By Marissa J. Smith
It is now over two weeks since the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This post is a summary of events concerning events relating Mongolia and the invasion so far. It includes coverage of:
- Mongolian government responses, which have not contested Russian actions. I also include responses by the Democratic Party and prominent party members, that have been condemning the invasion, but it must be remembered that these currently have vanishingly little power in the current Mongolian government.
- Mongolian media coverage, which has mostly amplified Mongolian government positions.
- Mongolian social media, which has recorded at least one protest that was interrupted by police and ultranationalist groups. Global hashtags have been picked up, but those explicitly supporting Ukraine have been mostly overtaken by the much less explicit “no war,” though the latter is a slogan that the Russian government has aggressively opposed (with reports in the last few days of people in Russia even being arrested for demonstrating with blank signs). In the last few days, signs of Russians fleeing into Mongolia have emerged.
This post does not examine Mongolia’s position betwixt and between Russia and Ukraine, which definitely merits its own post. (Teaser — President Zelenskyy spent part of his childhood in Erdenet.)
And please also take a look at Bolor Lkhaajav’s piece, How Is Mongolia Responding to the Russia-Ukraine War? – The Diplomat.
Russia recognizes Donetsk and Lukhansk People’s Republics
2/28 – 3/1
Demonstrators on Sukhbaatar Square were confronted by neo-Nazi nationalist groups and police
Anti-War protestors in Ulaanbaatar were attacked by pseudo-nationalist (but really pro-Russian) groups Dayar-Mongol & Bosoo-Khukh Mongol after which the police ‘had to’ intervene & take away the ???????? flag.
— Mönhnaran Bayar (@MoRientalist) March 1, 2022
The incident was referenced by singularly important Satso demonstrating Mongolian concerns over how the Russia-Ukraine war will effect Mongolia.
Шууд л хүчтэй чадалтай талд нь орно гэхээсээ илүү айдас хүйдсээ ардаа тавьж шударга үнэн, төв найрамдууг баримталж зүрх зоригтой цэх хатуу, ухаалаг хэрсүү байж чадвал Монгол яваандаа яг жинхнээсээ “ялна” гэж итгэдэг дээ. pic.twitter.com/Ttaof6lO1D
— Samandar Tsogtbayar (@satso999) March 1, 2022
Democratic Party condemns the invasion:
“In the last few days, the Kremlin leaders led by Putin using the means of the Russian military forces to launch a special military operation against a UN member state, an independent and sovereign democratic Ukraine. The Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns this. We demand an immediate end to this practice, which threatens the lives of many civilians and causes enormous economic damage.
Russia’s move is unjustifiable and a serious threat to peace and stability in Europe and the world.
At this difficult time, members and supporters of the Mongolian Democratic Party are expressing their solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MONGOLIA”
Posts about Buryat soldiers in Russian forces (one demonstrates racism towards Mongolians and Buryats, including by Ukrainians) shared widely on Mongolian social media.
Монголчууд Оросыг дэлхийн 2-р дайны жилүүдэд бүх чадлаараа дэмжсэн. Одоо бол дайныг эсэргүүцэж байгаа сая сая оросуудыг, эх орноо өмгөөлж байгаа украинчуудыг аль алиныг нь дэмжинэ. Харин Буриад, Халимаг, Тува монголчуудыг дайны бай, бамбай болгож ашиглаж байгааг эсэргүүцэж байна. https://t.co/zE2YDz598n
— Mongol Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ (@elbegdorj) March 1, 2022
Mongolian Foreign Minister B. Battsetseg comments that “Mongolia values peace and is of the position that it is important to cease fire immediately.”
Сэтгүүлч: ОХУ, Украин асуудалд Монгол Улс ямар байр сууринаас хандах вэ?
ГХ-ны сайд Б.Батцэцэг: Монгол Улс энхийг эрхэмлэнэ, галыг даруй зогсоох нь чухаль гэсэн байр суурьтай байна. pic.twitter.com/jC3Xlr1daG
— iToim.mn (@iToim_mn) March 2, 2022
2021 Presidential candidate D. Enkhbat conducted a twitter poll measuring anxieties about the effect Russian economic collapse would have on Mongolia. (Results almost evenly split between it being beneficial for Mongolia and dangerous for Mongolia).
Орос улс гүн хямралд орж задарвал –
— Enkhbat Dangaasuren (@enkhbat) March 2, 2022
An image of the Ukrainian flag high on the storage silos of major Mongolian flour producer appears on twitter. It was retweeted by former DP Prime Ministers M. Enkhsaikhan and S. Bayar, while a reported police visit to Altan Taria was criticized by D. Enkhbat.
Монголын тусгаар тогтнол, эрх чөлөөний төлөө бүгдээрээ нэгдэгтүн.
Би 90 онд Чехийн оюутан байхдаа хийж байсан зүйлээ одоо ч үргэлжлүүлээд хийхэд бэлэн шүү. Бага давраарай төрд шургасан дээрэмчид минь. pic.twitter.com/L1rMxR2gMz
— П. Цэнгүүн (@p_tsenguun) March 3, 2022
On March 4th, protestors with “no war” signs were back on Sukhbaatar Square. Former President Elbegdorj, who tweeted “Glory to Ukraine” one day prior, joined them.
— Жилээ (@a_tserenbat) March 5, 2022
Demonstrations on the occasion of International Women’s Day (3/8) have since become more visible.
Russian-language social media activity regarding flight from Russia to Mongolia increasing on Facebook. Mongolian respondents replying that the flights had been suspended, and that bus and car travel at the Altanbulag-Khiakhta crossing (between Ulaanbaatar and Irkutsk) was not possible.
Tweets reporting that Mongolian customs has seized silver, gold, and diamonds in luggage widely shared:
Хилээр алт мөнгө үнэт чулууг хувь хүн оруулж ирэхийг бүүр чөлөөтэй болгочихооч. Хаашдаа хажууд алт, алмазаа тал үнээр нь ч болов зарах гэсэн том улс үүсэж бхад. Улс л оростой бүү наймаац. Алт мөнгөний хэмжээгээр валютын нөөц нэмэгдэнэ шд. Тэр хар тамхи мамхиа л шүүрдэнэ биз. pic.twitter.com/fwsktb8YNh
— BatEngineer of Kyiv (@batengineer) March 12, 2022