By Paul Goble
Mongolia is one of the countries to which men from the Russian Federation have fled to avoid mobilization and combat in Ukraine, but it is unique in that the majority of those who have arrived there are not ethnic Russians but Buddhist Kalmyks, Buryats and Tyvans whom Mongols view a culturally close to themselves.
In fact, some Mongols say that they view welcoming members of these three fraternal peoples as the equivalent of Israel’s repatriation of Jews, as a national duty to help those who are under pressure or suffering discrimination elsewhere, in this case, in the Russian Federation (idelreal.org/a/32085643.html).
While Mongolia was partially Sovietized as early as the 1920s, it never became part of the USSR or experienced the influx of ethnic Russians that the Central Asian republics of the USSR did. At one point, there were approximately 110,000 Russians there but that number has no declined to no more than 2,000.
As a result, there was never any center of Russian culture there; and as a result, while some ethnic Russians have come since mobilization was declared, most of those from the Russian Federation who have are Kalmyks, Buryats and Tyvans who have suffered from far more radical recruitment and are closer in culture to the Mongols.
Both their own culture and the welcome they have received in Mongolia have disposed many of the people from the Buddhist nationalities of the Russian Federation to view Mongolia as a second, “alterative” motherland, one that is a model for them because of its independence, democracy, and desire to live in peace with all its neighbors.
Daavr Dorzhin, an Oyrat-Kalmyk who has moved to Mongolia, says that some of his fellows there are now talking about the need to create “separatist movements” in their homelands so that “Kalmykia, Buryatia, Tyva and Sakha will be able to escape from Russia and not bear responsibility for the actions of the Putin regime and not suffer for its decisions.”
The Mongolian government has not publicly supported such groups, in contras to Ukraine which has, but the new arrivals say that many in Mongolia do support their actions and they expect the experiences they have in Mongolia will have serious consequences for their homelands when they are able to return.
(For more on the non-Russian emigrations in Mongolia, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/10/buryats-kalmyks-and-tuvins-fleeing-to.htmland windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/10/many-among-numerically-small-peoples-of.html.)