Our Empire Was Bigger Than Yours, Mongol Leader Taunts Putin

Tsakhia Elbegdorg/X
Tsakhia Elbegdorg/X

The former president of Mongolia has thrown shade at Vladimir Putin’s much-ridiculed claim in an interview with Tucker Carlson that Ukraine has always been a part of the Russian empire.

Present-day Mongolia was itself under the Russian yoke for much of the 20th century as a communist satellite controlled by the Soviet Union.

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But well before then, as former President Tsakhia Elbegdorj pointed out on X, the Mongols ruled over history's largest contiguous land empire—including modern-day Russia.

“After Putin’s talk. I found Mongolian historic map. Don’t worry. We are a peaceful and free nation,” he tweeted.

The Kremlin chief has been widely criticized for the historically muddled claims made in the rambling two-hour “interview” with Carlson in Moscow last week, when he started with the arrival of the Nordic chief Rurik in the city of Novgorod in 862 to rule over the Rus’ tribe.

For Putin that was proof of Russian statehood dating back to the ninth century, but historians questioned his interpretation, pointing out that it could equally be seen as proof of the primacy of Kyiv over early medieval Muscovy.

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In his ahistorical rant, Putin also forgot to mention that for much of the subsequent period Moscow, Kyiv and Novgorod all fell under the Mongol Empire, which at its peak in the 13th century, under Genghis Khan and his descendants, stretched 6,000 miles across Eurasia, far greater in size than the Russian or Soviet empires ever reached.

Elbegdorj, 60, was one of the leaders of the 1990 revolution to end communist rule and went on to serve as both prime minister and president of independent Mongolia. His supporters call him the “Golden Sparrow of Democracy.”

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