Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Window on Eurasia: ‘Russian World’ Now has Mongol Competitor on Its Own Territory

Paul Goble


Staunton, December 23 – One of the dangers of talking about anything like a world belonging to this or that national community is that others may copy it, creating at a minimum competition and more likely conflict between the two “worlds” even if that was not the original idea of either side.


That is at risk of happening with Vladimir Putin’s much ballyhooed “Russian world” because another nation is starting to talk about its own “world.” That nation is the Mongols, and symbolic of that development is the publication in Novosibirsk this week of a book entitled “The Mongol World: Between East and West” (in Russian, 351 pp.) (tuva.asia/news/asia/7612-mong-mir.html).


Most books with such a title focus on the Mongol conquest, but this one focuses, according to Tuva.asia, on “the demographic, social-economic, and political-legal problems of the development of contemporary Mongol society” and on “other regions of the Mongol world – Buryatia and Kalmykia,” two Buddhist republics within the borders of the Russian Federation.


And to underscore that this focus is not only a scholarly one, the Mongolian government last week reached agreement to open a consulate in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, thus completing its representation in the Buddhist republics of Russia. Ulan Bator already has such representation in Buryatia and Tyva (elista-gs.ru/index.php?id=149).


Such consulates will increase not only the flow of information between these republics and Mongolia but also increase the flow of students from them to Ulan Bator. And both of these things will promote the idea of a “Mongol world” in which the Buryats, Kalmyks and Tuvans may feel more comfortable than in a Russian one.



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