It has been a hectic past few weeks here in Ulaanbaatar. First, the President of China, Xi Jinping came for a visit to sign bilateral trade and development agreements with Mongolia. Tomorrow, none other than Vladimir Putin himself is making his way to the capital of Mongolia.
Russian influence in Mongolia dates back to 1921 with the defeat of the Chinese. Communism gave way to democracy with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Mongolia has made strides in adopting a free market economy ever since.
The back to back visits from Mongolia’s neighboring leaders comes at a time when the Mongolian economy is struggling to find its way after a series of missteps that crippled the economic boom of only a few years ago.
With the chaos of the Ukraine, the imposition of sanctions by the EU on Russia, and the close relationship that Mongolia shares with the United States, it will be interesting to see what sort of energy and political deals are struck between the two countries.
The vulnerabilities exposed due to the economic downturn make this country susceptible to the helping hands of their neighbors that may not have the long term interests of Mongolia in mind.
Danger invites rescue but at what cost?
Guess we will find out a little bit more about that tomorrow.