Young Kalmyks, who run a clothing business in the Russian market, have decided to move to Mongolia due to pressure and threats from nationalists.
Aldar Eredjenov is the founder of the 4 Oirat clothing company. After Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow authorities launched a propaganda campaign under the slogan "We are all Russians." Even throughout Kalmykia, “I am a Kalmyk. Today, we are all Russians.”
Eredjenov did not like it, so he created a new clothing brand "Нерусский" (not Russian).
In other words, he believed that non-Russian minorities should also be proud of their origins and ethnicity.
"First of all, I am a Kalmyk. But then a Russian citizen. The brand I chose was not anti-Russian culture or anti-Russian. Many people living in Russia are not of Russian descent. We should not be ashamed of it. "The word “Нерусский” has no negative connotations, but a call not to be ashamed of its non-Russian origins," he explained.
Eredjenov's company was originally based in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. However, Eredjenov was among many Kalmyks who opposed the appointment of the former head of the Donetsk region, which has seceded from Ukraine, as mayor in 2019.
He was pressured by the city authorities to relocate the company to Moscow.
However, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nationalism and state propaganda have intensified, and Eredzhenov has been receiving anonymous threats.
For security reasons, he decided to relocate his company's operations and equipment to Mongolia.
"It's difficult to live in Russia," he said. Russia's state-run television says there is no ethnic conflict, but the reality is different. The leadership of this country pretends not to see it and is hypocritical, ”Eredjenov said.