The following were culled from Mongolia's two English weeklies,
The UB Post and The Mongol Messenger.
|Culture||Politics||Economy||Briefly||Odds & Ends|
Nomads or Barbarians? – by Catriona MacPherson
Many nomadic tribes have been labelled barbarians by other cultures. We may be playing with semantics here, but I submit that most nomads are not barbarians – they are a product of their environment, now and in the past. Because of the land they dwelt in, they modified their lives in order to survive. Another way of saying it was the land shaped their lives.
You do what you have to do to survive.
The nomads were not barbarians; they were born into a harsh climate, forcing them to be fierce and sometimes cruel by our standards in order to survive. Being constantly occupied with survival, they had no time to learn a more sophisticated way of life, as had the sedentary peoples of China and Iraq. Nomads were not mentally inferior, but specialists in survival against severe odds. It has been said they did not know how to build a bridge to cross a river… Of what need had they for a bridge? For one thing, they might never need to cross a river at that particular spot again, since they were always on the move; for another, they could cross rivers by piling up their possessions on top of their horses and swim them across while holding on to their tails. Why tie themselves to a certain route, possibly going kilometres out of their way, just because there was a bridge there to cross the river? Sedentary people became too dependent on bridges, walls and other accoutrements of “civilisation”, dulling their ability to think and act quickly in a crisis. Not so the nomad: his wits were always razor sharp, enabling him to face his environment with a good chance at survival, whatever came his way..
There are many levels of civilisation, each with its accompanying body of knowledge and customs. The nomads may not have been on the top rung of the ladder, but they certainly had their place on the ladder.
The Mongols, as an example, were only one of the nomad tribes that inhabited the Asian steppes. However, not until unification under Chinggis Khaan did they become a Mongol nation. They had their own culture and tribal laws.
It was frequently necessary for nomadic tribes to engage in internecine wars that were usually not unprovoked. The strongest chief got the best grazing lands, and it was often necessary to obtain and keep them by force. Following tribal customs more often than not resulted in conflict with another tribe.
Judging nomad tribes by our standards, something we sometimes unwittingly do, is not fair to them. We must look at them in their time and place, recognise that their fight for survival and severe life kept them at a lower cultural level than their more sedentary neighbours. We can only imagine their reaction upon encountering the comparative luxury of the sedentary populations in their path.
Early Western writers referred to the Mongols as barbarians rather than nomads. Their opinions were largely based on Mongol military conquests and atrocities so often written into their accounts. While Brent says “… their activities have become synonymous with senseless cruelty, a violation of all security, all boundaries; for centuries they were regarded as the epitome of human destructiveness,” he further adds, “It has taken the cold ingenuity of the twentieth century to match and even outstrip them the heinous crimes that both legend and true recollection have placed at their door.” And legends must be taken with a grain of salt. What is said of the Mongols can said of many of the nomad tribes of Asia and Eastern Europe.
Looking at the Middle Ages as a whole, we find it a period of warfare and upheaval. Morris Bishop writes of the conditions in the West during the Hundred Years War, “… War became a rather dirty business. It was conducted by contract armies, recruited anywhere without concern for nationality. … Knights fought no longer from feudal obligation and loyalty, but for advantage. Their dream was to capture and hold some noble for an enormous ransom.” The Mongols were loyal to Chinggis Khaan, and even when Turks made up a large part of their fighting forces, the Mongols still fought as a unit, loyal to their commanders. While they were not paid and did not receive large quantities of booty, their unquestioned faith in their leader was their true incentive for remaining loyal. Nomad tribes were loyal to their clan chiefs; and as long as their chiefs led them to good grazing lands and protected them from other raiding tribes, the nomads remained loyal to them. The Mongol army was an excellent example of tribal loyalty. It was organised on a decimal system, which was nothing new, as nomad armies before Chinggis Khaan’s time had been so organised. It was a simple, but effective system. A troop of 10, called an arban, was the smallest unit. A squadron of 100, made up of 10 arbans, was called a jagun. A regiment of 1000, made up of 10 jaguns, was called a minghan. A division of 10,000, made up of 10 minghans, was called a tumen. Generally, there would be two to three tumens in a Mongol army. A personal bond of loyalty united the captains of tens, hundreds, thousands, and tens thousands, a feudal principle surviving in Asia while it was dying in Europe.
Through the years, students of military tactics have studied the campaign strategies of the Mongol general, Subodai; among the most well-known were Napoleon, Gustavus Adolphus, Rommel, and Patton. If their culture was so inferior, what could these great commanders learn from a “savage Mongol”?
To maintain communication throughout the Mongol Empire, a rapid and effective post system, Yam, was organised. A continuous change of mounts, made possible by the enormous numbers of horses available to them, allowed some of the riders to travel over two hundred miles in one day. Is this a sign of an inferior culture? There were three main classes to the postal system: ‘second-class’, carried by foot-runners; ‘first-class’, carried on horseback; and ‘His Majesty’s Service’, carried by non-stop riders who changed horses, but not riders. Not until the 1800s did America make use of a similar postal system.
Extended post roads spanned the entire Mongol Empire, which encompassed many nomad tribes, and both valuable merchandise and messages were carried to all parts of the empire. Legend has it that an unprotected young female could take a sack of gold safely from the Don River to Khanbaligh, the city of the Khaans.
Nomad merchants dispatched their caravans over these roads carrying new and useful things to Europe. This relinking of Europe and the Orient resulted in an increased cultural exchange, and a greater knowledge of world geography.
Worthy of attention in the field of nomad art were their carvings from horn, bone, and hard wood. From these materials, they made numerous articles: plates, cups, and bowls; bracelets, brooches, and plaques. These artifacts are generally used to describe a civilisation’s sophistication.
We usually associate polo with very civilised cultures, but Mongol horsemen played polo, which, of course, was only a minor legacy to the world.
Because the Mongols had no Bible or Koran, and no sacred scriptures, they left no lasting monuments to a brief, but glorious civilisation. For one should call the Mongol nation civilised: their roots can be traced back to a nomad/barbarian culture, but from the time of unification under Chinggis Khaan, when for the first time they called themselves Mongols, they must be considered a civilised nation.
Mongolian Singing Arts
The Mongols have an original art which is called hoomii, or overtone singing: a unique vocal style using the throat (the name literally means “throat music”). In hoomii, the melody is formed by changing the shape of the mouth cavity as the resonating body for the vibration of the vocal cords, which at the same time makes it easy to emphasise the tone of the melody by strongly producing vowels. It is said that hoomii is as old as nature itself, beginning when man made the first melodies imitating the murmur of streams or the echoes in the mountains. Hoomii is most common in the West of Mongolia, and this style is also known among some of the peoples of Central Asia, especially the Tuvan, the Khalkh, and certain ethnic groups in the Altai Mountains; it was formerly found also among the Bashkirs in the Urals.
Among the many ways the pastoralists interact with and represent their aural environment, one stands out for its sheer ingenuity: a remarkable singing technique in which a single vocalist produces two distinct tones simultaneously. One tone is a low, sustained fundamental pitch, similar to the drone of a bagpipe. The second is a series of flutelike harmonics, which resonate high above the drone and may be musically stylised to represent such sounds as the whistle or a bird, the syncopated rhythms of a mountain stream, or the lilt of a cantering horse.
(Dan and Sun-duk’s note: We saw a performance of throat singing at the National Theatre, and it can often be seen on television, as well. It’s an incredibly strange and beautiful art, much stranger than the bagpipe mentioned above.)
There are different techniques of performing the hoomii ovetones, usign the nose, throat, chest, or abdomen. It is only performed by men, because it needs much physical strength, though there is no particular taboo against its use by women.
Some contemporary Western musicians also have mastered the practice and call it overtone singing or harmonic chant. Such music is at once a part of an expressive culture and an artifact of the acoustics of the human voice. Trying to understand both these aspects has been a challenge for Western students of music.
Among the pastoralists, emulating ambient sounds is as natural as speaking. Throat-singing is not taught formally (as music often is), but rather picked up, like a language. A large percentage of male herders can throat-sing, although not everyone is tuneful. A taboo against female throat-singers, based on a belief that it causes infertility, is gradually receding, and younger women are beginning to practice the technique as well. The popularity of throat-singing among Tuvan herders seems to have arisen from a coincidence of culture and geography: on the one hand, the animistic sensitivity to the subtleties of sound, especially its timbre, and on the other, the ability of reinforced harmonics to project over the broad open landscape of the steppe.
The most virtuosic practitioners of throat-singing are concentrated in Tuva (now officially called Tyva), an autonomous republic within Russia on its border with Mongolia, and in the surrounding Altai region, particularly western Mongolia. But vocally reinforced harmonics can also be heard in disparate parts of Central Asia. Among the Bashkirs, a Turkic-speaking people from the Ural Mountains, musicians sing melodies with breathy reinforced harmonics in a style called uzliau. Epic singers in Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan, and Kazakstan itnroduce hints of reinforced harmonics in oral poetry, and certain forms of Tibetan Buddhist chant feature a single reinforced harmonic sustained over a fundamental pitch. Beyond Asia, the vocal overtones in traditional music is rare, but not unknown. It turns up, for example, in the singing of Xhosa women in South Africa, and, in an unusual case of musical improvisation, in the 1920s cowboy songs of Texan singer Arthur Miles, who substituted overtone singing for the customary yodeling.
The ways in which singers reinforce harmonics and the acoustical properties of these sounds were little documented until a decade ago, when Tuvan and Mongolian music began to reach a worldwide audience. Explaining the process is best done with the aid of a widely used model of the voice, the source-filter model. The source – the vocal folds – provides the raw sonic energy, which the filter – the vocal tract – shapes into vowels, consonants, and musical notes.
This additional source is another fascinating aspect of throat-singing. Singers draw on organs other than the vocal folds to generate a second raw sound, typically at what seems like an impossibly low pitch. Many such organs are available throughout the vocal tract.
Another cultural preference is for extended pauses between breaths of throat-singing. (These breaths may last as long as 30 seconds.) To a Western listener, the pauses seem unmusically long, impeding the flow of successive melodic phrases. But Tuvan and Mongolian musicians do not conceive of phrases as constituting a unitary piece of music. Rather, each phrase conveys an independent sonic image. The long pauses provide singers with time to listen to the ambient sounds and to formulate a response – as well as, of course, to catch their breath.
The stylistic variations all reflect the core aesthetic idea of sound mimesis. And throat-singing is just one means used by herder-hunters to interact with their natural acoustic environment. Tuvans employ a range of vocalisations to imitate the calls and cries of wild and domestic animals. They play such instruments as the ediski, a single reed designed to mimic a female musk deer; khirlee, a thin piece of wood that is spun like a propeller to emulate the sound of the wind; amyrga, a hunting horn used to approximate the mating call of a stag; and chadagan, a zither that sings in the wind when Tuvan herders place it on the roofs of their yurts. Players of the khomus, or Jew’s harp, recreate not only natural sounds, like that of moving or dripping water, but also human sounds, including speech itself. Good khomus players can encode texts that an experienced listener can decode.
Yet it is throat-singing that Tuvans recognise as the quintessential achievement of their mimesis, the revered element of an expressive language that begins where verbal language ends. For the herders, it expresses feelings of exultation and independence that words cannot.
Long Singer Norovbanzad Performs Memorable Anniversary Show
Last Friday, December 22, the Cultural Palace was host to the “Sound of the Vast Steppe” programme in honour of the 70th birthday of N. Norovbanzad, Mongolia’s premier “Long Singing” performer. The event also celebrated her 50th year on the stage.
When the curtain was raised in front of the packed audience, a rising sun blazed against a blue background, nine white, suspended horsehair banners from the days of Chinggis Khaan were auspiciously placed over the stage, and a throne for the guest of honour was spotlighted in the foreground.
By way of introduction, J. Byambajav, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and A. Tsanjid, Minister of Education, made statements of appreciation on the behalf of the Mongolian government, bestowing on Ms. Norovbanzad the title of Mongolia’s Queen of Arts, saying that the Mongolian government esteems the singer’s contribution to national folk art.
Following the orchestral prelude, the long-singer-turned-legend sang “Uykhan Zambuu Tiviin Naran”, or The Sun Over The Placid World, accompanied by the moriin khuur (Mongolian horsehead fiddle) and a contemporary dance duo. Her rendition was flawless, drawing a roar of applause.
[…] Long Singing is one of Mongolia’s unique forms of vocal music, dating back to the first century B.C. It is a romantic form of music where notes are held for extended measures – often with vibrato – in one breath. The folk art captures the vastness of the Mongolian steppe and the solitude of nomadic lifestyle. “According to music theory, Long Singing is not a musical genre; it is a form of sonata,” stated N. Jantsannorov, producer of the performance. “What distinguishes it from the music of non-nomadic cultures is its asymmetry. But in musical scales, it is a symmetrical art. Long Singing not only requires singing ability, but the singer must skillfully capture the spirit or philosophy of the music.”
Jumbotron Installed (There Goes the Neighbourhood)
Sukhbaatar Square, the pride of Ulaanbaatar, has been disgraced with the installation of a Jumbotron television.
The large-screen TV was put into use December 9. It is located on the south side of Peace Avenue, and is easily viewed from the central plaza.
Since its launch, the TV has been blaring music videos across what was once considered the holiest site of communist Mongolia.
The T300 million ($272,000) TV was made by the Lopu Company (USA), and installed by Hasvuu Electronics. The six-by-four-metre screen is three storeys high, and will work from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day after New Year’s. Until the first of the year, the TV is being tested for sound and quality.
Hasvuu will transmit a variety of programmes, including news, weather and videos, but the screen will largely be used for advertising. The company has already been flooded with phone calls requesting advertising time.
Sukhbaatar Square was created in the 1940s, and is guarded by a statue of the revolutionary hero D. Sukhbaatar. For decades, it has been a prime destination of tourists, herders from the countryside wanting their picture taken, and visiting officials who often lay a wreath at Sukhbaatar’s pedestal.
During the communist era, Sukhbaatar Square was the site of countless workers’ parades. Then, in 1990, it was the site of the Democratic Revolution.
It is also adored by couples who enjoy the square as a peaceful place for an evening stroll.
The installation of the Jumbotron TV is a product of modern Ulaanbaatar; where the streets are packed with polluting automobiles, the sidewalks are lined with gaudy signs and billboards, and the residents talk into their mobile phones rather than each other.
”I don’t like it,” said Ninjmaa from Darkhan. “It would be OK if they played traditional music and showed scenes of the countryside.” Ninjmaa grimaced as she watched a music video of the female foursome Lipstick.
Nearly everyone else polled on Peace Avenue and Sukhbaatar Square adored the TV. They raved about how it gave ‘new life’ to downtown Ulaanbaatar.
”It’s new, so it’s good,” said Sukhbaatar Square photographer N. Ganbaatar. “Now we will have something to watch while we work.”
Private Colleges Give Education a Bad Name
Of 172 universities and educational institutions in Mongolia, 134 are privately managed. Private colleges are often set up by business people who rent out a room furnished with the paraphernalia of a schoolroom: desks, chairs and blackboards. Teachers are hired, and students pay set fees.
On average, 17,000 to 20,000 students finish secondary school each year, with less than 50% of students going on to further education at state-run institutions.
A large number of students who enroll in private colleges do so having failed entrance exams to state colleges. Private colleges tend to offer popular subjects such as law, economics and languages, usually English. The number of students taking language classes represents about 50% of private colleges’ annual intake, proving the popularity of foreign language study and the desire of young people to be bilingual in order to further their careers, and study and work abroad.
Twenty-six out of 33 economic colleges are privately owned, as are 22 out of 27 law schools, whose lack of educational standards causes concern for the government, especially as 10% of the adult student population chose these institutes to take their degrees at. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has prohibited the establishment of private colleges within the next three years and closed down over 10 establishments, including ‘Tsambagarav’, ‘New Century’, and the ‘Registration and Statistical Institute’ because of the poor quality of their teaching.
Another concern for the government is the fact that only 10% of private schools are based in the countryside, which is leading to a mass influx of young people to Ulaanbaatar. The centralization of education in Ulaanbaatar encourages population centralization – the countryside population is depleted of its young people, who, having completed their course of study, tend to remain in Ulaanbaatar to seek a career in their chosen field.
Regional development and quality education in the aimag capitals would stem the flow of young people to the capital, the government believes. But they have not yet taken into account the lure of the ‘bright lights, bright city’ syndrome, which to some is as much an attraction as a three-year degree course.
Pentatonic Awards Name the Best of the Year
Seventeen rock and pop awards were doled out at this year’s Pentatonic ceremony on Tuesday the 26th. Teen rockers “Camerton” won three awards: Album of the Year, Best Concert, and Best Pop Group. “Khurd” is the year’s best rock group. Year 2000’s number one song is “Love Came Before Its Time”, by the “Suns” group. Z. Altantsetseg came away with the Top Singer award.
Court Dismisses Parliamentary Amendments to the Constitution
The government has been taken aback by the Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss its amendments to the constitution, passed on December 24, 1999. The Court held a Grand Sitting on November 29. Seven members of the court participated, including the MP Ts. Sharavdorj, the Head of the Standing Committee for Justice and the Parliamentary representative at the meeting.
Sharavdorj protested against the previous decisions of Parliament and proposed that N. Jantsan, the Head of the Constitutional Court, be disqualified for giving interviews to the press prior to the closure of talks. Sharavdorj announced that he would not be participating in the Sitting and abruptly left, leaving the Grand Sitting of the Constitutional Court without a Parliamentary representative.
The Court swiftly released a notice confirming they found no grounds to disqualify Jantsan from participating in the Sitting and decided not to adjourn.
The judgment made by the Constitutional Court cancelled the amendments made by Parliament to the constitution on December 24, 1999. The court also confirmed that the original constitution adopted on January 13, 1992 was immediately effective.
On November 30, the MPRP requested that Parliament have a two-day break, due to the fact that “the legal environment which has been in place until today will change. Therefore, the group needs to discuss matters relating to the decision of the court,” explained MP S. Tomor-Ochir.
On the same day, MPs P. Jasrai, Tomor-Ochir, and D. Lundeejantsan submitted another law draft to L. Enebish, the Parliamentary Speaker.
The law draft contains exactly the same amendments as those rejected by the Constitutional Court on November 29. It was again dismissed by the Constitutional Court, who said it contained mistakes.
MP Jasrai sent an official letter to President N. Bagabandi requesting he make proposals to the law draft for further amendments to the constitution and the Constitutional Court was also requested to submit its proposals.
The amendments cancelled by the Constitutional Court (resubmitted) include:
1. If Parliament fails to appoint a new Prime Minister within 45 days, either the Parliament will resign itself or the President will dismiss Parliament. 2. The Prime Minister will consult with the President regarding the composition of the government within one week of his/her acceptance. If the two fail to reach an agreement, the Prime Minister can submit the issue to Parliament. 3. The Speaker and Vice-Speaker will be elected by open ballot. The Vice-Chairman will be elected from any of the parties in Parliament. 4. Regular Sittings of Parliament shall be held once every six months, and the duration of the regular sessions of Parliament will not be less than 50 days. 5. A quorum for a session of Parliament and standing committee will be a majority. Appointing a Prime Minister of government members will be done by open vote unless the law stipulates differently. 6. Members of Parliament can concurrently hold government cabinet positions, but no other jobs. MPs will be paid from the state budget during their official term. 7. The majority party of coalition should nominate the candidate for the post of Prime Minister to Parliament. If there is no majority, the party with the most seats will nominate a candidate with consultation from other parties. If there is no compromise, all parties in Parliament will discuss and nominate a candidate within five days.
The Amendments to the Constitution of Mongolia made by the State Great Khural on December 24, 1999, broke the following articles of the Mongolian Constitution:
Article 1: The fundamental purpose of state activity is the insurance of democracy, justice, freedom, equality, national unity and respect of law.
Article 68: (1) Amendments to the Constitution may be initiated by organisations and officials enjoying the right to legislative initiative, and may be proposed by the Constitutional Court to the National Parliament.
Article 70: (1) Laws, decrees, and other decisions of state bodies and activities of all other organisations must be in full conformity with the Constitution.
Democratic Party Unveiled
Yesterday (December 6), five political parties – the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP), Mongolian Social Democratic Party (MSDP), Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP), Mongolian Renaissance Party (MRP), and the Mongolian Religious Democratic Party (MRP) – were officially merged at the State House as the “Democratic Party”. Exactly 1530 delegates from each of the five parties, and the heads of other political parties, attended the congress. Foreign delegations witnessed the event by invitation.
B. Bat-Bayar, former Parliament Member, addressed the congress, explaining the parties’ decision to merge and the political climate of the last decade. Having made their own brief reports, the delegations unanimously approved a resolution that established the new party.
Preliminary arrangements were then made for electing party leaders. The Democratic Party’s rules, symbol, and flag were also decided. The former symbol of the MSDP will symbolise the new political force, and the MNDP’s flag will wave as their banner.
Former MNDP, MSDP, MRP, and MRDP party delegates nominated D. Dorligjav for the leadership position. M. Enkhsaikhan, former PM (1996-98) of the Democratic Coalition’s Administration, was nominated by the MDP. M. Enkhsaikhan thanked the party for nominating him, but withdrew his name. The delegates unanimously elected D. Dorligjav as head of the new political party. R. Gonchigdorj of the MSDP, and M. Enkhsaikhan of the MNDP, will compete for the presidential bid.
R. Gonchigdorj says that the new party “represents the second stage of the 1990s’ democratic revolution.”
Utility Price Hike Said to be Unavoidable
On December 15, T. Enkhtaivan, head of the Energy Authority, raised the heating utility rate by 35% and the electricity rate by 14%. Needless to say, public opinion over the drastic increases has not been positive. Energy Authority representatives say tha the move was inevitable. As B. Jigjid, Minister of Infrastructure, said, “They have been applying the same rate since 1998. In that year, Energy Authority proposed several times that the government increase prices, but the measure never passed. If the government had raised prices little by little before now, the rate would not have gone up so substantially, and would not have made such an impact on the consumer. But the Energy Authority has been working with losses since 1998, sinking in debt, and now has no other choice. The Ministry of Infrastructure knew about the situation they were facing.
”The Bagaanuur Mine and Power Stations No. 3 and No. 4 received loans from the World Bank, The Asian Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. They made a loan contract. In the contract, it was agreed to increase prices to a certain level. If they did not increase their prices, the organisations would no longer be able to operate and would go bankrupt. This was the external requirement. Concerning internal needs, the coal mine and power stations have worked with a loss of three to five billion tugriks annually for the last three years. When I took this seat [in the Ministry], the energy field was dying at its roots. Thus, it has become essential to change the rate. However, it has not increased as much as it did in 1994 and in 1995.
”We did research together with the Ministry of Finance before increasing utility prices. According to our results, the price of other commodities will not increase substantially, because of the new heat and energy prices. Of course, the price rise will affect other organisational expenditures, but as our research shows, it will affect them by only one or two percent. This means that organisations can answer the rise in expenditures not by increasing their products’ prices, but by decreasing their internal expenditures. Heat and energy rate increases will not be the reason that other products increase in price.”
[…] According to the statistics of December 1, the Energy Authority is T41 billion in debt… “The price increase will only bear upon the Energy Authority’s Central and Eastern energy systems, meaning that prices have not changed in the countryside.”
G. Battushig, head officer for the Finance and Economics Department of the Energy Authority, said, “According to the new prices, income and expenditure are equal. It is imposible to make a profit, even from the heightened prices. […] Our energy field must begin to pay back the World Bank loan…”
Laos: A Country of Brotherly Relations
The Laos People’s Democratic Republic celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 2. A documentary film about the country tells of the development of today’s Laos – people working in factories, offices, and agricultural developments. The film was shown for journalists at the Embassy of Laos in Mongolia. Ambassador Vanheuang Vongichit greeted the journalists with a warm smile of welcome. “Laos and Mongolia are brother countries,” Ambassador Vongichit said by way of introduction.
The diplomatic ties between the two countries started much earlier than during Laos’ struggle for independence in 1962. Historically speaking, the two countries are closely related because Laotians descend from the Altai Mountain region. “The Mongolian language and the Laotian language have a similar vocabulary, such as the word for elephant. There are also several poems about the long-held relations between our countries,” the Ambassador continued.
In the late 1970s, just after the independence of the Laotian people, Mongolia constructed a hospital in Laos and supported the Laotian economy by cooperating in the agricultural sector.
A large number of Laotian students are studying in Mongolian universities in departments such agriculture and medicine, and in circus arts universities. People who have studied in Mongolia, according to the Southeast-Asian Ambassador, are considered among the most qualified and successful people in Laos. Ambassadors and other important officials, like the Laos Land Authority Chairman, were trained in Mongolia. “Laos will never forget Mongolia’s aid and concern for our economy,” he stated.
(Daniel and Sun-duk’s note: It’s almost impossible today to imagine that at any time this century, Mongolia was actually developed enough to proffer this kind of training and aid – especially in the fields of medicine and agriculture!)
Mongolian livestock, especially sheep, graze on Laotian pasturelands. Initially, over 400 sheep were brought to Laos in the late 1970s; now sheep herding is a profitable business in Laos. “Mutton is a preferred food in Asian nations. We can cooperate in this area.” The Ambassador also suggested exporting Mongolia’s sheep to Laos to raise the animals, where the climate is more tolerable. “Laos has an abundance of green pastures. Therefore, we can successfully cooperate in the exportation of mutton to Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, Currently, these countries are importing mutton from New Zealand and/or Australia at high costs. “Imported mutton is approximately US$30-$40 per leg from New Zealand and Australia. Mutton in Laos costs US$30 for an entire sheep.
”We can manufacture furniture using Mongolian technology and Laotian red wood. Some Mongolians are already expressing interest in this new idea. Trading is another profitable industry. Mongolian leather is of high quality, which gives Mongolia and Laos another business opportunity to flourish hand-in-hand."
Both countries have chosen a market economy. Laos adopted a market economy in 1986. The two countries are keeping friendly relations, although some international ties have diverged.
Mongolian Parliament Speaker R. Gonchidorj and Laos National Assembly Member Saman Vyaket have conducted a meeting, and the President of Laos is planning a visit to Mongolia in the near future. Ambassador Vongichit said that “hopefully, the visit will be in mid-2001.”
Contracted Prospectors Hunt for Oil
In 1940, Mongolia began prospecting for crude oil under Russian investments. Drillings were initially made in Dornogov; and deposits were subsequently found in Zuunbayan and Tsagaan-Els soums. From 1940 to 1963, 414 oil wells were dug in Dornod aimag. After 1969, oil deposits were depleted at these sites, and extraction work was terminated. In the mid-80s, Russian scientists pronounced crude oil resources in Mongolia to be dry. Doubtful of this prognosis, the Mongolian government began contracting foreign surveyors in 1990. Since that time, outside companies have been scouring the countryside in search of fresh deposits. For example, in the past seven years, Australia, China, and the U.S. have spent more than $110.7 million in the field.
The Mongolian government divides the last eleven years of oil prospecting into two main phases. The first part includes the years 1990 to 1995. During this time, government-contracted foreign entities performed the surveys, and T8.8 billion were doled out by the State for the job. However, this amount covered only half of the expenditures made by foreign companies, and, therefore, contractors called a halt to their work. The government still owes T7.8 billion in reimbursement. In 1996, the beginning of the second phase, Mongolia re-established relations with international contractors. A contract was drawn up in that year, which includes the following:
- Contractors will pay all expenses during their work.
- If a contractor finds a deposit of oil, the government will pay all expenses incurred. Mongolia will pay a royalty of the profits made on the oil to the contractors until the oil deposit is depleted.
Foreign contractors often use advanced equipment in their search for oil, thus expediting the process and cutting down on State budget spending.
Do Not Block the Road to Progress –
The Nation’s Battle for Social and Scientific Expansion
B. Erdenesuren, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Culture, met with the press at a conference on December 25 to discuss the current state of affairs in education, scientific research, and culture in Mongolia. Wrapping up a week-long campaign, Mr. Erdenesuren noted that the three fields, in short, are facing immediate problems.
Although at least 20% of the State budget is to be allocated for developments in the three areas, this percentage has not been satisfied. Only 0.26% of the budge is spent on scientific research, though 1.5% is the prescribed apportionment. “The first target is to increase science funding by 0.3% within this year ,” the Deputy Minister explained.
Lack of financing is hampering the success and possibility of new developments in the research and business sectors. “No links between businesses and scientific institutions exist. The coming four years will be the time to unite these two,” Education Ministry official Mr. L. Battulga stated.
An example of the limited development in national research funding could be found at a scientific trade show held last week at the Science and Technology Centre. Though the exhibition housed 800 inventions, only three were selected to be funded for further development by private business. A harvesting machine, a system for computer networking between libraries, and a new medicine for fighting cancer called “Emilin” were the recipients of financial buttressing.
As for education, Mongolia’s teachers are in straits. Teachers have not received their salaries for four months in Khentii aimag. Many teachers do not have access to medical care because their social and health insurance – approximately half of which should be covered by the government – has not been paid. Educators are not willing to accept rural teaching positions for these reasons. The positions in greatest demand are those of primary school teachers of foreign languages, math, and music, explained Mr. B. Damdinsuren, head of the Ministry’s Primary Education Department.
Due to a rapid increase in family resettlements – from the countryside to towns and cities – urban schools are overloaded with sometimes three shifts of students per day; rural schools are often virtually empty. Furthermore, countryside dormitories are in too poor a condition for student life. However, the demand for educational revamping is there. “Herders are increasingly willing to educate their children, and the drop-out rate is steadily decreasing,” Erdenesuren said. There are currently 52,000 drop outs in the nation. In 1992, the figure stood at 80,000.
Beginning in 2000, the government began paying living expenses for students residing in dormitories at T120,600 per student per year.
Ms. L. Erdenechimeg, the Ministry’s official in charge of Arts and Culture, sympathises with actors and actresses. “They earn only T18,000 a month and perform in halls where the temperature is 10 degrees Celsius.” With the budget being consumed by heating and electricity costs for the massive, breezy buildings, there is no money left with which to increase salaries or renovate theatres. “A musical instrument has 300 cracks on its side, and dramatic plays are held together by strings,” she laments. Swan Lake was performed only once this year, because ballet shoes for dancers to perform in are too expensive at $7 a pair!
During his campaigns, Erdenesuren has been challenging private and public entities to use internal resources appropriately in order to clear the hurdles blocking educational, scientific, and culturual progress.
A working team made up of state officials is developing a programme for the betterment of the educators’ profession. The team has also created a new foundation entitled “Patronage” for the bolstering of the arts and culture in this country. Domestic businesses, like MonroImpex and AOU, and foreign organisations from Japan and Taiwan, are already collaborating with the foundation.
Questions and Answers with Peter Morrow, Executive Director of the Agricultural Bank
This interview is a press release by the Agricultural Bank.
What’s going on at the Agricultural Bank?
Most importantly, Ag Bank is on the move again. We have recruited several experienced banking executives, and reorganised our management team. We have started lending money again. We are kicking off a new marketing and advertising programme. We have just opened new branches in Sharyngol and New Darkhan, and will be opening up more new ones shortly.
Want to tell us where?
Not yet. We will be making announcements soon.
But not long ago, Ag Bank was in trouble, and now you are expanding?
Absolutely. First, Ag Bank is no longer in trouble. We have recapitalised by the government, and our liquidity is now over 40%, way more than the 18% requirement of the Mongol Bank. Second, our management agreement with the government is to restore full banking services to Mongolians living and doing business in the countryside, and we are doing that as fast as we can. Third, we are opening new branches because customers are coming to us and asking us for them. When we open, we have enough business already booked to be profitable.
But many people thought you already had too many branches. How many is it?
As we speak, 271 facilities in almost every soum in almost every aimag. That may seem too many for a bank our size, but most of them are small and very inexpensive to operate. Until we install all our new products system-wide, we do not know which ones can be profitable and where we may need to cut back. Meanwhile, there are some very profitable expansion opportunities out there that we are not going to pass up.
Will you be closing some branches later>
Maybe, but not until we have a good idea what the potential of each is. We have decided not to close any for at least a year, until the end of 2001. Besides, the huge network gives us a huge advantage in competing for important types of customers.
Cashmere companies, gas stations, mines, government agencies,, traders, NGOs, international agencies – anyone doing business in the countryside who needs a bank. We have a network there that no other bank has.
So business will bank with you because you have a lot of branches?
No. Business will bank with us because we will provide the very best services at a fair price – and also because we happen to have an unparalleled branch system.
What about people in the countryside>
Actually, that is our most important market. There is a tremendous pent-up demand for banking services in the countryside. In the past, Ag Bank did not meet people’s expectations, and many have avoided dealing with banks. We are correcting that.
First, we are reintroducing lending. Herders, traders, retailers, and businesses in the aimags need loans. Second, we are revamping our deposit and transfer products to make them more attractive. There’s simply too much cash out there under mattresses, and not in the bank, where it is safe and can be mobilised for loans back into the community. Third, we are listening. We recently attended a meeting of herders in Omnogobi, for example, and they asked for help with loans and yuan currency dealing at the China border points. We are going to support them.
So these are the new branches?
Okay, you got me. Yes, we intended to open facilities on the border to support these herders and traders; but there are others coming, too. Stay tuned. Fourth, we are spreading our message. We want everyone to know about the new Ag Bank. You will see freshly painted branches, new signs, a new logo and colours, advertising, and other marketing efforts – most importantly, our people will be out on the street looking for business. We believe that if people know about us, they will use our banking services, and we will grow along with the countryside.
Tell us about the new loan programme.
We started lending last week in Darkhan. When we made the announcement, we got over 200 applications – we had to stop them because that was too many for us to handle at one time. We sent a “swat team” of six officers from the Head Office to help process them. That confirms that there is a lot of demand out there.
What kind of loans are they?
Small loans, generally under one million tugriks, for traders and merchants for short-term inventory purposes. We will raise the amounts and introduce new types of loans as our people gain experience. By this time next year, we should be offering a full line of commercial loans to many types of customers. Please be patient – we have not made loans for almost two years, and we are rolling the programme out through a very large branch system.
Were not loan problems the reason Ag Bank had to be recapitalised?
yes, but the bad loans of the past were a result of political direction, speculative ventures, friendship lending, and, in some cases, outright fraud. The kind of loans we are making now never caused the bank any problems; and we will not allow any political or speculative interference in our loan business.
How can we be sure?
As part of the restoration agreement, control of the bank is vested in an independent five-person Board of Directors, with no interference allowed from the government. This was a requirement of the concerned donor agencies, and a condition of my continued involvement with the bank. We got lots of suggestions from government people on who to hire, where to put branches, how to run the business. We only do what is in the best interests of the bank.
You are talking as a commercial banker, but some say Ag Bank is to be a development bank…
We are a development bank. A development bank is one that makes loans, then collects them and makes more loans, then collects and makes more again, and so on. If Ag Bank consistently makes high-quality loans and gets them back with interest, it will survive and prosper, and be part of the countryside’s development for a long time. A so-called “development bank” that loans to special government projects or for other directed purposes will soon lose its capital and go out of business. As long as I am here, that will not happen to Ag Bank.
How did an American come to head one of Mongolia’s most important banks?
When it recapitalised Ag Bank, the government agreed to appoint a joint foreign-Mongolian executive management team to lead its revitalisation and expansion. I am privileged to lead it. I am joined by Debra Boyer, another experienced American banker, and by several talented Mongolian executives. It is a unique arrangement, combining local knowledge and international experience.
Any final words for our readers?
We are having fun at At Bank. It is now an exciting place to work and do business. We are dead serious about bringing the very best banking services to the countryside and companies doing business there. We invite everyone to come into the nearest branch and see what’s going on.
Canadian Dollar - Mongolian Tugrik Exchange Rate: CAD$1 = T720.81
The Mongolian Honorary Consulate opened in Montreal, Canada, on November 22. In attendance was the Mongolian Ambassador to the USA, J. Choinkhor, General Consul D. Sandag, Mayor of Montreal, Pierre Bourque, and officials from the Quebec region. The Mongolian Honorary Consul is Kristina Romero.
Two Pakistani citizens have been accused of attempting to export four falcons, and are being detained by the police. The falcons were being kept in an apartment in Bayangol District (Dan & Sun-duk’s note: That’s where we live!). Police are looking for the anonymous falcon dealer.
The pop group Chinggis Khaan performed in San Diego on November 27. The International Association of Cultural Relations, in association with Som Arts Association, broadcast the concert on the internet. Chinggis Khaan left Mongolia a month ago to tour the United States (including a stop in Fayetteville, Arkansas), North Korea, Poland, and Hungary.
First-class passengers on trains between Erdenet and Zamyn-Uud will soon be able to watch television as they travel – the company A1 Studio has installed cable television in 24 first-class carriages.
A Mongolian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister S. Batbold paid a visit to the United Arab Emirates on November 25. Bilateral cooperation will be developed between the two countries.
Over 130 Mongolian NGOs have opened their own websites. The project is funded by SOROS. Links to their sites can found at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pop queen B. Sarantuya has returned from a triumphant tour of the western aimags. She covered over 5000 kilometres in Hovsgol, Hovk, Bayankhongor and Gobi-Altai, and the warm reception she was greeted with made up for the freezing conditions she performed in. She plans to tour the eastern aimags next year.
Pop star T. Ariunaa has returned from a concert in Tokyo celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous Japanese compsoser Endo Minoru. Artists from the USA, China and Korea, among others, participated in the event. Ariunaa received a rapturous welcome for the famous Mongolian song, “Steppe in Four Seasons”.
Sixty-nine clinics in Ulaanbaatar have received 2.3 million tugriks’ worth of medical equipment from the Health Sector Development Programme. Financing is provided by the World Bank. Doctors also received 217,000 tugriks’ worth of medical equipment supplied by the Indian company Angelica.
Cashmere is in short supply, and prices are rising as a result. Inner Mongolia, one of China’s largest wool-producing areas, has already sold all of this year’s wool and cashmere, Woolmark reports. China produces on average nearly three quarters of the world’s total cashmere. October prices for white, dehaired Chinese, Afghan and Iranian cashmere averaged nearly 50% higher than last year’s prices.
Two Tuvan horsemen illegally crossed the Mongolian border via Zavkhan aimag on Wednesday, November 29. Border police arrested the two men not long after they entered Mongolian territory. However, one of the trespassers managed to escape and began firing on border police. Border police returned fire, killing the man.
At approximately 5 p.m. on November 21, US$6,415 and T400,000 were stolen from a seller’s booth on the third floor of the State Department Store. The Chingeltei District Police later found that a 15-year-old boy had committed the crime. The youth reported to police that his uncle, Ts. Amarjargal, put him up to the theft and had the boy bring him the money afterwards. After receiving the money, Mr. Amarjargal gave his nephew a $100 reward and then ran off with the rest of the stolen cash. The alleged abettor was subsequently arrested on November 28. At the time of his arrest, Amarjargal had $3,600 on him. He told police that he had spent the rest of the money on vodka.
”Stone Age of Mongolia”, a joint expedition group of Russian, Mongolian, and American members, have found archeological evidence in a cave in Bayanlig, Bayankhongor aimag, that dates back to 700,000-750,000 years ago. These archeological remains belie the established belief that humans came much later – around 500,000 years ago – to Mongolian territory.
On November 17, at 5 p.m., three young men forced an injection of an unreported substance into a student of the Mongolian Agricultural University working on the Tuul River bridge located in the 11th Street community of Khaan-Uul district. As a result, the student had to be sent to Sarkhand Psychiatric Hospital three hours later. Another man had also been brought to the hospital under the same conditions. Police investigating the case maintain that the criminals are hiding in the woods along the Tuul River.
B. Onkoon, head professor of the Khaan-Khokhii Institute, has recently found over 100 petroglyps at Bayan-Ondor Mountain in Delgerkhan, Tuv aimag. These petroglyphs are fro the Mid-Stone Age, including drawings of a woman, a man, a deer, the sun, and the male and female signs. Scientists believe that the Xiongnu people, ancestors of the Mongolians, drew the glyphs, possibly indicating that the signs for male and female originated from people living in what is today Mongolia. Ancient symbolic representations have also been found in Gunkhudag, Ikh Khoshuut, and Temeetin Khan Mountains of Tuv aimag.
On November 28, hunters piloting a helicopter to spot their game in the mountain reserves or Burkhan Khalduun, Khentii aimag, were discovered by police. Police later located the helicopter and investigated the hunters. They found that the hunters had shot at least one antelope near the Eluur area of Burkhan Khalduun Mountain. Antelope hunting has been temporarily prohibited under an order from the Prime Minister to protect the numbers of the animal in Mongolia.
An international school will be established in Ulaanbaatar by the International Asian Cultural Development Institute. Construction work will begin in the spring of 2001. The school will offer computer and management training, and teachers will be recruited from Canada, Japan and the USA.
The Chinese Embassy in Mongolia has donated T2 million to be spent on study materials for children learning the Chinese language. A ceremony was held at the Chinese language school, Ui Tsai, in Ulaanbaatar on December 5.
A blaze started by an unattended candle in an apartment complex in Zamyn-Uud, Dornogobi aimag, has caused T2600 million in damage. Over 100 people from 29 families had to be evacuated. No injuries were reported.
The Japanese government is giving 530 million yen to reconstruct parts of the Mongolian railway. Bridges connecting the railway will also be renovated.
Free pharmacies for street children have opened in ger districts, including Denjiin 1000, Khailast, Bayankhoshuu, and Khotol. Funding was provided by the Save the Children Fund and was organized by the Mongolian Volunteers Association.
A Chinese Geser Monastery has been rebuilt in Amgalan, considered the ‘Chinatown’ of Ulaanbaatar. The monastery was destroyed in 1937 under orders from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The construction was funded by a Chinese restaurant owner, Zen Tan Yan.
The “Bolor Tsom”, or Silver Cup, poetry competition will be held January 5-6. Currently, the Mongolian Authors’ Union has received 72 poems and 12 stories. On December 1-2, the union will choose 21 poems and 9 stories to be read at the Silver Cup competition. The winning author will be awarded a leather coat and T800,000. The ticket price for the event is T8000.
The Encyclopedia of Mongolia, under construction for 28 years, is now in publication in 800 copies. The encyclopedia sells for T150,000.
An Italian citizen attempted to export rare palaeontological fossils through Buyant-Ukhaa Airport, Ulaanbaatar. Customs officers found eleven pieces of fossilised shells, bones, and teeth. Over 200 attempts to violate customs laws and regulations were reported last month by the General Customs Board. Eleven cases were attributed to foreign citizens. A Korean citizen, Vi Gun Huan, was recently detained while attempting to export deer’s antlers.
To deter theft and improve public safety, lighting in Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts will be free of charge from the first quarter of 2001. Seventy percent of the capital’s populace live in ger districts.
Communication links to seventeen aimags will be completed within the next two years. Agreements were signed in Ulaanbaatar on December 15 by the Chairman of the Mongolican Telecommunications Company, G. Battor and Stefan Fitch, a senior official of the German Alcatel Contracting Company. As a result of the new communication link, local telephone wires will switch completely over to digital. Alcatel Contracting is the executor of the project, worth 13.7 million Deutsch marks. The money will be provided by the German government as a soft loan.
A total of 75 different types of fish, 300 species of water animals, 400 different types of algae, and 250 different water plants were registered in a census of Mongolia’s lakes. Lakes included in the survey were in Bayan-Olgii, Zavkhan, Overkhangai and Uvs aimags.
It is unlawful to cut down spruce, cedar or aspen trees in this country, but at around this time of year, a few spruce are felled in honour of the new year. U. Barsbold, Minister of Environment, has allowed for 70 trees to be cut for major service centres and organizations around Ulaanbaatar, such as the State Department Store. The price for a spruce is dependent upon its height. Each metre is priced at T5000. The 400,000-500,000 tugriks earned from this year’s trees will be spent on re-forestation.
On December 12, Mongolian police uncovered counterfeit one-hundred denomination U.S. dollar bills in the amount of $50,000. Sh. Altangerel, a resident of Bayangol district, Ulaanbaatar, was carrying the counterfeit money in order to exchange it for Mongolian tugriks at the Naiman Sharga Exchange Market when officers checked his bag and subsequently placed him under arrest. Mr. Altangerel brought the fraudulent bills from Russia, police reported.
On December 18, eleven people set out on horseback for Paris, France, from the centre of Khovd aimag, Mongolia. Film producer H. Huchitkhar heads the caravan, made up of fifty-five horses. The trek began in the town of Bulgan in Khovd. The riders will spend the winter in Elstei, Republic of Kalmyk, heading to Paris next spring.
Mongolian teenage pop band Camerton will soon have a biography out. The book is to be entitled We Are Camerton, and will include the history of the band, bios of band members, photographs, misadventures, and anecdotes. It will be published in a limited edition of 2000 copies.
Uvs Buried Under Zud Year II -
Aid worders find the aimag buried under deep snow, by Batbayariin Indra
ULAANGOM - As our plane rattled in the skies over Uvs aimag, I peered out the porthole the see the endless white steppe. There was no indication at all that grazing grounds existed in this distant aimag.
The snow depth in the provincial capital Ulaangom was up to 40 centimetres deep. Up in the mountains, that figure reached 80 centimetres. The snow had been piling up from ten days of relentless storms in late November. For the second year in a row, Uvs Aimag is disaster-hit.
Aid organizations have been busy with relief work here and in other crisis areas of Mongolia. Two of the more active groups are Peace Winds Japan and the Kukushuzan Development Fund, which recently brought journalists to Uvs aimag to witness conditions. Over the past year, these two organizations have donated over $200,000 worth of food, medicine and milk products to 10,580 families in Dundgobi, Ovorkhangai, Uvs, and Zavkhan.
The destinations for our reconnaissance mission were limited because deep snow blocked the roads to Tes and Malchin soums. Our team split into two groups to visit 13 accessible soums. The snowy terrain bogged down several jeeps and limited the caravan to just 30 km per hour.
In Tsagaankhairkhan soum, officials told the relief workers that most gers could only be reached by horse, or in some cases, only by helicopter.
Stranded families are not the only problem in this soum – the 27-year-old village school burnt down in October. Classes have resumed in the local government house. The losses include books, teaching materials, school records and archives – the students now sit huddled in their freezing ‘classrooms’. Small donations from local families have not been enough to build a new school.
Water has also been a problem in Uvs aimag. During communism, the government dug and maintained hundreds of wells in the countryside. But Mongolia’s transition era, and lack of money, has spelled disaster for the wells. Not only has the government given up maintaining the wells, but poverty has forced some to wreck the wells by stealing the metal parts and pumps. Uvs aimag once had 830 wells, but now only counts 40.
Peace Winds and Kukushuzan have been instrumental in repairing the old wells. The most recent contribution was over T100 million, collected by Japanese donors, to repair 15 wells in Dundgobi, seven in Ovorkhangai, and 35 in Uvs. Herders no longer have to travel 200 kilometres to find water, as they did just a few months ago.
Local herders have been protecting the wells by capping them when not in use, and keeping them from freezing by covering them with animal hides. About 170 families herding over 200,000 livestock use each newly repaired well.
But at this time of year, it is not water that the animals need, but food – and grass is difficult to find under almost a metre of snow. Herders said they had not seen such an early snowfall since 1976. Some are gathering their animals for a difficult mid-winter trek to better grazing grounds. Others are selling as many animals as possible before starvation sets in.
Older herders say although the crisis has begun, they expect an early and green spring. That is a positive outlook, but March is still four months away.
The crisis is further impacted by a gas shortage. The aid organizations were informed upon arrival that no petrol had been supplied for a week. This means higher prices, idle jeeps, and no fuel to power generators. Most towns we visited were left in the dark.
And the scar on Uvs, Tuvan cattle rustlers, still mars this province. Several years of cattle theft has not slowed, despite worth efforts by border guards and the army to end the problem. One bag near the border reports that it has lost 200 horses and 500 sheep in the past year.
More on This Year’s Zud
Approximately nine million livestock in Mongolia are living zud, or snow disaster, conditions; and 3-4 million are in serious danger of dying, according to the Emergency Commission of Mongolia. Fifteen aimags, or provinces, are being battered with snow storms now.
Last winter, during the same conditions, four people froze to death tending their animals, two died because of inaccessible medical attention, and 2.4 million head of livestock perished – the first such catastrophe in four decades. “This winter is no better, even worse,” warned Ch. Togoo, secretary of the Emergency Commission. “The number of livestock which were at risk last year was 7 million. Now it is 9 million.”
As a result, the government of Mongolia is intensifying measures against the danger, starting the campaign with a hay distribution on December 13. A hundred trucks loaded with hay are leaving for Uvs, Zavkhan, and Overkhangai aimags, those provinces facing unquestionable peril.
Mongolian livestock breeding is a pastoral system over two thousand years old. Thick layers of snow mean starvation to herds of animals trying to graze. Herders hit by the zud last year said that livestock were eating hair and tails of other animals. When carcasses were examined, the stomachs were often found full of hair from useless efforts to stay alive. When temperatures drop to – 40 C, the weak cattle lose what remaining strength they have.
Aid Sent Westward - by Michael Kohn
A convoy of 100 trucks loaded with disaster relief is headed for western Mongolia to assist herders suffering from a second year of harsh winter conditions.
The aid is the first segment of a $10 million disaster relief donation granted by the Japanese government. The trucks are hauling hay and fodder for weak livestock, and goods used by nomadic families including rice, flour, dry milk, portable generators and gas stoves.
The trucks left Ulaanbaatar on December 13 and travelled for several days to reach the remote western provinces of Gobi Altai, Khovsgol, Khovd, Uvs and Zavkhan. Several carried banners with slogans thanking Japan for the donation.
Last winter and spring, Mongolia lost around 2.5 million of its 33.1 million livestock during the worst winter in over 40 years. Hundreds of families were impoverished by the disaster as nomads rely on their animals for food, clothing, fuel, milk and barter.
A number of factors contributed to the disaster, including heavy snow, drought, and, in one province, a plague of field mice. Animals that survived are still weak, and experts fear that another long winter will kill thousands more.
Reports from western regions say snow in the mountains has reached 80 cm, and nighttime temperatures are down to minus 39 Celsius. A plague of locusts last summer destroyed important grasslands in Khovd aimag.
”The snow and cold conditions are forcing herders to move their camps to safer grounds,” said the Minister for Food and Agriculture, D. Nasanjargal. “So it is international aid like the Japanese donation that plays a big part in helping people.”
The aid includes 700 tonnes of fodder, 300 tonnes of hay, 102 generators, and 540 tonnes of flour. Mongolia is still using a T1.3 billion World Bank loan to restock herders who lose livestock last winter.
The Japanese company JIKS is delivering the aid and the goods are being distributed by the State Reserve office. The second shipment of aid will be sent south to Bayankhongor, Ovorkhangai, Dundgobi and Gobi Sumber.
Pastoralism Is In Danger of Ruination - by Dr. Enkh-Amgalan
Nomadic pastoralism has existed for centuries, feeding Mongolians, while maintaining a sound ecological balance. Traditionally, grazing utilised four seasonal pastures, with sufficient reserves for grazing and due consideration for vegetation growth and recovery after grazing. The moderate demand resulting from the subsistence nature of the Mongolian lifestyle also played a part in maintaining the land.
When we began the transition to a market-oriented economy in the early 1990s, both the animal products industry and herders’ interests changed radically. Unfortunately, the government was not able to foresee the ecological, economic and social consequences of these changes and formulate policies accordingly.
The burgeoning sedentary lifestyle begun in the communist period resulted in an increased demand for shop-bought meat, resulting in increased livestock numbers. Fortunately, meat exports to the former Soviet Union kept livestock numbers below 25 million, and pasture use was regulated administratively.
An absence of adequate policies has contributed to current problems. Livestock privatisation and price liberalisation were pursued. Policymakers decided that the market would do the rest. What happened? Opening Mongolia to the globalising world had a drastic effect in increasing human demand. Livestock privatisation provided tremendous incentives for increasing livestock numbers. The state cancelled its subsidies in most livestock related areas, and herders responded by increasing livestock numbers to overcome the risk. Also, the loss of centralised livestock procurement and an absence of adequate replacements significantly restricted the marketing of animals, so increasing livestock numbers as ‘savings’ against future uncertainties became the dominant risk management strategy; low to moderate growth in other industries made herders save more animals for their children.
The state continued its policies to award herders with 1000 animals while the destruction of thousands of wells because of inadequate ownership and maintenance curtailed utilisable pastures. The wide-scale migration of herding families from remot to central regions worsened ecological imbalances, and livestock privatisation resulted in the fragmentation of the industry: 84% of herding families own less than 200 livestock, leading to fierce competition among them for increasing livestock numbers and possessing more pasture resources.
Speeded up by private interests of newly born small household economies and free competition, these changes occurred with the untouched land tenure system: state ownership and largely free access to ‘common property’ resources. The result is increased overstocking and violation of sensible grazing practices, which have begun to destroy ecological balances, a keystone for nomadic pastoralism. The zud Mongolia has experienced sends out a clear message about maintaining an ecological balance for the land.
The problem needs to be addressed by the State. As the owner of the land and protector of society’s interests, the State has to regulate. The solution should be based on incentive mechanisms, not administrative methods. Because land is owned by the state, the costs of overgrazing and degradation are not incorporated into costs which herders are directly responsible for.
This is why we started our project, ‘Developing and Piloting a Sustainable Development Model for the Extensive Livestock Industry’. We came to a conclusion that the solution of the problem will only be found by addressing the issues listed above. All of the issues are closely related, and their solution is only to be found through a holistic approach. Implementation should be highly participatory, i.e. what is intended needs to be either initiated by or acceptable for herders.
So far, we have developed a detailed action plan and started pilot projects in two districts. The development approach behind planned activities is to enhance traditional collective action among herders and eventually upgrade them into formal structures. This has several advantages compared with another approach: enlarging one household economy. The plan includes specific measures on grazing and land tenure. We see long-term possession contracts over pastoral resources keeping seasonal mobility and reciprocal grazing rights as the best way to encourage conservative behaviour by herders towards pastoral resources.
The UNDP are supporting us. May I express my sincere gratitude to UNDP Mongolia, especially Mr. Natsuki Hiratsuka, Deputy Resident Representative, for his strong support for the project. The team members are national exports.
The writer is Founding Director of the Centre for Policy Research, the first Mongolian non-governmental policy research institution.
Ulaanbaatar Is Bursting at the Seams
The population of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, has reached 735,400 – a 12.8% increase against the last census conducted in 1998. One fourth of the population resides within Ulaanbaatar’s sprawling environs. In an attempt to stem the flow of people to the city, the ‘Citizens’ Representative Meeting’ has raised a proposal to increase the ‘Citizens’ Registration Fee’ twofold. Over 18s will be required to make a one-off payment of T50,000, and under 18s will pay T25,000. The scheme began in 1995.
The fee is payable at the Mayor’s office. In Mongolia, every citizen is registered with their district office. To leave Uvs, for example, a law-abiding citizen would deregister at their district office. Some people do migrate to the capital without paying the fee. They escape the grasp of the law, but often come unstuck later on in dealings with officialdom, who realise they’ve not registered, and therefore have not paid.
The government is concerned about the growing centralisation of the population and the negative social problems which inevitably surface. Air pollution is one such negative consequence. Hospitals, kindergartens, and schools throughout the city are being overwhelmed with new pupils, when the educational system barely covers the current denizens of the city, let alone newcomers. The monies raised by the fees will go towards funding social programmes and to compensate for the increased strain placed on the education system.
The population explosion affects water and land usage. In 1997, 132.8 people lived on average within one square kilometre of each other. This increased to 156 in 1999. These statistics do not apply to every square inch of Ulaanbaatar – the Bayangol district’s population live on average 4588 people per square kilometre (Dan and Sun-duk’s note: This is where we live.), while in the Nalaikh district, the number drops dramatically to 33, and in Baganuur, 24.
Since October 2000, 18,000 people have migrated to the capital from the countryside. Over T100 million has been collected in fees from these people. If the proposal to double the fee goes ahead, the fund will double.
Of the 18,000 citizens who migrated to Ulaanbaatar, 70.2% are of working age, 22.6% are children, and 7.2% are of pensionable age. The majority come to the city to study and improve their lives, and are mainly drawn from Tov, Uvs, Zavkhan, Khovd, and Darkhan-Uul aimags.
A survey indicates that 6.2% of Ulaanbaatar’s population have the status of temporary residents.
Domestic migration shows no sign of abating. The government has voiced concerns over national security and the fact that Mongolia’s vast land mass is becoming increasingly desolate. Migration needs to be stemmed. The question is, will a T50,000 fee stem the tide?
Challenges on the Roof of Mongolia –
Development on the Horizon for Tavan Bogd National Park, by Michael Kohn
Imagine for a moment a beautiful national park: Yosemite in California, Banff in Canada, or Soraksan in South Korea.
Now imagine a national park without paved roads, gaudy hotels, souvenir shops, overflowing garbage cans, parking lots and mountain cable cars.
Imagine a national park with soaring peaks, pristine lakes, glaciers, wildlife, and most importantly, no busloads of camera-toting, overweight Western tourists. Now you have some idea of what the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is like.
Established in 1996, this 636,000 ha park is located in western Bayan-Olgii aimag. It actually forms the border with China and Russia. The park includes Mongolia’s highest peak, the 4374-metre Khuiten Uul, as well as the 14-kilometre-long Potaninii Glacier.
The rivers which flow down from these mountains are an important water source for the Great Lakes of western Mongolia. The region is home to endangered species, including Argali sheep, ibex and snow leopards. In all that vast wilderness, one cannot find a single improved road. This is Edward Abbey country.
Like everything in Mongolia these days, changes are o the way for Tavan Bogd National Park. Most developments, like tourism, appear responsible. However, there are other factors, including livestock breeders and woodcutters, which could degrade this precious landscape.
Tourist companies eyeing the region as an alternative to crowded Lake Khovsgol are being monitored under the close watch of the Mongolia Altai Nuruu Special Protected Area Admnistration located in Olgii. Park director A. Atai says he is determined to keep a lid on development before it happens. “We don’t want Tavan Bogd to end up like Khovsgol, with lots of ger camps and pressure on the land. We will try to restrict the number of camps,” he said from his office in Olgii, a room with a view of the dry and rugged Altai mountain range.
Atai’s office is leading the way for low-key development. Last summer, it established the “Eco-Ger Camp”; ger accomodations; a souvenir shop for locally made products; and an information centre. The administration staff are working with locals to serve as guides and interpreters.
Last year, the Eco-Ger Camp made US$800 for the national park office, and around US$600 for local guides – good money for a first-year operation in one of Mongolia’s poorest aimags. Atai believes these numbers could double by next summer.
While tourism does not yet appear a serious threat, Atai describes other problems. The Erel Company plans to build a US$10 million hydroelectric power station inside the national park. Woodcutters illegally deplete the forests, and herders who live inside park boundaries are allowing their growing herds to deplete the delicate grasslands.
While the Erel project is indefinitely on hold, livestock continue to graze, and the lumberjacks to wield their axes. The national park’s ten rangers – underfunded and underpaid – have little ability to protect the resource. They only manage to collect around US$400 in fines per year.
”It is a difficult job. There is a lot of territory to cover, and not many rangers. It gets harder each year as more people come to take wood or hunt illegally,” said Y. Khuantai, one of two rangers in neighbouring Tsengel soum.
Atai thinks the greatest threat is livestock. “There are just too many animals in there during the summer. If nothing changes, the land will be overgrazed in three to five years,” he said. “The government is promoting the growth of livestock, while they should be taxing the herders for extra animals.”
Ironically, the increase in livestock has also allowed an increase in the numbers of ibex and Argali sheep.
With an abundance of mutton, herders no longer need to shoot these animals for food. Bayan-Olgii is home to 4500 Argali and around 10,500 ibex.
However, as Atai explains, the increase of livestock also attracts hungry snow leopards, which have been illegally killed with increasing frequency. Ten years ago, there were 170 snow leopards in Bayan-Olgii; now, there are an estimated 100.
The protected area office is currently conducting animal surveys to determine exact numbers, but this seems just the beginning of a larger project to preserve all of western Mongolia’s national parks.
The Global Environment Fund and the United Nations Development Programme have promised a huge grant to be launched in 2002. The project, similar to the current Eastern Steppe Biodiversity Project in Dornod, will be worth US$3-4 million.
Until then, Atai and his small band of eco-warriors have a mountainous task ahead of them.
Just last September, one ranger was hospitalised for seven days after being beaten up by illegal woodcutters inside the park.
”It is a very difficult job,” said Atai, shaking his head, “but I have great hope for the future of this park. It is one of the great parks of the world, and it will be preserved for years to come.”
Hooligans Terrorise Indian Restaurant
One of the expatriate community’s favourite restaurants, Hazara, has faced troubled times recently. Staff at the Indian restaurant have been subject to intimidation, violence and demands for ‘protection’ money by a gang of four self-styled ‘Mongolian mafioso’ men.
The restaurant attracts an upmarket crowd, including members of parliament and diplomats. Hazara’s owner, Ms. Sanobar Khan, was on business in the UK when she received a call from her frightened staff, who informed her of alarming events at the restaurant.
The trouble began on November 11. Four men in their mid-twenties came to the restaurant at 3:30 p.m. and asked for food and alcohol; head chef Ismail Khan asked them to return during business hours. They then asked for water and were duly given a glass of tap water, but this was deemed an insult – they expected mineral water, and beat up Mr. Khan.
The men returned the same evening, looking for Mr. Khan, issuing threats to kill him. The police and the Indian Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires, Amur Sanatu, were called to the restaurant, but the four ‘gangsters’ bluffed their way out, insisting they had done no harm and were merely customers awaiting their meal.
Over the course of the following two weeks, the men visited the restaurant every day for lunch and dinner – they ran up an unpaid bill of $1500. The men found out where the restaurant’s staff lived, and one of them once turned up at Mr. Khan’s home at midnight, accompanied by an unknown woman, and demanded to stay for two nights – forcing Mr. Khan to give up his bed. During the two-week period, Mr. Khan was beaten four times.
On November 27, the men again came to Hazara and demanded Mr. Khan’s mobile telephone. He refused, and they slapped him across the face, saying, “No one refuses us, we are the mafia.” Manager Rakesh Sherme went to Mr. Khan’s aid and was bluntly ordered to sit down while the men displayed the knives they were carrying.
They informed the frightened men that they expected $2000 protection money every month, and that they received this from Japanese, Korean and Chinese restaurants. Mr. Sherme, who has a heart condition and is unable to drink alcohol, was forcibly given three shots of vodka. A doctor was called, as Mr. Sherme’s blood pressure had risen dramatically. The doctor and Mr. Sherme’s girlfriend arrived at the same time.
The men turned violent, ripping out the phone so help could not be sought, and then kicked Mr. Sherme’s girlfriend in the face before setting about smashing up the restaurant. Mr. Sherme, his girlfriend and the assistant chef fled the scene, hailing a car outside, and went straight to the Indian Embassy, where they remained for the night.
”Those 15 days were some of the most horrible in my life. We were all scared, waiting for our boss to return, as we didn’t want to leave the restaurant unattended,” Mr. Sherme said.
Events took a bizarre turn the next day – one of the four men who had been acting as an interpreter for the gang came to the restaurant to apologise for the damage done. He was promptly arrested the the police, who were examining the scene of the crime. Three of the four men are now in police custody; the fourth has not been charged.
Mr. Sherme said, “The police have done a good job and assured us that there is no ‘mafia’ in Ulaanbaatar. They have been really helpful.”
Factory Penalised for Child Labour Violations
The United States Customs Service has banned the import of clothing produced at an Ulaanbaatar factory, following revelations that the Chinese-owned company uses child labour.
The Associated Press reported on November 28 that the company, Dong Fang Guo Ji, forces children to manufacture the textiles 14 hours a day, seven days a week. US Customs commissioner Raymond W. Kelley said the US does not import products made under conditions which are ‘morally, ethically and legally wrong.’
Officials report that working conditions at Dong Fang are poor, and the workers receive unreasonably low wages. Dong Fang exports products only to the United States.
In Bayan-Olgii, It’s Shape Up or Ship Out
Governor Kh. Badelkhan has given his aimag 45 days to shape up or ship out. Since November 1, the entire province has been ordered to clean up their homes and offices, pay off debts, and mind their social habits.
The newly elected governor, appointed by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) says he is following the government strategy of ‘bringing law and order back to the country.’
”We have neglected our responsibilities for too long. It’s time to get back to work and respect laws,” said Badelkhan in an interview with The Mongol Messenger.
Under the new order, workers must clean their offices, and herders should give special care to livestock. Everyone should repair their fences, paint walls and clean their homes. Debts must be paid back. Drinking is banned from the workplace. State employees must come to work on time and not leave before 5 p.m.
Those who ignore the order could be fined, or possibly lose their jobs. There are 12 commissions to oversee the project. Most agencies have reportedly been following the order, with only sporadic violation.
Kh. Mart, the Chief Editor of the Kazak radio station in Olgii, posted a ten-point plan for her employees to follow. They include no smoking or drinking, and regular reports to the superior.
”It is a good idea, and everyone is closely following the governor’s law,” said Mart.
Ninety percent of Bayan-Olgii is Kazak, and therefore Muslim. Local customs generally frown upon drinking and uncleanliness. The 45-day law has only strengthened these aspects of Kazak society.
The order, which ends on Friday, December 22, has reached the most distant points of this remote territory.
In Tsengel soum, Mongolia’s westernmost county, debtors are paying back their loans with sheep; and a village accountant is doling out overdue pensions. Lines of senior citizens have been waiting outside his office waiting for payment.
”These are busy days for us. Everyone seems to be working harder than usual,” said 61-year-old herder M. Yasiin, while out on a leisurely day of eagle hunting. “After these 45 days, the town will look much better.”
Book Review - by L. Collins
In the Empire of Genghis Khan by Stanley Stewart
Anybody who has read more than one travel book on Mongolia will recall that there is a checklist that travel writers tend to tick off: a visit to a nomadic family, Kazak eagle hunters, drunken Mongolians, a Shamanistic trance, dreary old Ulaanbaatar, gulping down unpalatable marmot meat – and living to tell the tale, and the legend of the ferocious Chinggis Khaan, often all neatly subsumed to the traveller’s inner spiritual journey, recounting semi-mystical experiences laid bare atop mountains.
It can grate.
Fortunately, Stanley Stewart is not of this ilk. His journey takes in all of the above, but his experiences are revealing and his narrative perceptive: he writes with good humour.
Describing his journey, he said, “I saw it as a journey across the uneasy frontiers between the sedentary and pastoral worlds.”
The journey begins in Istanbul, with Stewart visiting “Our Lady of Mongols’, the last Byzantine church in the city, founded during the 1280s by the widow of a Mongol Khaan.
From here, he journeys across the Black Sea to Sevastopol and on the Kazakstan before hopping on a flight to Olgii. Stewart follows in the footsteps of Friar William of Rubruck, who travelled from Constantinople in 1253 to convert the barbarian of central and north-east Asia. The friar didn’t have much luck, but generous quotes by Stewart offer revealing accounts of his experiences.
”I saw him, across seven centuries, as a travelling companion.”
Stewart sets out on horseback from Olgii city to undertake a journey among nomads. He crosses the Altai Mountains, passes through depressing aimag towns peopled with self-important officials and sad, Chekhovian characters, and conveys to his reader the utter waste of communist thought, the sap, sap, sap effect it has had upon the Mongolian people. “The dead hand of seventy years of Communist rule still lingers. The lack of initiative, the sloth, the unwillingness to take any action, however innocuous in case it exposes you to criticism, will remain part of the mentality of urban Mongolia for years to come.”
His hitchhiking experiences in the Gobi had me roaring with laughter. “We had no food. No one appeared to have eaten in twenty-four hours. We stopped only for grog.”
Characters in travel stories often become marionettes in the hands of their creators – some retouching and enhancing takes place to make them fit with the vision of their author, or raise a laugh or two. I never felt this with Stewart, who stumbles across many illuminating characters – the young bride, whose wedding party is accompanied by a traditional punch-up, the ancient lama and his description of the desecration of the monasteries, “They made us burn the temples ourselves,” and the naïve young guide, who upon leaving his territory, is terrified of falling prey to horse rustlers and ne’er-do-wells.
Stewart disproves the widely held view that Mongolians are a nation of barbarians and nomads, to be feared because of their itinerant lifestyle. He deftly captures the Mongolian psyche on the page, and clarifies and reveals, “To me, the Altai were an infinite landscape where the nearest neighbour was four hours’ ride away. To its inhabitants, the mountains were like a small village where gossip was the chief staple of conversatin.”
Highly feted by the British press, I have to agree – it is a very good book.
The Gobi Bear
According to Dr. Galsangiin Batsukh, the rare Gobi Bear (Mazalai) is in urgent need of protection. The Gobi Bear is an indigenous species found mainly in the Aj Bogd of the Altai Mountains, the mountains of Tost, Nemelt Bayanburd of Zarman, Tsagaan Bogd and Segs Tsagaan Bogd. The Gobi Bear survives on berries, grass roots, leaves and bamboo, and very rarely on rodents and birds – it is less carnivorous than its cousin, the brown bear.
According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), there are 56 species of bear, yet the Gobi Bear is not registered as a distinct species. It is listed in the Mongolian Red Book, which estimates that there are about 30 bears left. The population fluctuates yearly due to the harsh climate, and food and water shortages. Hunting for the Gobi Bear has been prohibited since 1953, although the bears are accidentally trapped and killed.
The Mazalai Foundation has been formed to protect and reproduce the Gobi Bear.
Help Reaches Out for Abused Women and Children
In the last five years, 627 women and 638 children have stayed at the “Against Rape and Abuse” shelter. The safe haven houses people escaping domestic violence.
A committee made up of members of the Mongolian Women Lawyers Foundation and the Mongolian Liberal Women Foundation started the organisation five years ago. The organisation advises women on their legal rights and gives emotional support to victims of abuse and/or rape.
”Against Rape and Abuse” has over ten branches in the countryside. The Asia World Women’s Foundation donates money to the cause.
In Mongolia, 40% of crimes are committed at home.
Census Numbers Released
According to a census undertaken by the State Census Commission, Mongolia’s population stands at 2,373,500. This is a 16.5% increase against the last census conducted in 1989, and means that there are 337,200 more people in Mongolia than there were ten years ago.
[…]Urban areas contain 1,344,500 of Mongolia’s citizens, and 32% of the populace live in the capital city.
The census reveals virtually an equal balance between the sexes – 50.4% of the total is female. When questioned, 51% of respondents over the age of fifteen said they were employed, 32% were unemployed, and 11% were seeking work.
A total of 541,000 households were counted, with 5% containing between 1-4 family members, 30% containing 5 to 6 members, and 12% having more than 7 members. 165,500 families are living in houses and apartments, while the remaining 275,600 live in gers. 247,700 families who live in gers reside in the countryside, 65.5% of which use candlelight, and 2.1% have phone connections. 94.6% of Ulaanbaatar’s population have electricity; 21.3% have telephones.
Over 97.8% of the Mongolian population over the age of 7 can read and write, and 48%, or 582,000 people, between the ages of 7 and 29 study in schools and universities.
Sant Maral Politbarometer - November 2000
The Sant Maral Foundation presents the results of the latest November survey. The representative sample of 1668 respondents from the capital Ulaanbaatar and Dornod, Bayankhongor, Khovd, and Khovsgol aimags was collected from November 9 to November 15, 2000. Data are presented to compare Rural and Capital City areas. The survey was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany.
If presidential elections were held tomorrow, which Parliament party candidate would you vote for?
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide MPRP 55% 25% 53% MNDP-MSDP 25% 26% 26% CWP 3% 4% 4% MDNSP 11% 8% 10% Missing/DK 6% 12% 9%
(rating based on valid percentage)
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide MPRP 61% 56% 59% MNDP 14% 11% 12% MSDP 3% 7% 5% CWP 3% 3% 3% MDNSP 9% 5% 7% DU Coalition 0% 3% 2% Republican Party 2% 4% 3% MDP 3% 2% 3% Other Parties 1% 1% 1% No Parties 4% 8% 6%
Satisfaction with Government
Very Satisfied 4% Fairly Satisfied 48% Rather Dissatisfied 41% Totally Dissatisfied 7%
Present Economic Situation in Mongolia
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide Very Good 1% 0% 1% Good 4% 2% 3% Average 28% 24% 26% Rather Bad 52% 54% 53% Bad 14% 20% 17%
Satisfaction with Present Political System
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide Very Satisfied 5% 4% 5% Fairly Satisfied 47% 39% 43% Rather Dissatisfied 37% 45% 41% Totally Dissatisfied 6% 9% 8% No Answer 5% 3% 4%
In your opinion, which state form suits Mongolia best?
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide Presidential Republic 37% 40% 38% Parliamentary Republic 22% 22% 22% Recent Half-Presidential Republic 26% 23% 25% None of Them 2% 3% 3%
What are the most important socio-political or economic problems
in Mongolia today?
(each respondent could give two answers;
only the ten highest-ranking problems are shown)
Unemployment 25% Poverty 21.3% Manufacturing 19% Education 13.3% National Economy 10.2% Quality of Life 10.1% Corruption 5.8% Rule of Law 5.7% Alcoholism 5.2% Low Morals 4.9%
Quality of Present Personal and Family Life
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide Very Good 1% 1% 1% Good 11% 12% 12% Average 35% 39% 37% Rather Bad 43% 41% 42% Bad 11% 8% 9%
Which country is the best partner for Mongolia?
No names were suggested. Each respondent could mention
up to two countries.
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide Russia 67% 58% 63% China 11% 16% 13% USA 19% 25% 22% EU 6% 10% 8% Japan 20% 20% 20% Others 9% 12% 11%
What do you think is the most important in Mongolia for transparency
and accountability of the ruling party?
(Up to two responses could be selected)
Countryside Ulaanbaatar Nationwide To develop a strong political opposition 36% 36% 36% To strengthen the rule of law 57% 58% 58% State should introduce additional control units 12% 14% 13% To have responsible and reliable mass media 17% 15% 16% To develop a strong NGO sector 7% 8% 8% Active citizen participation in country affairs 34% 35% 35%
Confidence in State Institutions
President Parliament Judiciary System State Organisations Political Parties Very Confident 15% 6% 3% 1% 2% Rather Confident 44% 42% 17% 24% 19% Not Very Confident 17% 25% 37% 35% 35% Not At All Confident 9% 9% 23% 28% 24%
DK = Don’t know CSP = Citizens’ Will Party DU Coalition = Democratic Union Coalition MDP = Mongolian Democratic Party MNDP = Mongolian National Democratic Party MPRP = Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (ex-Communists) MDNSP = Mongolian Democratic National Socialist Party