The Symbolism Behind Mongolia’s “Steppe Road” Transit Corridor
(60th Meeting, 2017)
In recent years there has been much discussion of various Eurasian „Silk Road‟ economic development plans. China calls its ambitious continental and maritime integrative system the
„New Silk Road‟ or “One Belt One Road” (OBOR). Meanwhile, Russia has labelled its economic plan “Greater Eurasia” and promotes it through its Eurasia Economic Union (EEC). Moreover, Russians have embraced the term “Great Tea Road,” which is used to promote transcontinental tourism.
Mongolia also has its own Asian transit concept that is named “Steppe Road.” Originally a domestic development strategy, it has morphed in the past few years into a transit and infrastructure trans-border proposal designed to allow Mongolia to break free from its landlocked status and diversify its potential trade partners. This paper will examine the origins of the term “Steppe Road” juxtaposed to the Chinese concept of “Grasslands Road,” and then will define its place within the „Silk Road‟ lexicon. The symbolism of the Steppe Road‟s national image-making throughout the Altaic World will be delineated.