Travel Guides: Mongolia
Mongolia is a republic in Central Asia, bordering Russia to the north and China in the south.
It was the center of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, but was ruled by the Manchu Qing dynasty, 18th century and later formed with Soviet assistance, an independent government (1921). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia became a democratic country. Eighteenth country in the world in area, Mongolia has very little arable land: grassland, with mountains (north and west) and the Gobi Desert in the south. Approximately 30 percent of the population is made up of nomadic or semi-nomadic Tibetan Buddhist rite and Mongolian ethnic group. Ulaanbaatar capital focuses more than 50 percent of the population.
In the 13th century, Mongolia was the center of the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in world history. After more than a century, the Mongol Empire had ended there, and Mongolia broke back into a state of internal struggle, allowing, in 1636, the conquest of Inner Mongolia by the Qing dynasty, and, in 1691, submission of Outer. Both regions have declared independence in 1911, but only Outer Mongolia can maintain it, with Russian help. After the Russian Revolution of October 1917, Chinese troops retook Outer Mongolia in 1919, but were caught in the middle of the Russian Civil War – the conflict between White and Red Army extended to extra-Mongolian territory – and withdrew in 1921.
In 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was proclaimed. Those politicians who have demanded a less dependent, like Bodoo or Dandzan were toppled and executed. In 1928, Horloogiyn Choybalsan took power. Under his rule, was forced collectivization, purges, and the Lamaist monasteries were destroyed in 1937 and were killed 10,000 people. In WWII, the USSR defended Mongolia against Japanese invasion in the Battle of Gol Halhin. Mongolian troops took part in the Soviet offensive against Japanese forces in Inner Mongolia – August 1945 (Operation August Storm). The threat of Mongolian forces seizing parts of Inner Mongolia of China caused by recognition of Outer Mongolia’s independence, provided that a referendum was held. The referendum took place on 20 October 1945, and, according to official records, 100% of the electorate voted for independence.
After the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, both countries have recognized each other on 6 October 1949. At Choybalsan in Moscow – 26 January 1952 Yumjaagiyn Tsedenbal took power. In 1956 and again in 1962, the personality cult Choybalsan was condemned. Mongolia continued to be closely linked to the Soviet Union, especially after the Sino-Soviet split in the late 1950s. In Tsedenbal’s visit to Moscow in August 1984, parliament officially announced its withdrawal, replacing it with Jambyn Batmonh. In 1990, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party has given sole control of government, allowing the opening of the road that would lead to a new constitution in 1992, which was abolished by the People’s Republic and generated a static hybrid parliamentary-presidential state.
Mongolian language belongs to the Altaic language family. It is an agglutinative language, spoken by approx. 5.7 million people worldwide. Mongolia’s new constitution was adopted on February 12, 1992, and introduces multi-parties system. The president is elected by the people directly for a term of four years; he is also head of the army. The president appoints the prime minister in office, has the right to dissolve the government, the right of initiative and veto power. From October 17, 1961, Mongolia is part of the United Nations. Throughout the history Mongolia’s main ally was the Soviet Union, which helps economically and militarily.
In 1986 Mongolia has restored relations with China, which were quite cold because of Chinese returning from 1983. Since 1990, Mongolia has opened relations with the US, Japan, the EU, but remain dependent on Russia and China. Mongolia’s economy is centered on agriculture and mining. Most of the population lives from grazing, including, in particular cattle, sheep, goats, horses and camels. Many industrial plants have been closed with the transition to capitalism and the end of the Soviet Union, which maintained the state factories, mostly poor. Mining is for the main products: oil, coal and copper, with smaller holdings, molybdenum, tungsten, and phosphate. Following decades of state economy, the transition took place – often painful – to capitalism.
Today, Mongolia has over 30 000 independent businesses located in particular in and around the capital. Outside cities, most Mongolians are engaged in shepherding the subsistence. GDP is about $ 420 per capita. Although GDP has risen steadily since 2002, the state is still working to overcome a deficit. Mongolian government has fixed a huge foreign debt to Russia ($ 11 billion) in 2004, by a payment of $ 300 million, was accepted because the small amount of hardship and losses of human lives during the Soviet era in Mongolia. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and exports cashmere, minerals and food products to Russia, USA, China, Japan, Italy and other countries.
The total value of agricultural production, 70% is sheep farming, the main crop is rye. Soil resources are: coal, copper and iron ore. The population is very rare (2.55 million). Nearly four fifths of the population is Mongols, Kazakh minorities that consist of Russians and Chinese. Languages spoken: Mongolian, Turkish, Russian and Chinese. Religions: traditional Buddhism, Islam. Mongolia is a land distant and less visited, but has much to offer in terms of landscape, wildlife and places full of history and culture. Outside major cities, the Mongols traditional lifestyle continue “Malchin” (ministers) and many of them are nomadic. With one of the lowest densities in the world, Mongolia has vast areas of wilderness, desert, lakes and mountains, ideal for adventurous visitors.11