In the USSR, Mongolia was not called the "sixteenth republic" without a good reason. Times have changed, and today in this country, almost no Russian schools have remained and Russian language is losing its position.
While Russia is not interested, world powers are competing for influence in Mongolia. Mikhail Shishin, Professor of Altai State Technical University and the head of the fund "Altai 21", have visited Mongolia every year for the last decade. His observations are sad: a little by little, Russia will lose Mongolia forever.
Recent years, life in Mongolia is changing for the better. The government is doing everything to make positive changes in all areas including western part of Mongolia, which shares the border with us. They are building homes, commissioning airports, new school.
Mongolia is a country of children. The population boom has led to overcrowded schools, some have three or four shifts. The families of three or four or more children is norm. The country has preserved the traditional way of life, a basic income for people - cattle.Most people live in yurts, in small towns.
Current trend is young people are moving to city or even abroad. By the way, our research discovered interesting results on priorities and value orientations of youth in Mongolia. They prefer America, Japan, South Korea and China - and Russia was ranked in the fifth place. So, soon we will be forced to deal with pro-American Mongols!
Foreigners in Mongolia
- There are many foreigners. First, tourism is actively developing. Mongolia, with its untouched nature – is a unique country. Rock paintings situated hundreds of kilometers are well preserved and folk culture is thriving. This year, at the folk festival Naadam, I saw the Swedes, Czechs, Germans – virtually everyone from all over the world.
Secondly, Mongolia is interesting in terms of its rich mineral resources.Leading powers except Russia are mining in Mongolia. By the way, most of the geological exploration in Mongolia was done by Soviet specialists! Now it is used by all. They say, that investors do not always behave well with respect to the Mongolian land and sometimes leave behind a devastated desert.
Third, Mongolia - the landlocked area, away from all the oceans is very interesting place from the point of view of geopolitics. Sometimes, the American colleagues said that Mongolia, in addition to sharing borders with Russia and China, also shares border with a third country. A country dominant in the world today.
Many of the actions of foreign countries, of course, are for benefit of Mongolia, but it is still aimed at promoting foreign interests in Mongolia. For example, Japan provided a grant to repair of one of the hotels in Mongolia. In addition, the Japanese government gives the Mongols solar panels. As a result, you can watch the marvelous scene: standing yurt, and next to it - a satellite dish and solar panel. Small little things have been put on top of the antenna to dry! This is a mixture of styles.
Switzerland donated a huge amount of books and computers to Mongolia - they brought these in several KamAZ trucks. In Bayan-Olgii province, there isTurkish College, its students subsequently continue their studies in Turkish universities. US researchers work in Hovd province among shepherds - allegedly, to study the culture and life of the people. An interesting example was this year's Naadam festival. Top archery prize in archery among women was received by a German national who lives in Mongolia for several years.
Let’s see "our" presence. Imagine how uncomfortable it is when you come to Mongolia with humanitarian projects, and there is ... there is no light, because the country owes the Russian company that supplies electricity. Mongolia is building hydroelectric power station in order to be independent from Russian energy supply.
Russia is not there
- If you ask anyone who is not in Mongolia, it is only Russia. Several of our (Russian) businesses are there, but their efforts are so small compared to other countries! .. I know, for example, our business is trying to open a cannery in Mongolia.
There is a big problem with Russian language in modern Mongolia. Previously, it had the status of a second language of Mongolia, and taught even in elementary school. Until now, the older generation, though bad, spoke Russian. Today, our language is taught to only high school students, and along with English. In Hovd there is only one school with intensive study of the Russian language, although there is interest of local people.Governor of Hovd aimag said that the Mongols want to speak the same language with our businessmen, tourists.
Young people have a desire to study in our universities. However, tuition fees in Russia is exorbitant and it makes people just throw up their hands in helplessness.
At the same time, many countries offer discounts for Mongolian students, realizing that the country is not rich. The Japanese government offers many scholarships, because it sees benefit in a large number of experts with knowledge of the Japanese language. I believe our government should be interested in helping Mongolian boys to learn: the more people in the country speak in Russian, the more allies we have!
How the Mongols view Russia?
Michael Shishin shares his observations on this subject:
In Mongolia, people retained a keen interest in Russian culture and the Russian people. I never met someone with aggressive, and even indifferent attitude. I was always greeted warmly, invited into the tent, happy to talk. For the Mongols, as well as for Russian decency, good personal relations between people, family are very essential. And then - hospitality. Once we arrived late at night in a Mongolian village, we lived in a Ger in one of the families. Our hosts were doctors and good open-minded people, that immediately said that we have to welcome you and cook dinner. And no matter how we refused, citing the late hour, they stood firm saying “ we have to be good to you, our neighbors, good Russian friends ..!
There are real "stars" of Russian-Mongolian relations and I was able to meet Luvsannon, one of them. At the beginning of the war, he and his friends, brought giant camel caravan from western Mongolia to Russia to help the Red Army. People gathered all they have to contribute for help to our country. Luvsan said the people piled their clothes on the ground as they walked through slippery passes, so the camels could pass. And they were very happy, when they finally arrived. Now this Luvsan is making a garden dedicated to Genghis Khan in desert.
And there are many people like Luvsan in Mongolia.
What to do in order keep Mongolia
Mikhail Shishin proposes:
· To develop a tourist route "Altai - Golden Mountains". This requires interest from travel agencies and facilitate the border crossing (now the border crossing in Tashanta takes less than four hours and is followed by a crazy check process).
· Care about Russian language in Mongolia, sponsor schools.
· Create a single information space - a single newspaper or column in newspapers, TV programs, radio, which to broadcast to all border areas. This will help to get to know each other and build relationships.
About the author
Shishin Mikhail. Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Deputy Director of the Institute of Architecture and Design and Art critic, member of the Russian Union of Artists since 1990, expert of the International Coordination Council "Our Common Home Altai", head of the regional fund "Altai 21". Doctor of Philosophy (1997), Doctor of Philosophy (2003).Published articles in China, Mongolia, the United States and Turkey.