Mongolia Focus This Year

By Julian Dierkes

It’s been a big year for us at Mongolia Focus as well.

Parliamentary Election

To our surprise we suddenly held a near-monopoly on political analysis around the time of the parliamentary election. There were very few international journalists in Mongolia for the campaign and international organizations scaled back their election observation as well. Serving as election observers, we were able to approach politicians, campaign officials, and voters to ask them about the election campaign.

Highlights of our blogging during the election season:

Mongolia Today Authors

Writing on Mongolia Today regularly appears to be good for graduate students’ careers, or so I will claim. All three of my fellow regular authors this year handed in major research reports and moved one step further along their academic training and careers:

  • Byamba handed in and defended his doctoral dissertation in Sociology at the University of Hokkaido
  • Mendee handed in his MA thesis and is moving on to the PhD in Political Science at the University of British Columbia
  • Brandon handed in his MA thesis in Asia Pacific Policy Studies at the University of British Columbia and this will hopefully be a springboard for a PhD in Political Science, most likely somewhere in the U.S.

Congratulations to all three! They have been an integral part of the Mongolia Today project and continue to subscribe insights and fascinating topics of discussion on contemporary Mongolia

Other Publications/Channels on Contemporary Mongolia

For research on Mongolia at the University of British Columbia it was a big year as a volume based on a 2008 conference held at UBC was published this summer (Change in Democratic Mongolia).

Does Anyone Read our Blog?

Oh, but do they ever!

Since we started blogging in summer of 2011, nearly 18,000 unique visitors have come to our site for nearly 30,000 visits. The huge majority of these visits has come this year (16,000+).

Most readers access the site from Mongolia, followed by the U.S., Canada, Japan, the UK, Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

On average, readers have looked at 2 pages. That means that in 2012, nearly 45,000 unique pages on our blog have been viewed. Two thirds of traffic arrives via search engines while there have also been referrals, especially from Twitter and Facebook.

I (Julian Dierkes) seem to have increasingly built an audience for my tweets, particularly focused on Mongolia, though I sprinkle Japan tweets into the stream as well. For example, a tweet about my Dec 30 wrap-up of international perceptions of Mongolia (“In 2012 #Mongolia made news with fastest-growing economy (+17.5% GDP in 2011)”) was re-tweeted nine times within six hours of the original post, potentially reaching around 30,000 followers.

Our listing of non-Mongolian mining companies active in Mongolia gets a lot of visits. Of the categories we’ve written about, coverage of the parliamentary election has been most popular. The most popular single post was a simple announcement of the date that election was set for.

Also, especially in the latter half of the year, we ‘ve been gratified that we’re receiving more and more feedback from Mongolians who are reading the blog posts regularly.

Some of this feedback is coming in response to tweets about posts, some of it by email or by word of (virtual) mouth. It’s great to learn that it is decision-makers and ordinary folk alike who are looking to our blog as a source of information for developments in contemporary Mongolia.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots and tweets @jdierkes
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2 Responses to Mongolia Focus This Year

  1. Peter Lee says:

    Great work in 2012!
    So how about 2013? Any comment on the upcoming presidential elections: who current president Elbegdorj’s competitors are likely to be, what sorts of election issues are likely to come up, current sentiment in Mongolia about Elbegdorj…
    In particular should we expect similar issues to last year’s parliamentary election (control over national resources, the handling of the case against Enkhbayar…) or will new issues likely come up. Such as: how to spend the new “Chinggis bond” funds? the nature and extent of further anti-corruption efforts?
    Again, congratulations on the great work.

    • Well, prognostication is a tough business and one that I’m certainly shy about.

      We’ll know who the main challenger to Elbegdorj will be soon (after the MPP picks a candidate), but it may well be the DP itself. Last year, we saw a united DP for the campaign, but some factional rifts over the summer, so we’ll have to wait what happens in the Spring.

      Spending of the Chinggis Bonds? Railroads seem to be flavour of the month, we’ll see if they are flavour of the year as well.

      Corruption? Efforts have been increased in the fight against corruption in the past several years, so momentum may be the best hope. This is really up to the DP now, especially if Elbegdorj is re-elected. Is there a real commitment to fight corruption throughout government? If yes, this is the time to enact measures and we’ll see the results over the coming three years of DP-led government(s).

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