Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Mongolia's trade with Russia declined by 80% and China's relations and influence over Mongolia increased. However, Russia has sought to rebuild strong relations with Mongolia in recent years to enhance its standing as a regional power. In 2000, then Russian President Vladimir Putin made a landmark visit to Mongolia —the first by a Russian head of state since Leonid Brezhnev in 1974 and one of the first of Putin's presidency— and renewed a major bilateral treaty. The visit and improvement in bilateral relations was popularly welcomed in Mongolia as countering China's influence. Russia lowered the prices of oil and energy exports to Mongolia and enhanced cross-border trade. The Russian government wrote off 98% of Mongolia's state debt and an agreement was signed to build an oil pipeline from Russia to China through Mongolia.
How does Russia benefit from a strong relationship with Mongolia? The article seems to claim that it wants to enhance its standing as a regional power, but surely there are other factors that are at play here? From the looks of it, Russia doesn't have much to gain economically, and there seems to be some geopolitical reasons why Russia would want a strong relationship with Mongolia. What are the benefits Russia may gain from a strong relationship with Mongolia?