeruu River as it continued its 3,100-mile journey.
Other rivers didn't even have bridges, and Google's team had to drive on to rickety barges to reach the other side.
There were some spots where breaking down would have been potentially catastrophic - including on parts of the remote Gobi Desert.
After mapping swathes of the Western world with its Street View cameras since 2007, Google is becoming more adventurous with where it sends its 360-degree cameras.
It has now mapped out remote islands, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Amazon jungle.

Cuba and Mongolia Reaffirm Bonds of Friendship

Cuba and Mongolia Reaffirm Bonds of FriendshipHAVANA, Cuba, Jul 20 (acn) Lundeg Purevsuren, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, reaffirmed on Monday in this capital the willingness of his country to strengthen ties of friendship with the fraternal nation of Cuba.

After being received by Acting Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina, the Mongolian Foreign Minister thanked the island for being the bridge between his country and Latin America.
Cuba was the first country in the region to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia, and this allowed our relations with Latin America, he underlined.
In turn, he expressed his joy at being in Cuba in the context of the 55th anniversary of uninterrupted ties between both nations.
He said the last visit of a Mongolian FM to the Caribbean island was 20 years ago, however, he reiterated a saying of the Asian country: "Old friends are the best."
Likewise, Acting Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina said that this official visit is an example of the progress and strengthening of bilateral bonds.
Relations are good and there is potential to continue developing them, and in the area of cooperation they could be expanded significantly, a reflection of the strength and constancy our friendly ties have in time, he commented.
He also thanked the support of Mongolia for the resolution presented by Cuba at the UN General Assembly, which demands the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade unfairly imposed on Cuba by the United States.

Source:Cuban News agency

US Government Invites Rand Group to Assist Mongolia Delegation

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - July 21, 2015) - Rand Group met with Ministry of Mining officials from Mongolia Friday to discuss the application of modern business technologies as part of a five-day workshop put on for the resource-rich country by the US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP).
Rand Group executives outlined how the integration of technology into its business practices would have a measureable impact on the financial and economic success of the country’s growing oil and gas industry, particularly as it relates to its land-based crude oil fields.
“We are very honored to have met with the Mongolian officials, and that the CLDP -- through the Houston U.S. Export Assistance Center -- thought to include us as part of this important delegation,” said Ron Rand, President and CEO of Rand Group. “This was a unique opportunity for us to share our knowledge and expertise with officials from one of the world’s emerging economies.”
Joining the Mongolian delegation was Ariunchimeg Bandi, financial management specialist from the World Bank’s Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project.
The delegation spent two days in Denver, Colorado gaining insights into valuation of oil and gas, financial management, and other fiscal and government regulatory matters before arriving in Houston and meeting with Rand Group executives at the company’s Bellaire office.
According to the World Bank, Mongolia had a GDP of $12-billion in 2014 and experienced 7.8% growth that same year, with poverty rates continually declining thanks in part to the exploration of its mineral resources. The country has the largest reserve of copper in the world, and extensive oil and gas fields.
About Rand Group
Rand Group ( helps clients use technology for business success. Established in 2003, Rand Group is a specialist in Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM, and has since become one of the largest companies of its kind in the South Central United States. This year, Microsoft named Rand Group as a member of the 2015 Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle -- reserved for the top one percent of Microsoft Dynamics partners around the globe. Headquartered in Houston, Rand Group has four offices -- two in Houston, one in Dallas, and one in Vancouver.

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Russian Attitudes And Policies Behind Rise In Mongolia’s Influence In Buryatia – OpEd

The influence of Mongolia on Buryatia has increased dramatically, according to a Moscow historian who visited Ulan-Ude after a gap of just over seven years, a development due at least in part to the overbearing attitude of Russian officials and the bad feelings that has generated among the Buryats.
In a Facebook post picked up by Buryat and Mongol outlets, Aleksandr Morozov says he is struck by how rapidly the Buryat capital has developed: “Those who say that in Putin’s Russia nothing is changing or is changing only in Moscow have never travelled beyond the ring road” ( and
But in addition to these positive changes, there are other more negative ones: “public dissatisfaction is evident” given that “Moscow seeks to run everything, and this is not well received.” Moscow suggestions are seen “as orders” that “must be fulfilled and over-fulfilled at any price. The problems of federalism are superimposed on complicated inter-ethnic relations.”
“The Buryats,” Morozov says, “are dissatisfied by the fact that important positions are occupied by non-Buryats … and up to the present are upset by the unification of Buryat districts in the 2000s to Chita and Irkutsk oblasts. As a counterbalance to the loss of political influence are being taken persistent efforts to develop Buryat culture and language.”
Buryats are also unhappy about the influx of people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, he says, and they are very attentive to Buryatia’s neighbors. “Everyone fears” China, “but Russian bureaucrats look at it already as certain that Russia sooner or later will lose these places.”
“For Buryats,” the Moscow historian says, “the example of Mongolia is important.” Until recently, that country was much poorer, but now “everything is changing before their eyes. Mongolia is developing rapidly, something that generates delight and envy” among the culturally close Buryats.
After the introduction of a visa-free regime and the collapse of the ruble, he continues, Buryatia was flooded with cheap goods from Mongolia, and Mongols came for vacations on Lake Baikal.
“If Mongolia in the future will develop as it is now, its influence on Buryatia will grow,” Morozov suggests. “The example of a successful, ethnically close, independent state inevitably will be conceived by part of the Buryat elite as an inspiring example for emulation.”
According to the Russian historian, young Buryats also look to South Korea, the result of Seoul’s promotion of itself. Today, young Buryats seek to enroll in universities in Seoul or in Beijing; their desire to study in central Russia “has weakened,” thanks, Morozov says to “Russia’s little Nazis, may they be cursed.”            
Taken together, he says, these shifts are “not the most favorable for Russian statehood. Problems are building up which are not being resolved, only put off.” The large number of people who commented on his post echoed his words on every point.
But with respect to the Buryats, Moscow does not now seem to be able to put a foot right. Today’s “Novaya Buryatia” reports that Buryats are upset that a copy of the Ivolgin datsan that was erected in Sochi as part of the “My Russia” exhibit is now being used as a bar and restaurant (
They say that Russian laws about offending the feelings of believers must be enforced in this case which affects them just as Moscow has done in the case of supposed denigration of Russian Orthodox feelings. The Buryats have had some success in this regard: In 2003, their complaints led the owners of Moscow’s Buddha Bar to rename it the Karma Bar.

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