War against West
Rumors about foreign investors dismantling Mongolia’s economy are nothing new
2 сар, 1 долоо хоног өмнө
THE FIRST WAR AGAINST THE WEST
Rumors about foreign investors dismantling Mongolia’s economy are nothing new. There is even a history of one of our mighty neighbors conducting such an operation before they established total political and economic control over our country. In the beginning of the 20th century, Mongolia proclaimed their newly regained independence and announced that Chinggis Khaan’s steppes woke up from their slumber. The world became interested in Mongolians, who were quietly sleeping under the Manchu or Qin rule for several centuries. In general, that was an interesting period when the world was set in motion and the kindling of two great wars that will change the political map of our planet several times started smoking. Christian priests headed by Frans August Larson, who later received a title of Duke from Bogd Khaan, came to Mongolia. Danish farmers, such as Henning Haslund-Christensen, and others moved to Khuvsgul aimag to start a modern livestock breeding and trade firms. Many other countries began operation in Mongolia; for instance, a foreign-invested company called “Mongolor” mined gold and the famous Roy Andrews’ expedition astonished the world with dinosaur eggs found in the Gobi dessert. Along with state flags of the Great White Tsar of Russia and the Chinese Republic, flags of many countries such as the USA, Sweden and Denmark could be seen around the capital of our country.
Since half of Mongolians were herding livestock and the other half were monks, no one was providing the nation with necessary goods. Nobody forbid Mongolian to engage in such works, but Mongolians themselves were not much interested in businesses. Trade and commerce were regarded as an inferior job, and Mongolians disdainfully regarded that “traders are one step away from becoming a thief” and “a spirited thief is better than a soulless merchant”. The “spirited thieves”, who stole livestock, were respected as noble outlaws and the real men. That is why only foreign traders provided Mongolia with three import goods they needed, namely, tea, tobacco and textiles. The traders also bought wool, fur and hides, which were plentiful, from Mongolia so a mutually beneficial business was flourishing. Out of 103,019 puu (1 puu16.3kg) of camel wool, 783,00 puu of cashmere, 979,512 puu of sheep wool transported from Mongolia to Tianjin in 1912 and 122,123 puu of camel wool, 43,231 puu of cashmere, 1,036,629 puu of sheep wool imported in 1913, the majority of camel wool was shipped to England and all of sheep wool went to the USA. Russia bought both wool and cashmere, as well as livestock. For instance, a total of 98,000 cattle were exported to Russian Empire in 1913, 67,700 in 1914 and 80,000 in 1915. “Non- Russian” phrases, such as Machinery Manual and “miles per hour”, shows that a part of Mongolian language remained as witnesses to the fact that technology was first introduced to these steppes from a different place.
Century-old doctrine of condemning foreign investors for potential exploitation is reviving
As such, Mongolia forged relations with the rest of the world, becoming a part of the changing world. In present terms, it was, to a certain degree, a globalization and with each passing days, Mongolia was shaping into a typical independent state with diplomacy of that time. However, the Soviets, who set up their total control upon the Mongolian government by mid-twenties, started a war against foreign capitals in Mongolia. That was the beginning of the first war against foreign investment. Let us see from the history how Soviets wrote about it in their “made up” story for Mongolians. In the history of revolution, it is mentioned that ”…in addition to the oppression over Mongolians, Western Europe and American capitalists conspired with greedy China to rob the country”. Is it not a familiar slogan? It reminds me of slogans against present Oyu Tolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi and Boroo Gold. Both state and civil movements against foreign investors have spread out.
At first, they forbid
investors from hanging up their national
flags, then froze their bank
accounts and lastly, expelled the
owners from the country. The last
foreign investor left the country in
1928. Just like the phrase “there
is no other God than Allah”, only
the Soviet economy dominated
Mongolia after that. A day later,
private properties of Mongolians
themselves were confiscated and
nationalized under the excuse
of “confiscating assets of feudal
lords”. If Larson’s property had
been confiscated, it might have
led to a dispute between Russia
and Sweden or Russia and America,
which would have delay the
exertion of robbing resources
off of Mongolia. If the herds of
Danish farmers had been given to
collective farms, it might have led
to a quarrel between Russia and
Scandinavian countries and would
ultimately make it difficult to take
livestock from Mongolia. However,
such problems were avoided by
conducting a campaign on “chasing
away foreign investors” by the
hands of Mongolians. That was the
beginning of a Red terror against
the Mongolian economy and the
Mongolian people. As a result,
Mongolia lost all of their private
properties, a strict limitation was
imposed on small amount of properties
one could own and one in
every five adult males was killed.
THE SECOND WAR AGAINST THE WEST
A decade before the end of the
20th century, the socialist system
collapsed on its own. Mongolia
had an opportunity to regain their
economic and political independence.
In my personal view, main
achievements of democracy in our
country were that, first, the Government
of Mongolia no longer
had to ask another country to make
a decision and, secondly, Mongolia’s
economy was free from the
control of a single country.
In almost three decades into
democracy, many foreign investors
came to our country, which
is making an effort to become a
part of the globalized world and
striving to reach the standards of
modern independent state. Besides,
numerous mineral deposits
with rich resources were discovered
throughout the country. Mongolians’ tradition of inviting
skilled people to do the job that
we are unable trails back to the
ancient times. Households without
a man to slaughter a sheep, used to
ask their neighbors to do the job
and cooked them a breast-bone
or gave them the sheep’s leg as
a reward afterwards. Aside from
collecting dung and ruthlessly cutting
wood, Mongolia had limited
experience in energy production
sphere; thus, the mining industry
was established on the back of
the Soviet investment in the 20th
• Soviets avoided potential disputes with Western countries through a campaign on "chasing away foreign investors" by the hands of Mongolians.
• Aside from collecting dung and ruthlessly cutting wood, Mongolia had limited experience in energy production sphere; thus, the mining industry was established on the back of the Soviet investment in the 20th century.
• The fact that the “hatred
towards foreign capitals”
excluded our two powerful
neighbors seems suspicious.
However, in modern mining, it is inevitable that we cooperate with modern companies and give them the “breast-bone or leg”. Unfortunately, in recent years, the century-old doctrine of condemning foreign investors for potential exploitations is reviving and spreading further. There were rumors about books that detailed the methods of exploiting Mongolia’s economy. Some even cited from the book. Well, there are lots of different books. If these people read the Koran, they would probably say “it is written in the book that there are no other Gods than Allah” and destroy the Gandan temple and break the Megzedjanraiseg statue. An open window lets in fresh air, as well as flies. Since no one would want to suffocate in order to keep off flies, one would open the window and be ready with a fly-swatter. Since anybody can walk in through the open door of Mongolia, one needs to be vigilant and that is what the state is working for. Is the fact that the main objective of the war against foreign investors in Mongolia is directed at Western countries, specifically American and Canadian investors, a sign of history repeating itself? It feels like the fact that the “hatred towards foreign capitals” excluded our two powerful neighbors seems to be proving this point.
am not saying it is wrong, I am just
saying that this exclusion seems
Chinese companies account for
the majority of foreign investments
with Government approval set by a
certain law on foreign investment.
But how many companies with
Chinese investment can you name?
While there are a lot of general
rhetorics about Chinese invasion
and a danger of assimilation, do
you know of any civil movement
against 100 percent Chinese-invested
companies or joint ventures?
Do you at least know the names
of Chinese companies that are using
strategic deposits of iron ore,
zinc or oil in our country?
Have you ever heard about one
person, let alone a movement, who
protested against a Russian company
called the Altan Dornod Mongolia,
which dug out all the gold
from the Zaamar mountain and
then demanded USD 500 million
from the state?
Have you considered the reason
why people are protecting
Mongolia’s economy from Western
investors and not holding a
grudge against Chinese or Russian
Do you know the history of foreign
investors in Mongolia getting
expelled from the country as “exploiters”,
so that only one foreign
country could possess our country?
Like it or not, but such questions
are raised every time I think about
topics such as “economic hit man”
or “foreign exploitation” that are
replacing the search for the assassin
of Zorig Sanjaasuren.