Russia, abundant in natural resources including oil and natural gas, is hoping to assist its neighbour Mongolia to reduce dependence on its another big but ambitious neighbour China and in the process increase its past influence.
Moscow is planning the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline which will become an extension of Russia’s Power of Siberia 2 natural gas pipeline into Mongolia. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom has opened a subsidiary company called Gazoprovod Soyuz Vostok in Mongolia.
The issue of the gas pipeline is likely to have been discussed during Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh’s recent visit to Moscow she met with Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee. It is important to note Moscow was the destination of her maiden foreign trip after taking over as the Foreign Minister.
In 2021 Russia and Mongolia will mark a century of establishing diplomatic relations and both have comprehensive strategic partnership. Mongolia’s Defense Minister Gursed Saikhanbayar met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu last month to discuss the development of military-technical relations.
“…more than 60% of Mongolians who undertake military training abroad are in the Russian Federation. The two countries also regularly hold annual joint field training exercises,” according to a recent article in The Asia Times. Mongolia also shares warm military ties with India which it views as its third neighbour.
Mongolia’s huge reserves of high-quality coal may soon be exported globally via the ports of the Russian Far East at Vlapostok and the Vostochny coal terminal as part of Mongolia’s efforts to balance China which has increased coal imports from Mongolia.
“Maintaining good neighborly cooperation with Russia is necessary for Mongolia’s balanced foreign policy,” according to the Asia Times report. Russia is trying to regain its influence in Mongolia which it lost after the breakup of Soviet Union. “Russian energy holding companies Inter RAO and Rotek could soon take part in the modernization of existing thermal power plants in the Mongolian capital. And once the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline is fully operational, Moscow could increase not only its economic but also its political influence in Mongolia,” the Asia Times reported.