But the question is, was it legitimate according to the "Rule of the World"? Most UN countries condemned Russia's action. The UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine invalid with 100 countries in favor and 11 against. Is that a sign that Russia is being more isolated form the global community?
Mongolia was among the 58 "abstaining" countries. Maybe we didn't want to hurt the "feelings" both of Ukraine and Russia. Our southern neighbor China was among the "abstained". As Security Council member , China "abstained" also in the Security Council Resolution vote, "being supportive" to its ally Russia who voted "No". Nothing unusual that China supports Russia as it always did lately to keep a balance against western powers, by partnering with Russia on almost every world-level issues. On the other hand, China's decision contradicts with its policy to keep the "World map" as it is drawn today. In other words, China would not allow or encourage any "separatist movement". What if the so called Inner Mongolia (aka Southern Mongolia, today an autonomous region in the north of China) wants to have a referendum about joining the Mongolia, the core of the native Mongols. Or what about the Xinjiang (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region in northwest of China) ? What if the Uyghurs wanted a referendum to get the independence?
Back in the 13, 14th centuries when Mongols raised to world power, invading its neighbors, Russia and China, and ruled for many years thereafter, it really was not possible then to withstand the "nomadic dominance". With fighting in all over the foreign lands which caused a great shrinking of the population and losing of the man power, and by spreading its people all over the places to settle down, it influenced very negatively on reproduction of Mongol people. Plus the endless internal fights between the Khans (Kings) caused division ( four separate Khanates emerged) among the Mongols and made them weak, and eventually all led to dissolving of the Mongol Empire. A weak Mongolia was an easy prey for others who managed to save themselves during the Mongol rule, especially in regards to the man power.
Russia and China were getting more powerful and Mongolia was a helpless "disabled" man whose fate was to decide by those two neighbors. Until actually 1990, Mongolia was de facto "not independent" (de jure: yes) , but since then everything has changed and Mongolia is on the rise again.
Mongolia's history is a mystery. After one of the four Khanates, Yuan empire (or Yuan dynasty) which controlled a large territories including all of China, Tibet, Korea, and homeland Mongolia, was overthrown by the native Han Chinese (Chinese Ming dynasty was established) in 1368, Mongols returned to their homeland Mongolia. There wasn't much going on between China and Mongolia afterwards, both minding their own troubles within their borders, when Manchu people, a non-Chinese people from Manchuria, got powerful and invaded China in 1644 and established so called Manchu empire (aka Qing dynasty). Mongolia wasn't saved from this semi-nomadic people's invasion too. Manchus occupied the southern part of Mongolia first, giving it the name "Inner Mongolia", and later defeated northern Mongolian kings, using their disunity, and made it a vassal state, calling it "Outer Mongolia". Outer Mongolia was granted more autonomous status and an agreement was signed. Mongol warriors gave military assistance to the Manchus during the Qing period. Calling Qing dynasty as Chinese is totally wrong, even though the Manchus later adopted more culture from the natives. Manchus' policy was seeking friendship and cooperation with the Mongols, and the Chinese were not allowed to settle down in Mongolian territories and to marry Mongolian women during the Manchu rule. But in 1907 Manchu rulers declared the law of 1762 as invalid hence stripping off the special status they granted to "Outer Mongolia".
Soon after that Han Chinese revolution in 1911 put an end to the Manchu empire and the Republic of China (ROC) was established. Using this opportunity, Mongolia declared its independence since Manchu empire didn't exist anymore. Manchu authorities were kicked out of Mongolia and Bogd Khan was declared as the Mongolian king. The fate of Inner Mongolia was not decided. Tibet declared also its independence, and Mongolia and Tibet have recognized each other in a treaty. The Republic of China didn't want to recognize Mongolian independence, and Mongols wouldn't accept the new Republic as the Manchu empire's successor. Due to the turbulent situation in the world and wars, Mongolia's independence couldn't be an important topic for the other countries and it wasn't recognized by others.
In 1915, Mongolia was forced by Russia and China to sign a treaty (named the three-parties-treaty with Russia, China,and Mongolia) which made Mongolia a part of the Republic of China. Later on, in 1924 and 1934, both powers confirmed Mongolia's status in their agreements and talks.
During the World War 2, Soviet-Russia's interest in Mongolia grew more, considering to make Mongolia a buffer state, a zone which would protect southern borders of Soviets in case of a third-party- attack. Stalin insisted on Mongolia's "independence" during the Yalta-meeting of "Big three" (US, US, SU) and for Mongolia that was the begin of being recognized as an independent country by the world countries. China was of course against this decision, but couldn't do anything against the "Big three". As a last resort, China wanted to "make sure" if the Mongols wanted the independence and asked to have a plebiscite. The choice was unanimous and in January 6, 1946, China recognized Mongolia's independence, and little later, on February 28th, Soviet Union did the same. In fact, before that Mongolia was long ago a satellite state of Soviet Union since 1921, a Soviet-dominated Mongolian People's Republic, even tough it was de jure still a China's region by 1915 treaty. But every Mongol thought that his country has become independent in 1921 already when Mongolian army defeated Chinese forces stationed in Mongolia and kicked them out of the country. Soviets helped the fleeing Chinese soldiers to go home safely by granting them a transport through its territory to China. But we were not "independent" as we believed or told, and the dream came true only in 1946 as mentioned above. Our Soviet friends had been showing two faces since 1921, saying to us "You are the second Socialist country in the world!" (the first being the Soviets), tapping on our shoulders, but turning around, they would say to the Chinese, "We know that Mongolia is yours".
|Republic of China's (Taiwan's) "regions"|
By the way, I have read once that there is an historical document revealing an agreement between a Mongol Khan and a Chinese King stating that both sides will obey that all territories north of Great Chinese Wall belong to the Mongols, and all territories to the south of that wall should be Chinese lands. If we should stick to this document, since we all consider ourselves as the successor of the Mongol khan and the Chinese king respectively, then we Mongols should claim the territory to the north of the Great Chinese Wall for ourselves, if not all, then at least the Inner Mongolia's territory, right? And people know that the Great Chinese Wall was built to mark the northern border of Chinese territory and should be a barricade or a fortress to protect from the attacks by the Mongols. Even though it was not much of use during the Mongol invasion ( Mongol Yuan empire), one should nevertheless always consider this fact when talking about historical boundaries between China and Mongolia. I don't think that this wall was built to make a tourist attraction, making even the American President Obama so curios that he even couldn't help to stroll along it. No, nobody would buy it, trust me.
With Crimean referendum being a hot topic, I heard that Chinese twitter users have recently discussed about the possibility of having a referendum in Mongolia with couple of Russian-style questions, and with this behavior they proved again that they don't want (and don't like) to acknowledge Mongolia's sovereignty over its territory and its independence. One might wonder why are the Chinese so hated by the Mongols. Well, the answer is obvious. The Chinese people, of the ROC and PRC alike, are the ones who nurture this mentality. Don't they get it?