By irony, taking Vladimir Putin into his own trap. This is how the former president of Mongolia chose to react to the interview of the head of the Kremlin with the American journalist Tucker Carlson, broadcast Thursday evening. In this lengthy interview, the Russian president once again justified the invasion of Ukraine using historical arguments, returning in an interminable 23-minute monologue on the history of Russia since the 9th century to demonstrate that the Ukrainian nation had never existed.
Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who was prime minister of Mongolia before taking over as president from 2009 to 2017, mocked this argument by publishing a map of the Mongolian empire over the centuries on Monday on the social network We see Russia ridiculously small compared to its powerful neighbor. Notably on one of the four maps, dated from the 15th century, where an orange spot in the immense red empire is marked with the legend: “Russia in 1471”. “Don’t worry,” quips the former head of state to the head of the Kremlin. We are a peaceful and free nation.
This dig from the former Mongolian president is based on the period of Russian history called the "Tatar yoke" or "Mongol yoke", which began in 1237 with the invasion of Rus' or Ruthenia by the Mongol khans of the Horde Golden. The disparate Russian principalities were then vassalized within the Mongol Empire, which still remains the largest state in history today (24 to 33 million square kilometers at its peak). This period of domination lasted until 1480, when Ivan III refused to pay the tribute demanded by the Mongols and put an end to their yoke.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Mongolia, without officially supporting Moscow, has not condemned the Russian invasion. Tsakhia Elbegdorj has always clearly expressed his support for Ukraine. He also studied journalism in this country then in the United States, before returning to Mongolia to pursue a career in politics.
He declared in February 2023: “The world’s democracies must come together with even greater determination to declare that freedom is non-negotiable and give Ukraine the weapons it needs to win.” The ex-president also described Vladimir Putin as a “deep narcissist” who cannot “afford to see more prosperous neighbors”.