The skewed view of history voiced by groups such as the M.Y.A. is another of the naiveties that engulfs the nation. While under Soviet rule, Mongolians were taught that the Nazis were “bad” but were not schooled on the Holocaust. More recently, education in many schools has passed over the Second World War altogether. “In my opinion,” writes a man called Tuvshin after a survey he conducted suggested 90 percent of Mongolians believe in the politics of the Nazis, “this reflects the opinion of Mongolians who believe in a history transcribed by poor literature and ineffective secondary schooling. So it’s inevitable that we have racist attackers who call themselves neo-Nazis, yet who believe they support human rights and the nation.”
A lack of education and the amount of ‘poor historical literature’ also provides explanations for a Nazi themed pub which contains Nazi flags, Third Reich political posters, display cases of mannequins dressed in Nazi uniforms and photos of Goebbels, Himmler and the likes. It accounts for groups of motorcyclists partly dressed in SS uniform, taxis adorned in the red and black flag of the facists, and the abundance of photos of Hitler hanging beside portraits of other famous world leaders found in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, the irony of believing the rhetoric of the Third Reich is not lost on those Mongolians caught in Russia’s current wave of nationalism. As reported in the RIA Novosti in 2006, “Two Mongolian students were beaten on Saturday in the St. Petersburg subway. Routine attacks by skinheads and youth gangs on foreigners with non-Slavic features have also been reported in other Russian cities.” More recently, Mongolians were victims of Neo-Nazi attacks in Prague and in southern Germany.
Back in Ulaanbaatar, news such as this does little to deter the enthusiasm of the M.Y.A. They even take on similarities in their aggressive methods to stamp out foreign interest and influence. “All members study the art of fighting including battle sambo and karate and we are in training …
Someone who protests our activity can’t overcome us.”
In a 2002 address to the United Nations by the Mongolian government’s former representative, P. Gansukh, a correlation between social issues and the rise in right-wing nationalism within his country was noted. “My delegation wishes to single out the fact that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are closely linked with the socio-economic factors. Inequitable economic and social conditions can breed and foster racism and racial discrimination, while reduction of poverty and unemployment, overcoming economic backwardness would affect the human rights protection positively.” In another ironic twist, according to Murgun-Erdene, it was on the government’s advice that he registered M.Y.A. as an NGO. The Ministry of Justice suggested a number of smaller parties “with the same goal in mind” unite to strengthen the organisation politically and economically.
Complicity with government offices and organisations is also
evident in an article found on the Montsame news site. It reports that members of Dayar Mongol “joined with the Police Department of Sukhbaatar district” to check that Chinese and Korean shops and companies had removed any signs written in their native tongue and had them replaced with Cyrillic script. The ‘raid’ was initially instigated by Dayar Mongol after sending these companies a three-day written warning.
Working in close proximity with the government does not mean, for Murgun-Erdene, that the M.Y.A. allies itself to any political party, nor politics at large. “We don’t fiddle with politics. We want to purge and improve current society. Our main goals are to remain Mongolian and to keep Mongolian blood fresh and to establish good order.” While he believes both the ruling MPRP and their opposition, the DP, are “wrong in their ideals,” he does not outline why. Dayar Mongol are not so timid. They believe, the UB Post reported in 2007, that “high ranking officials are corrupt and are giving the land to foreigners.” To tackle the issue not only did they stage a number of protests in Sukhbaatar Square, but members of both Blue Mongolia and Dayar Mongol ran for parliament in the 2008 elections, both failing in their attempt. That was not due to a lack of public support, noted the Asian Gypsy blog, but a lack of campaign experience, a lack of publicity, and a lack of substantial finance.
Mongolia graffiti, Genghis Khan, Mongolia Nazis
“Oddly, most Mongolian neo-Nazis don’t want to promote the death of human beings, which they also think leads to them being able to implement Nazism correctly, which the Germans could not do. In my opinion, though they call themselves Nazis, they don’t understand the concept of being a Nazi,” writes a Mongolian citizen. Yet racial hatred -and a nation’s complicity- is not so far from implementing ‘Nazi concepts.’ Add to that an ignorance that comes with a lack of education, a yearning to better -in some degree- what other great leaders had previously tried, an increase in the divide between rich and poor, and an insidious pattern takes on a dimension reminiscent of 1920s Germany.
Whether nationalism spreads to the extent it did 80 years ago remains to be seen. Yet even if racial hatred grows to a small percentage of what occurred in Germany under the rule of Hitler, that in–of-itself is a frightening concept. Unfortunately, if the spate of graffiti, the rise in racial attacks, or the general public’s opinion of their southern neighbour is a measure of racial intolerance, the ‘small percentage’ mark has already been surpassed. Slow as the bubbling may seem, if government organisations, the public, international companies and the naivety of those who broadcast the rhetoric, begin to believe their own propaganda, what began as a slow simmer may eventually begin to boil.
by Kirril Shields
THE UB POST