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FOR many years past Mongolia has been loosely divided into two areas: Inner and Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia, which borders on China, has been incorporated into new special administrative areas in China, and is therefore politically indistinguishable from that country. Outer Mongolia, with which this article is concerned, has an area about a third of that of the United States, and supports a population of nearly 700,000, most of whom are half-nomadic. Over this huge domain, which abuts for more than a thousand miles on Asiatic Russia, Moscow now exercises what to all intents and purposes is an overlordship, keeping Outer Mongolia practically closed to the outside world. For this reason reliable information about Mongolian conditions is difficult to obtain.
Outer Mongolia has long been a football between China and Russia not only because of its position as a buffer state but also because of its chronic weakness. In the seventeenth