In 1916 following death of the first President of China Yuan Shikai, situation in already unstable country has drastically deteriorated and civil war for government powers reached its peak.
(translation from Mongolian to English)
In 1916 following death of the first President of China Yuan Shikai, situation in already unstable country has drastically deteriorated and civil war for government powers reached its peak. While South China was in hands of Sun Yat-seng’s Kuomintang, in Manchuria Zhang Zolin has completely established control. Capital Beijing was occupied in turn and fought over for by Anhui and Jilin clicks. It is said that in total several hundred independent clicks and groups were fighting each other.
After establishing control over Beijing, members of Anhui group in order to increase their reputation and attract public attention have appointed general Xu Shuzheng a Chief in charge of Northern border and sent him to Outer Mongolia. Accordingly, this ambitious man that remained in history as “little Xu” has led about 6-10 thousand soldiers and arrived in Khuree(now Ulaanbaatar). As soon as he arrived he had representative (Governor) Cheng Yi resign viewing that he is too soft and has been pampering Mongolians, annulled with his own initiative and efforts agreement of three countries of 1915, performed a ceremony tearing down autonomy of Mongolia and confiscated weapons and arms. Foreign occupants have taken control of Mongolia and obliterated its state.
Nobles led by Bogd khan (Holy King) lost any idea what to do, panicked and ran around supporting every proposal against the invaders coming from below. They have sent messengers asking from help from American consul residing at Kalgan and (US) embassy in Beijing. They even have sent an envoy to Japan. More than that, they have approached White Russian government of Kolchak headquartered in Omsk.
The event that remained as a most controversial legend later in history (in reality most misrepresented) is sending 7 people to request help from Far Eastern republic or Soviet Russia. They have been sent off entrusted with one document stamped with seal of People’s party and one document stamped with seal of Bog Khan in case either of those might be of use.
Red Russians have refused from accepting desires of Mongolian envoys. Danzan even met with Lenin, however, the latter has given humorous advice that is necessary to unite with poor Chinese and fight rich Chinese. Proposal of some impassioned Bolsheviks to do a Red Revolution in Mongolia using this as an excuse was not supported when it reached higher levels. Since Bolsheviks wanted to reconcile with Chinese who were divided confronting each other, issue of Outer Mongolia’s independence seemed too ridiculous for them. This way neither Red Russia, nor White Russia, America or Japan did not care about Mongolia’s independence. Mongolia was abandoned.
Sometimes history is full of unexpected events. Who would have thought that one brazen fellow of whom (Mongolia) did not even knew he existed let alone considered would restore back Mongolia’s sovereignty. A fellow called Roman Ungern von Sternberg, recently freed from prison, was awarded rank of a general for fighting well in the forces of ataman (military leader)Semenov who was fighting Red (Russian)s in vicinity of Baikal lake. Without any permission from anybody he led few hundred fighters and suddenly showed up in Mongolia in autumn of (nineteen) twenty. The purpose: chase way Chinese invaders and restore Bogd Khan back to the throne. He was a bit insane fellow with grandiose mania. In 1912 he was the one who galloped in alone through horse changing stations to participate in war to free Khovd, was detained by (Russian) consul and chased back. He constantly talked about restoring to throne each one of khans and emperor of three countries of Manchuria, Mongolia and China back to their thrones. Believing in that he even married Manchu princess (himself).
There were about 10 thousand chineese soldiers in Khuree. Ungern attacked only with fighters not reaching even a thousand, caused bit of panic and had no choice but to retreat. While wintering around Uu cape, getting support from Mongolian nobles who wanted to be freed from Chinese he had reinforced himself well with food provisions, weapons and fighters. In a rush, Chinese have imprisoned Bogd Khan but (the baron) managed to break him out of prison sending military division. Thus, the baron got about two thousand fighters and just before Tsagaan Sar(Traditional New Year) of 1921 attacked Khuree and chased off chinese troops. He chased soldiers of General Go Sunli who fled to the direction of Choir and slaughtered them. He also without much effort pursued main force of 5-6 thousand soldiers of General Chu Lizeng and annihilated them.
Ceremony of restoration of Bogd Khan back to the throne was celebrated in much glory. Moreover, Bogd Khan established new government headed by Manzshir Khutagt (title translated as “high priest”) Tserendorj and restored his five ministries. The first currency issued is called in history “baron’s conditions”. What is more, a medals for liberation of Khuree were created and awarded and to this date are treasured by collectors. The picture of him wearing deel with shoulder straps sewn on and vest over it was a Mongolian army uniform of that time introduced by the baron. Khoshoi chin van ( title given to baron, literally translated as “ twice valorous prince”) Ungern von Sternberg was not only a liberator but was the one who established new Mongolia laying first cause to safe keep further and further its sovereignty. If it were not for the baron’s deeds indeed probability is particularly high that destiny of sovereign Mongolia would have turned out drastically different.
After liberation of Khuree by Ungern, suddenly Red Russians became interested in having its army enter Mongolia. Bodoo who came back from Russia wrote “Letter of Khuree comrades” and, since for once chinese were chased away, was calling on comrades in Kyakhta urgently come back. On the other hand, Bolsheviks have requested permission to enter their troops from Beijing and were promising to not harm in any way the Chinese and only to chase Ungern away. Along with that, in order to get Red army to be invited to enter Mongolia they even established Provisional Government in exile. This way Red (Russian) s played a spectacle for both China and Mongolia. Mongolia had no other business for Red (Russian)s to have them enter their land other than chase away Chinese. Yet, Governor Chen Yi was defeated by the baron, came along with 1500 soldiers at the border point Kyakhta and was sitting around begging for help from Red(Russian)s. In village Troitskosavsk on Russian border Bolsheviks have made agreement to let in Kuomintang soldiers to return them home through Chita. Along with that, to chase away chinese soldiers who were in Kyakhta not only they assisted Mongolians by arming them but reinforced them with Russian soldiers dressed in Mongolian deels. So by swaying both China and Mongolia, Red Army have entered (Mongolia) by “desire” of them both. They really kept their promise and have not touched Chinese but massacred international coalition consisting of Russian, Mongolian, Buryat, Tibetan and Japanese fighters of the Baron who freed Mongolia and got its sovereignty. Traitor called Sundui gun captured the baron and delivered to Red (Russian)s. It is told that he was kept in prison with those who captured and handed over him.
It is said that when in autumn Ungern was executed in Novonikolayevsk, in reverence for the liberator baron by decree of Bog Khan all monasteries of Mongolia read prayers for his soul at the same time. After that history has turned different way. Brave young men who did not spare their lives liberating their motherland from foreign invaders in the baron’s army were wronged. Their descendants generations later were repressed for crimes of their fathers and grandfather who served in the baron’s army, and the majority were shot in 37. A movie “Sukhbaatar” made in Tashkent is a display of altering history. Ex-bodyguard of Danzan Sukhbaatar, ex-bodyguard of Bodoo Choibalsan turned into liberators of Mongolia from Chinese.
During hundred years until today Mongolians competed among themselves cursing, vilifying and defamating the man who freed them and created a blueprint of the current independent country. It is true, of course, that he destroyed many Chinese, Jews and communists. That’s why is he is named “Bloody Baron” in history, yet he spoke Mongolian well, Ungern who had Buddhist religion have not been killing Mongolians, on the contrary, he was very close (to them). Even now Mongolians do not recognize official Government that was in his time. Manzshir Hutagt Prime Minister was deleted from and not counted in the history and later was shot. Names of minister of M(inistry of)F(oreign) A(ffairs)Dashzegve, Finance Minister Luvsantseren, Minister of Ministry of Justice Chimiddorj were “chased away” from history. Name of this aristocrat from ancient noble family turned only into a device for generations of Mongolian artists such as writers and directors to get awards by cursing and vilifying him. Perhaps it would be more too much to talk about here historians. Later a Russian immigrant historian has summed up Mongolians as shameless, dishonest, ungrateful and mean people.
In 1990 Mongolians have truly found sovereignty and became fully independent country. There is no place where Government did not go to, no person that Government did not beg to mine deposits such as Tavantolgoi on which cooperation with others was prohibited by Soviets. Only between 1990-2000 so called “Three Tops of the State” (President, Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister) have officially requested investment to Mongolia over 200 times speaking all over the place. Yet world market is not such an easy game. Giant companies such as BP, BHP, Anglogold would come in, sniff and smell and then get out. The country needs money, the only things to sell are minerals, yet no one pays attention. It did not even help promising to provide breaks by issuing a law. Since there is no infrastructure, main wealth – coal is not attractive, there are no lucrative minerals such as diamonds and rare earth elements, since no sizable copper deposit was found this desolate country several thousand kilometers away from the ocean was not interesting for anybody.
Then also little bit brazen fellow called Canadian businessman Robert Friedland have come to try his luck in this deserted desolate country, that’s a fact. Then he got exploration rights for a place called Oyutolgoi that world’s largest company BHP deserted without finding anything, took a risk and spent almost a billion dollars, that’s a fact too. Even though he was to go bankrupt if he did not find anything, luck smiled on him and he found world's largest copper deposit from Mongolia’s Gobi desert, that’s a fact too. Luck smiled even more on Mongolians than on Friedland. It is said that to find a similar deposit in Indonesia geologists explored above it for 30 years. Only a somewhat crazy person would make such a risky step. If Oyutolgoi was not found, if a man called Friedland did not took on such unbelievably bold risk, Mongolia today would be still today a deserted desolate country that no one is interested in. That’s a rock solid truth.
In order to not bankrupt the large capital he already invested in it, Friedland is promoting Mongolia all over the world in impossibly good ways. He is straightforward lying that there is no corruption whatsoever in Mongolia, law is reliable, courts are just, government keeps its words, Parliament is great, MPs are honest and so on. Promotion of Mongolia by Friedland done for his own self not only keeps interest of Western companies from waning but even indeed attracts here the ones that don't know. That’s a fact too. Robert truly is one of people who created one of the key clues to the rise of new Mongolia in 21st century.
So what that he is called “toxic Bob” in some place, he has not done anything bad to Mongolians, on the contrary, he only helped, that is undeniable truth. It is a historical truth that rare businessmen who are not afraid of taking risks to find fortune like him brought development of this current world. Yet in Mongolia his name is used instead of curse. To badmouth him is a one big excuse to show oneself a patriot. Indeed, to declare someone who is connected to him, spoke to him, smiled at him a people's enemy and show oneself a patriot is one step to get award for our generation.