Mongolian People's Republic

The Mongolian People's Republic (MPR; Mongolian: Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс, БНМАУ, Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Uls) was a socialist state that existed from 1924 to 1992, located in the historical region of Outer Mongolia in East Asia. Until 1990, it was a one-party state ruled by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, and maintained close political and economic ties with the Soviet Union, as part of the Eastern Bloc.

Mongolian People's Republic
ᠪᠦᠭᠦᠳᠡ
ᠨᠠᠢᠢᠷᠠᠮᠳᠠᠬᠤ
ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ
ᠠᠷᠠᠳ
ᠤᠯᠤᠰ
[a]
Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс[b]
Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Uls
1924–1992
Flag of Mongolia
Flag
(1945–1992)
Emblem (1960–1992) of Mongolia
Emblem
(1960–1992)
Motto: 
Орон бүрийн пролетари нар нэгдэгтүн!
Oron büriin prolyetari nar negdegtün!
"Workers of the world, unite!"
Anthem: 
Монгол Интернационал
Mongol Intyernatsional
"Mongol Internationale"
(1924–1950)
Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улсын сүлд дуулал
Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Ulsyn süld duulal
"State Anthem of the Mongolian People's Republic"
(1950–1992)[1]
Mongolian People's Republic in 1989
Mongolian People's Republic in 1989
StatusSatellite state of the Soviet Union[2][3] (until 1990)
Capital
and largest city
Ulaanbaatar
Official languagesMongolian
Religion
State atheism (official)
Demonym(s)Mongolian[c]
GovernmentUnitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic (1924–1990)
Unitary multi-party constitutional republic (1990–1992)
Head of state 
• 1924–1927 (first)
Peljidiin Genden
• 1990–1992 (last)
Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat
Head of government 
• 1924–1928 (first)
Balingiin Tserendorj
• 1990–1992 (last)
Dashiin Byambasüren
LegislatureLittle Khural (presidium; 1924–1951)
State Little Khural (1990–1992)
People's Great Khural
Historical eraInterwar period · World War II · Cold War
1 March 1921
26 November 1924
20 October 1945
25 October 1961
29 June 1990
12 February 1992
Area
• Total
1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi)
Population
• 1992 estimate
2,318,000
HDI (1992)0.560[4]
medium
CurrencyTögrög (MNT)
Time zoneUTC+7/+8[5]
• Summer (DST)
UTC+8/+9[6]
ISO 3166 codeMN
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bogd Khanate of Mongolia
Mongolia
Today part ofMongolia

Outer Mongolia gained independence from Qing China in 1911, and enjoyed brief autonomy before it was seized by the Republic of China in 1919. After a Soviet-backed revolution in 1921, the Mongolian People's Republic was established in 1924. It was led from 1939 to 1952 by Khorloogiin Choibalsan, who carried out Stalinist purges in the country, and from 1952 to 1984 by Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, who allied with the Soviets during the 1960s Sino-Soviet split. In 1990, protests for democracy resulted in reforms which established a multi-party system and a market economy, and a new constitution in 1992 ended the socialist republic.

History edit

Revolutions and foundation edit

From 1691, the Mongols were ruled by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty of China, during which northern and southern Mongolia became known as Outer Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, respectively. The Qing dynasty promoted Tibetan Buddhism and built monasteries, which grew rich and powerful. Its administrators also impoverished and oppressed the Mongols, and pursued colonization of Inner Mongolia in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the implementation of the New Policies, aimed at further Qing integration of Outer Mongolia, led to anti-Manchu mutinies and uprisings. In late 1911, the Qing dynasty collapsed in the Xinhai Revolution, and Outer Mongolia declared its independence under the leadership of the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, who was named the Bogd Khan. The new state called on the Mongols of Inner Mongolia to join it, and sought international recognition. In 1912, it signed a treaty with the Russian Empire. Under the Treaty of Kyakhta of 1915, Mongolia accepted autonomy under the suzerainty of the Republic of China (ROC).[1]

After the 1917 October Revolution and outbreak of the Russian Civil War, Mongolia was recognized by the Bolshevik government in August 1919. That November, ROC troops entered the capital and overthrew the Bogd Khan. During the Chinese occupation, Mongolian revolutionaries made contact with the Bolsheviks in Siberia, and in 1920 founded the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), led by Damdin Sükhbaatar, Khorloogiin Choibalsan, Dogsomyn Bodoo, Soliin Danzan, and others, across the border at Kyakhta. In October, White Russian cavalry under Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg entered Mongolia, and in February 1921 drove out the Chinese and restored the Bogd Khan. The MPP made a provisional government at its first congress on 1 March, and that July cavalry under Sükhbaatar, supported by Soviet troops, captured the capital in the Mongolian People's Revolution. Bodoo was appointed prime minister, while the Bogd Khan was allowed to remain on the throne. In November, a Mongolian delegation traveled to Soviet Russia and signed a treaty.[1]

A split began to emerge between nationalists and communists in the MPP, whose members included lamas and nobles. In 1922, Bodoo was executed as a "counter-revolutionary". After Sükhbaatar's death in 1923, the MPP program was amended so the party could be "purged of oppressor class elements"; after the Bogd Khan's death in 1924, the search for a new incarnation was forbidden. Danzan was executed for "bourgeois tendencies" that year. The MPP declared a socialist "non-capitalist path of development", was renamed the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), and joined the Comintern. The 1924 constitution founded the Mongolian People's Republic (MPR), and its capital was renamed Ulaanbaatar (meaning "red hero").[1]

Early years (1924–1939) edit

 
Map of the MPR in 1925

As in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, Mongolian politics went through several abrupt changes of direction in the 1920s and 1930s. The initial nationalist leadership of the MPRP advanced the slogan "Get rich!" to promote business, which was opposed by the communists. The Fifth Congress in 1926 called for restriction and nationalization of private property. The Seventh Congress in 1928 denounced previous "right opportunism" (baruun opportunizm) and dismissed several leaders. In 1929, the state began expropriating monastery property and tried to force herdsmen into collective farms and communes. During 1930–1932, there were uprisings led by the lamas of several monasteries, the largest of which took place in 1932 and was brutally suppressed, and herdsmen began to slaughter their livestock or herd their animals across the border. At the direction of the Comintern, the MPRP expelled the perpetrators of the "left deviation" (züünii nugalaa) in 1932, and a "new turn" (shine ergelt) was taken by moderate leadership. Collectivization of livestock herders was completed in the 1950s (see § Economy).[1]

From September 1937 to April 1939, Stalinist purges in Mongolia saw mass arrests of top party and state leaders, lamas, soldiers, and citizens on false charges of "counter-revolution" and spying for Japan. Some 20,000 to 35,000 Mongols were executed in Mongolia and the USSR in a campaign organized by NKVD officials and Khorloogiin Choibalsan, minister of internal affairs and commander-in-chief. Under communist repression, an estimated 17,000 monks were killed, official figures show.[7] Prime Ministers Peljidiin Genden and Anandyn Amar, for example, were accused of counter-revolution and shot in Moscow in 1937 and 1941, respectively. Buddhist institutions were nearly all destroyed, their property appropriated, and the lamas killed or secularized. In March 1939, Choibalsan, Stalin's close ally, became prime minister of Mongolia and led a Stalinist dictatorship, and initiated further episodes of repression during his tenure.[1]

World War II (1939–1945) edit

 
Khorloogiin Choibalsan (left), who led the MPR from 1939 to 1952, and Georgy Zhukov at Khalkhin Gol in 1939

In 1931–1932, the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria and set up the puppet state of Manchukuo. In 1934, Mongolia and the USSR made a verbal agreement on mutual aid in case of invasion, followed by a formal agreement in 1936. In May 1939, Japanese forces first skirmished with Soviet and Mongolian troops at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. That July, Japan launched an unsuccessful attack across the river, and in August, Soviet and Mongolian troops under General (later Marshal) Georgy Zhukov, encircled and destroyed the Japanese forces. In April 1941, the USSR and Japan concluded a neutrality pact. That June, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Mongolia did not join the war directly, but provided the Soviets with volunteers and materiel, and the country's economy was marshalled to support the war effort. Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, MPRP general secretary and second to Choibalsan, rose to prominence, inspecting aid deliveries and touring the Eastern Front as a Mongolian People's Army (MPA) lieutenant general.[1]

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the "Big Three" Allied powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) decided the terms of the planned Soviet entry into the war against Japan, which included a recognition of the "status quo" in Mongolia (which was still internationally recognized as part of China). In August 1945, the Soviet Union used Mongolia as one base for its Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation. The build-up brought 650,000 Soviet troops and large amounts of equipment to the country; the MPA played a limited role. The ROC, headed by Chiang Kai-shek, was persuaded to recognize Mongolian independence in the 1945 Sino-Soviet Treaty after Stalin promised to refrain from supporting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Chinese Civil War. In keeping with the treaty, a successful independence referendum was held in Mongolia in October 1945.[1]

Cold War politics (1945–1984) edit

 
Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal led the MPR from 1952 to 1984

Following the CCP's victory in the Chinese Civil War and its proclamation of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Mongolia transferred its recognition from the ROC to the PRC. The 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty guaranteed Outer Mongolia's independence, but ended Choibalsan's hopes for reuniting it with Inner Mongolia.[8] Mao Zedong privately hoped for Outer Mongolia's reintegration with China, and he was rebuffed by Soviet leadership after raising the question in 1949 and again in 1954, the year after Stalin's death. In 1956, after Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin, Chinese leaders attempted to present Mongolia's independence as one of Stalin's mistakes. The Soviet response was that the Mongols were free to decide their own fate.[9] Choibalsan died of cancer in Moscow in 1952, and was replaced as prime minister by Tsedenbal. Unlike his predecessor, Tsedenbal was enthusiastic about incorporating Mongolia as a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. This proposal was met with strenuous opposition from other MPRP members, and was subsequently abandoned.[1]

Mongolia's foreign relations outside of the USSR and PRC were initially limited to the Soviet satellites of the Eastern Bloc. It was recognized by India in 1955, and that year attempted to join the United Nations (UN), but its request was vetoed by the ROC (now based in Taiwan) which had withdrawn its recognition of Mongolia's independence and renewed its territorial claim on the country. Mongolia eventually became a member state of the UN in 1961, after the Soviet Union threatened to veto the admission of the newly decolonized states of Africa if the ROC again used its veto. Mongolia established diplomatic relations with its first Western country, the United Kingdom, in 1961, but its diplomatic relations with the United States were not established until 1987, near the end of the Cold War.[1]

In the 1950s, relations between the MPR and the PRC improved considerably. The Trans-Mongolian Railway, which opened in 1949 and linked Moscow with Ulaanbaatar via the Trans-Siberian Railway, was extended to the Chinese border and linked with Beijing in 1955. China provided economic support to Mongolia by building factories and apartment blocks, and thousands of Chinese laborers were involved in the projects until they were withdrawn in 1962 in an unsuccessful bid to pressure Mongolia to break with the USSR during the Sino-Soviet split. A military build-up on the Sino-Mongolian border began in 1963, and in 1966 the Soviet Union and Mongolia signed a new mutual aid treaty with a secret annex allowing the stationing of Soviet troops and missiles in the country. The Soviet Union increased its investment in the Mongolian economy on a "fraternal" or "elder brother–younger brother" (akh düü) basis.[1]

Tsedenbal, a friend of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, sent many of his political rivals into internal exile during his leadership, including Dashiin Damba in 1959, Daramyn Tömör-Ochir in 1962, Tsogt-Ochiryn Lookhuuz and others in 1964, Bazaryn Shirendev in 1982, and Sampilyn Jalan-Aajav in 1983. After Jamsrangiin Sambuu's death, Tsedenbal was elected in his place as chairman of the presidium of the People's Great Khural (head of state) in 1974, and handed the premiership to Jambyn Batmönkh. Tsedenbal was expelled from office by Batmönkh and the MPRP Politburo in August 1984, on the pretext of "old age and mental incapacity" in a move with full Soviet backing, and he retired to Moscow; Batmönkh took over as the party leader and head of state.[1]

Reforms and end (1984–1992) edit

After Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union in March 1985, he began implementing policies of perestroika (restructuring the economy) and glasnost (openness and accountability); the atmosphere of reform prompted the same policies in Mongolia, known as öörchlön baiguulalt and il tod. Unlike Tsedenbal, Batmönkh agreed with the Soviet leadership on normalizing Sino-Soviet relations; between 1987 and 1992, Soviet troops were withdrawn from Mongolia, which enabled both countries to normalize relations with China.[10] In 1988, the MPRP newspaper Ünen urged accelerated reforms to overcome the party's "dogmatic interpretation of socialism", declared that "authoritarianism and intellectual indolence" undermined national "renewal", and described Tsedenbal as "willful and unprincipled". In 1989, Mongolian newspapers called for an "objective and realistic evaluation" of Mongolian–Soviet relations.[1]

On 10 December 1989 (Human Rights Day), young people began demonstrating for political freedom in Ulaanbaatar. In January 1990, anti-MPRP rallies were held by student and social democratic organizations; their spokesman was Sanjaasürengiin Zorig. After more demonstrations and a hunger strike, the MPRP leadership resigned in March, and Batmönkh was replaced as head of state and general secretary. Tsedenbal was expelled from the MPRP. In May, the constitution was amended by the People's Great Khural, which deleted references to the MPRP's "guiding role" in society, legalized opposition parties, and established the office of president and a standing legislature (the State Little Khural). At Mongolia's first multiparty elections in July, the MPRP gained majorities in both bodies. A transition to a market economy was approved, and the herding cooperatives and state farms were broken up and privatized. A new constitution, adopted in January 1992 and entering into force in February, created a unicameral State Great Khural and ended the socialist republic.[1]

Government and politics edit

From 1924 to 1990, the Mongolian People's Republic was a one-party state ruled by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). While formally a democratic republic with regular elections, in reality, its elections were pre-decided and its government alternated between oligarchy and one-man rule.[1]

Before 1928, the leader of the MPRP was the chairman (darga) of its Central Committee (töv khoroo), which had a presidium (tergüülegchid) of about 10 members representing the core party leadership. Between 1928 and 1940, the Comintern replaced the chairman with three co-secretaries to weaken the party's ability to resist its directives. In 1940, the presidium was replaced by a political bureau (Politburo; uls töriin tovchoo), headed by a general secretary (yerönkhii nariin bichgiin darga); the title of the position was "first secretary" (negdügeer nariin bichgiin darga) from 1954 to 1981. Until 1974, the maximum leader of Mongolia was the head of government as the chairman of the council of ministers (said naryn zövlöl), equivalent to a prime minister. The council oversaw cabinet-level ministries, which numbered 42 by 1981. Before it was abolished in 1951, the Little Khural, a presidium of five members (from 1927, three) was elected by the Great Khural to select the premier; its chairman was the head of state. Thereafter, the chairman of the eight-member presidium of the (People's) Great Khural became the head of state. From 1974 to 1990, the maximum leader held this position and that of party general secretary.[1]

The Central Committee was responsible for supervising party affairs and making important policy decisions, including the appointment and removal of party and government leaders. Most of its work was done at plenary meetings, typically held twice a year. The Central Committee's membership numbered 83 in 1971, 91 in 1976 and 1981, and 85 in 1986 (in addition to 55, 61, 71, and 65 non-voting candidate members in the same years). Its members were elected at party congresses; the first congress was held in 1921 and followed by one every year from 1923 to 1928, involving relatively frank debate. From 1930 to 1960, only six congresses were held (in 1930, 1934, 1940, 1947, 1954, and 1958), ratifying key decisions which had been made in advance. From 1961 to 1986, the congresses were purely symbolic events, held every five years to coincide with those of the Soviet Union and the creation of five-year plans. The next MPRP congress was due for 1991, but the protests of 1990 forced an extraordinary congress in April 1990, which claimed a membership of 94,750.[1]

From 1990 to 1992, the head of government was a prime minister (yerönkhii said) and the head of state was a president (yerönkhiilögch), elected indirectly by the People's Great Khural. The People's Great Khural also elected the 50-member State Little Khural, whose seat apportionment reflected proportional representation of the total ballot for parties in the legislative election; three-quarters of its members were required to be People's Great Khural deputies.[1]

Constitutions edit

 
The first Great Khural in November 1924

Mongolia's first-ever constitution, adopted by the first Great Khural in November 1924, proclaimed the Mongolian People's Republic and the transfer of political power to the working people along Marxist–Leninist lines. The land, water, and mineral wealth of the country were nationalized. The constitution contained a declaration of the rights of the people, equality before the law, and suffrage at age 18 (with the exception of "feudalists" and Buddhist lamas resident in the monasteries). The soyombo symbol of Mongolian independence was adopted as the state arms.[1]

The second constitution, adopted by the eighth Great Khural in June–July 1940, was closely modeled on the 1936 Soviet constitution. It proclaimed a state of "herdsmen, workers, and intelligentsia" taking a "non-capitalist road of development for the future transition to socialism". It added "counter-revolutionaries" to the list of disenfranchised, and declared the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party to be the "vanguard of the working people and core of all their organizations". New state arms depicted a herdsman on horseback and the heads of a cow, sheep, goat, and camel. Amendments adopted by the ninth Great Khural in February 1949 introduced electoral reform, including a secret ballot, universal suffrage, and direct elections. In 1951, the Little Khural was abolished and the Great Khurals were renumbered. In 1956, the Council of Ministers was restructured.[1]

The third constitution, adopted by the fourth Great Khural in July 1960, proclaimed a state of "workers, collectivized herdsmen, and working intelligentsia" which sought to achieve the "building of socialism and in the future build a communist society"; the preamble declared the MPRP the "guiding and directing force of society and the state". The Great Khural was renamed the People's Great Khural. New state arms replaced the four animal heads with a cogwheel and ears of wheat. Amendments adopted by the 11th People's Great Khural in March and May 1990 removed references to the MPRP's "guiding" role from the preamble, instituted a presidency, and established the State Little Khural (a standing legislature). The 1992 constitution ended the socialist republic.[1]

Economy edit

 
Yurt quarter in Ulaanbaatar in 1972

At the MPR's foundation in 1924, Mongolia was a nomadic subsistence society. Farming and industry were almost nonexistent, and transportation and communications were primitive. Most people were illiterate nomadic herders, and a large part of the male labor force lived in the monasteries, contributing little to the economy. Property in the form of livestock was primarily owned by aristocrats and the monasteries; ownership of the remaining sectors of the economy was dominated by Chinese and other foreigners. The MPR was thus faced with the daunting task of building a modern economy. Socialist collectivization, industrialization, and urbanization ultimately transformed the agrarian, nomadic economy of the 1920s into a developing, agricultural-industrial economy by the late 1980s.[1]

Collective farming edit

The first attempt to collectivize livestock herding began in 1929. By the end of 1930, nearly 30 percent of all poor and middle herdsmen's households had been forced to join collective farms (khamtral) or communes (kommun). After uprisings, these collectives were disbanded in 1932 and replaced by voluntary cooperatives (nökhörlöl) and production associations (negdel), of which there were 91 in 1940. Collectivization was achieved in the 1950s; the number of negdel, which were run by member councils, rose from 165 in 1952 to a peak of 727 in 1958, comprising 108,200 households (75 percent of the total). The number of livestock owned by negdel rose from 280,500 in 1952 to 16.9 million in 1960, by which the number of negdel had decreased to 354 after consolidation. In the 1950s, the sum (rural districts) and negdel were combined into sum-negdel, and the positions of head of the sum administration and chairman of the negdel council were merged. The national Union of Production Associations was founded in 1967 to regulate negdel membership.[1]

The first state farms (sangiin aj akhui) were established in 1922–1923, and numbered 10 in 1940. Their numbers increased rapidly with the development of large-scale grain and vegetable farming and the introduction of industrialized methods in the 1970s and 1980s, rising to 25 by 1960 and to 52 by 1985. In 1990, there were 53 state farms and 20 specialized fodder farms (tejeeliin aj akhui), with a total of 35,200 workers. They were concentrated in the central and northern regions of the country, where natural conditions were suitable. An average state farm in 1985 had 15,400 hectares of arable land, 92 tractors, 36 grain harvesters, 26,200 head of livestock, and 500 workers. In 1990, the state farms owned 5.1 percent of the country's livestock (1.32 million head).[1]

Industry and urbanization edit

 
Darkhan Railway Station in 1985
 
Copper mine at Erdenet in 2009

After a failed attempt in 1931–1935, the government launched eight five-year plans (and one three-year plan) in the period between 1948 and 1990, with the goal of rapidly developing agriculture and industry: 1948–1952 (first), 1953–1957 (second), 1958–1960 (the three-year plan); 1961–1965 (third), 1966–1970 (fourth), 1971–1975 (fifth); 1976–1980 (sixth), 1981–1985 (seventh), and 1986–1990 (eighth). Mongolia first attended a meeting of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) in 1958 as an observer, and became a member in June 1962. It received large amounts of economic, financial, and technical assistance through the council from the USSR and Eastern Europe, in the forms of credits, advisers, and joint ventures. In 1961, the manufacturing town of Darkhan was founded on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, north of Ulaanbaatar. In 1973, Erdenet was founded on a branch railway west of Darkhan to host the Erdenet Mining Corporation, a joint Mongolian–Soviet enterprise and one of the world's largest copper mines. Both towns, which are today Mongolia's second and third largest, were built in previously uninhabited areas and gained modern power stations, high-rise housing, schools, hospitals, and shops. Industrial development of cities was paralleled by small-scale urbanization of rural communities. Some 300 small permanent settlements were built with a school, clinic, shop, administrative office, police station, and electricity.[1]

Mongolia has industrial reserves of coal, copper, fluorite, and iron ore as well as numerous deposits of gold, silver, zinc, lead, tin, tungsten, and other precious and rare metals. The first modern coal mine was built at Nalaikh, near Ulaanbaatar, in the 1930s and linked to the capital by a narrow-gauge railway line. The development of large-scale open-pit mining at Sharyngol near Darkhan and Baganuur, east of Ulaanbaatar, made the Nalaikh mine obsolete. Mongolia had no manufacturing industries before the building of the Ulaanbaatar industrial combine in the 1930s; there were no large-scale developments until the building of Darkhan and Erdenet in the 1960s and 1970s, which was accompanied by efforts to modernize provincial towns such as Choibalsan and Sükhbaatar. The main industries were mining, electricity generation, production of building materials, and processing of livestock produce (meat, wool, and hides) into semi-finished goods, foodstuffs, and consumer goods.[11]

Industry accounted for 7 percent of Mongolia's net material product (NMP) in 1950 and increased to 35 percent in 1985. Trade increased from 10 percent to 26 percent; agriculture, including herding, declined from 68 percent to 20 percent. In 1960, 61 percent of the employed worked in the agricultural sector, decreasing to 33 percent by 1985. GDP figures for Mongolia record growth throughout the 1980s; as late as 1988, the annual increase in GDP amounted to 5.1 percent. In the late 1980s, the stagnation of the economy and the example of perestroika in the Soviet Union led Mongolian leaders to undertake a program of reform which developed the economy in a market direction, which ultimately led to the end of the socialist republic and the turn to capitalism.[11]

Banking and trade edit

The national bank of Mongolia (Mongolbank) was founded in June 1924 as the Mongolian Trade and Industry Bank, which held yanchaan (silver dollars). In December 1925, it began issuing Mongolia's own currency, the tögrög ('round'), in silver coins of one tögrög subdivided into möngö. It became the sole legal currency in 1928. The bank was transferred to the Mongolian government in 1935, and renamed the State Bank of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1954. Circulation of the tögrög was strictly controlled by the MPR government with Soviet backing, and its foreign exchange rate was artificially fixed. In the 1960s, for example, it was valued by the State Bank at an rate of 1 USD to 4 tögrög. In the 1920s, the Mongolian government drove foreign merchants out of the country and introduced a foreign trade monopoly. Mongolia traded only with the USSR until the establishment of relations with China after World War II, which ceased after the 1960s Sino-Soviet split. Comecon membership enabled import of machinery and vehicles from Eastern Europe in exchange for raw materials, though some 85 percent of trade remained with the USSR. In the 1980s, 1 to 2 percent of trade was opened with Western countries; the value of imports far exceeded that of exports, and the imbalance was funded by long-term loans from the USSR, estimated at 10 billion rubles by 1990.[1]

Society edit

Education edit

Before the 1921 revolution, religious schools in monasteries taught lamas to read Buddhist scriptures in Tibetan and Mongol, and the few secular schools trained clerks for local administration. The first government-run primary school was opened in the capital in November 1921, followed by the first secondary school in 1923. The Ministry of Education was established in 1924, and devised a 10-year plan (1926–1936) for the development of education and teacher training. Buryat intellectual Erdene Batkhaan, minister of education in 1926–1929, played a key role. A nationwide cultural offensive was declared in 1930–1931 following the government's decision to adopt the Latin script for Mongolian and eradicate adult illiteracy; adoption of the Cyrillic script was decreed in March 1941, but only came into general use from January 1946. Starting in 1937, increasing numbers of Mongolian students were sent to the Soviet Union for training in vocational schools; Mongolia's first vocational school opened in 1938. Higher education in Mongolia began with the opening of the Mongolian State University in 1942. The number of general education schools rose from 331 with 24,000 pupils in 1940, to 359 with 50,000 pupils in 1947. Obligatory eight-year general education (ages eight to 16) was introduced gradually in the 1970s. In 1980, the 113 elementary schools taught grades one to four, 150 "incomplete" secondary education schools for grades one to nine, and 108 (267 by 1990) "complete" secondary education schools for grades one to 11.[1]

Healthcare edit

Before the 1920s, Mongolia had no health services apart from what was provided by lamas or shamans, who offered a combination of herbal remedies and incantations, and the population was in decline from untreated sickness. Modern healthcare in Mongolia was developed starting in 1922 under the Soviet Semashko model, with the construction of a large hospital and clinical network and training of staff in Western medicine. The isolation of the country meant that developments in medicine were slow to reach it, though population decline was gradually reversed by the 1930s. The ratio of doctors to the general population increased dramatically; in 1990, there were more than 6,000 physicians, three-quarters of whom were women. The medical care system was accessible at little or no cost even in the most remote areas. State-sponsored maternity rest homes for pastoral women in the final stages of pregnancy helped to lower infant mortality from 109 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 57.4 in 1990, and maternal mortality by about 25 percent from 1960 to 1990.[1][12]

Media and arts edit

 
Equestrian monument to Damdin Sükhbaatar in Ulaanbaatar's Sükhbaatar Square in 1972

Under the one-party rule of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, media in Mongolia was strictly controlled. The main source of information was the state-owned Montsame news agency. The official MPRP newspaper Ünen ('Truth'), founded in 1920 and still published today, served as a mouthpiece of the People's Great Khural, Council of Ministers, and MPRP Central Committee. The party also published the monthly journal Namyn Amidral ('Party Life'), which discussed theoretical matters. Other official publications included the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League newspaper Zaluuchuudyn Ünen ('Youth Truth') and the cultural paper Utga Zokhiol Urlag ('Literature and Art'), which dispensed ideological guidance. Mongolradio was established in 1933, and Mongolteleviz in 1967.[1]

Under political pressure, traditional Mongolian arts were suppressed in favor of Soviet-inspired "socialist realism". Much of traditional culture was viewed as "feudal" or "religious", and was officially abandoned in favor of artworks depicting revolutionary heroism, intended to mold the "new man" of the socialist society. The MPRP established systematic censorship of press, publications, and artistic performance. However, there was disagreement and lack of clear direction, reflected in particular by the fluctuating political attitudes toward Mongolia's greatest hero, Genghis Khan. Common subjects of "socialist realism" included heroic shepherds and workers, and figures from history such as Sükhbaatar and Choibalsan (a prominent example being the monumental equestrian statue of Sükhbaatar which today stands in the center of Ulaanbaatar's Sükhbaatar Square). Some painters combined realism and mongol zurag, a style developed in the early 20th century. Bypassing Capitalism, a design depicting a Mongol rider jumping from feudalism to socialism, was reproduced in murals and as a stamp design.[1]

The most prominent figure to emerge in modern Mongolian poetry and literature was Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj, whose opera Uchirtai gurvan tolgoi ("Three Sad Hills") remains popular today. The national theater was established in 1931, represented by such playwrights as Sodnombaljiryn Buyannemekh and Donrovyn Namdag. Mongolia's first film studio, set up with Soviet aid in 1935, produced the drama Norjmaa's Destiny in 1938 but generally concentrated on full-length feature films about heroes from Mongolian history. There were co-productions with Soviet filmmakers, such as Son of Mongolia (1936), as well as film versions of classics such as Transparent Tamir by Chadraabalyn Lodoidamba, released as a trilogy in 1970–1973. The first Mongolian ballet, Path of Happiness by Bilegiin Damdinsüren, was staged in 1950. Traditional arts were best preserved as epic poetry, music, and song, which had been passed down by bards and storytellers and first recorded (in printed word and sound) in the 20th century. The state folk song and dance ensemble was established in 1961. Under Soviet influence, European instruments were introduced, foreign works were performed, and Mongolian composers began to write music for orchestras and brass bands. The first full-scale symphonic work, My Homeland, was composed in 1955 by Luvsanjambyn Mördorj. The National Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1957. The 1970s and 1980s saw the development of Soviet-style dance bands and popular music groups.[1]

Science edit

In November 1921, Buryat scholar Tsyben Zhamtsarano founded the Committee of Scriptures and Manuscripts, which established national archives in 1927. In 1931, the institute was renamed the Committee of Sciences, and began to undertake studies in botany, agriculture, geography, geology, and mapmaking. Further research institutes were linked either to the government (building, education, health, and communications) or universities (physics, mathematics, biology, and the social sciences). The Institute of Party History supervised the writing of the history of the MPRP and the translation of Marxist–Leninist classics. There was close cooperation with the Soviet Academy of Sciences, whose Mongolian Commission supervised Soviet research on Mongolia. In 1961, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences was founded. Scientific cooperation with the Eastern Bloc was coordinated by Comecon.[1]

Military edit

 
Zaisan Memorial in Ulaanbaatar

The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army was founded in 1921 as a partisan force against Chinese occupation. It primarily consisted of cavalry under its commander, Damdin Sükhbaatar. With Soviet technical aid and training, it received weapons, motor vehicles, communications equipment, and aircraft. Mongolian and Soviet troops clashed with Japanese forces in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol on Mongolia's eastern border in 1939, and jointly participated in the invasion of Manchuria in northern China in 1945, in which Mongolia was an important base.[1] In the Beitashan Incident in 1947, Republic of China cavalry fought Mongolian and Soviet troops on the border with Xinjiang.[13] The army was renamed the Mongolian People's Army in 1955. During the 1970s and 1980s, Mongolia received modern equipment, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy and anti-aircraft artillery, radar, attack helicopters, and jet fighters. The Mongolian Air Force, founded in 1925, initially ran the civil airline MIAT, established in 1956.[1]

Mongolian army ranks and uniform were similar to their Soviet counterparts. As in the Soviet military, there was an army political directorate and deputy political commissars, whose function was to ensure loyalty to the MPRP. The army maintained close ties with Soviet GRU military intelligence and NKVD secret police; Mongolia's Interior Ministry secret police and Buryat Mongol Comintern agents assisted in its administration under direct Soviet guidance.[1]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ The traditional Mongolian script was used from 1924 to 1941.
  2. ^ Mongolian Cyrillic was used from 1941 onwards.
  3. ^ "Mongolian" denotes nationality, which includes minorities such as Kazakhs or Tuvans, while "Mongol" indicates Mongol ethnicity.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Sanders, Alan J. K. (2010). Historical Dictionary of Mongolia. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810861916.
  2. ^ Rao, B. V. (2006), History of Modern Europe A.D. 1789–2002, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
  3. ^ Sergey Radchenko (26 June 2020). "Russia Still Treats Mongolia Like a Soviet Satellite". Foreign Policy.
  4. ^ "Human Development Report 1992" (PDF). hdr.undp.org.
  5. ^ "Mongolia Standard Time is GMT (UTC) +8, some areas of Mongolia use GMT (UTC) +7". Time Temperature.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2007.
  6. ^ "Clock changes in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia". timeanddate.com. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Thomas, Natalie (4 June 2018). "Young monks lead revival of Buddhism in Mongolia after years of repression". Reuters. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  8. ^ Liu Xiaoyuan, Reins of Liberation: An Entangled History of Mongolian Independence, Chinese Territoriality, and Great Power Hegemony, 1911–1950 (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Press, 2006)
  9. ^ Sergey Radchenko, "New Documents on Mongolia and the Cold War," Cold War International History Project Bulletin no. 16 (2008) Archived 10 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Mongolia, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
  11. ^ a b Rossabi, Morris (2005). Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists – California Scholarship. doi:10.1525/california/9780520243996.001.0001. ISBN 9780520243996. Retrieved 7 February 2021. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  12. ^ Rossabi, Morris (2005). Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists - California Scholarship. doi:10.1525/california/9780520243996.001.0001. ISBN 9780520243996. Retrieved 7 February 2021. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911–1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-521-25514-1. Retrieved 28 June 2010.

Works cited edit

Further reading edit

  • Jianyong, Feng. "The 1911 Revolution and the Frontier: The 'Political Game' and 'State-Building' in Outer Mongolia during the 1911 Revolution 辛亥革命とフロンティア 外モンゴルにおける政治のゲームと国家建設." (2014). Online

External links edit