Mongolian People's Republic

Mongolian People's Republic
Mongolian People's Republic
Mongolian People's Republic.svg
Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс
Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Uls
Satellite state of the Soviet Union (Until December 26th 1991)

Flag Coat of arms
Map of the Mongolian People's Republic
Capital Ulan Bator
Language(s) Mongolian
Religion Buddhism, Atheism, Shamanism
Government Socialist republic,
Single-party communist state
 - 1924 (first) Navaandorjiin Jadambaa
 - 1990–1992 (last) Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat
Prime Minister
 - 1923–1924 (first) Balingiin Tserendorj
 - 1990-1992 (last) Dashiin Byambasüren
Historical era Interwar period, WWII, Cold War
 - Established November 26, 1924
 - Disestablished February 13, 1992
 - 1992 1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi)
 - 1992 est. 2,318,000 
     Density 1.5 /km2  (3.8 /sq mi)
Currency Mongolian tögrög

The Mongolian People's Republic (Mongolian: Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс (БНМАУ), Mongolian People's Republic.svg, Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Uls (BNMAU)) was a communist state in East Asia which existed between 1924 and 1992. It was ruled by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and remained a loyal Soviet ally throughout its history.



From 1691 to 1911, Outer Mongolia was ruled by the Manchu-Qing Dynasty. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Qing government began implementing the so-called New Policies, aimed at a further integration of Outer Mongolia. Upset by the prospect of the colonization akin to the developments in Inner Mongolia during the 19th century, the Mongolian nobility turned to the Russian Empire for support. In August 1911, a Mongol delegation went to Saint Petersburg and obtained a pledge of limited support. When they returned, the Xinhai Revolution that eventually led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty had began, and in December 1911 the Mongols deposed the Qing amban in Ikh Khuree and declared their independence under the leadership of the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, who was appointed Bogd Khan of Mongolia, breaking away from the Qing Dynasty. Attempts to include Inner Mongolia into the new state failed for various reasons, including the military weakness of the Inner Mongols to achieve their independence, the lack of Russian assistance to them (Russia was bound in Inner Mongolian affairs by secret treaties with Japan), and the lack of support from a part Inner Mongolian nobles and the higher clergy. In the Khiagt agreement of 1915, China, Russia and Mongolia agreed on Mongolia's status as autonomy under Chinese suzerainty.[1]

History of Mongolia
This article is part of a series
Ancient History
Xiongnu 209 BC-155
Xianbei 93-234
Rouran 330-555
Göktürk 552-744
Uyghur Khaganate 742-848
Yenisei Kirghiz 539-1219
Liao Dynasty 916-1125
Medieval History
Khamag Mongol, Kereit, Mergid, Tatar, Naiman
Mongol Empire 1206-1271
Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368
Northern Yuan Dynasty 1368-1636
Qing rule 1636/1691-1911
Modern History
Independence Revolution 1911
Outer Mongolia (1911–1919) 1911-1919
Occupation of Mongolia 1919-1921
People's Revolution 1921
Mongolian People's Republic 1924-1992
Democratic Revolution 1990
Modern Mongolia 1990-present
Timeline of Mongolian history
Culture of Mongolia
Geography of Mongolia

Mongolia Portal
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However, the Republic of China was able to use the Russian Revolution and the ensuing civil war as a pretext to deploy troops in Outer Mongolia, and in 1919 the Mongolian government was forced to sign a treaty that abolished Mongolia's autonomy. It was under Chinese occupation that the Mongolian People's Party was founded and once again looked to the north, this time to Soviet Russia, for help. In the mean time, White Russian troops led by Roman Ungern von Sternberg had occupied Khuree in early March 1921, and a new theocratic government declared independence from China on March 13. But the Outer Mongolian Revolution of 1921 broke out and Ungern and the remaining Chinese troops were driven out in the following months, and on July 6, 1921, the Mongolian People's Party and Soviet troops took Niislel Khuree. The People's Party founded a new government, but kept the Bogd Khaan as nominal head of state. In the following years though some violent power struggles, Soviet influence got ever stronger, and after the Bogd Khaan's death, the Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed on November 26, 1924.

Consolidation of power (1925 - 1938)

Between 1925 and 1928, the new regime became established. At the time, Mongolia was the most backwards place in Asia, more than 200 years behind the rest of the world. Industry was nonexistent and all wealth was controlled by the nobility and religious establishments. The population numbered less than a million people in and was shrinking due to nearly half of all Mongolian males living in monasteries. In 1928, Stalin ordered the collectivization of Mongolian agriculture. These politics led to a breakdown in economy and transportation, and more importantly to uprisings in the west and south that could only be suppressed with the help of the Soviet Red Army.[citation needed] In 1934, Pejidiin Genden visited Moscow and angrily accused Stalin of "red imperialism". He subsequently died in the Great Purge after being tricked into taking holiday on the Black Sea. After 1932, the implementation of a command economy was scaled back. In 1936, Stalin then ordered the liquidation of the country's Buddhist institutions. Meanwhile, Japanese incursions in Manchuria were a cassius bella for Moscow to station troops in Mongolia. At the same time, the Great Purge spilled into Mongolia. Among those killed were such prominent figures as Peljidiin Genden, Anandyn Amar, Demid, and Losol. After the removal of Genden from power, Khorloogiin Choibalsan, a follower of Joseph Stalin, took over. The purges led to the almost complete eradication of Tibetan Buddhism in the country, and cost an estimated 30,000-35,000 lives,[2] equivalent to about five percent of Mongolia's population.

The explicit limitations on freedom in the constitution of the People's Republic later drew the attention of foreigners such as Dwight Macdonald.[3]

World War II (1939-1945)

During World War II, because of a growing Japanese threat over the Mongolian-Manchurian border, the Soviet Union reversed the course of Mongolian socialism in favor of a new policy of economic gradualism and build-up of the national defence. The Soviet and Mongolian armies defeated Japanese forces that had invaded eastern Mongolia in the summer of 1939 at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, and a truce was signed setting up a commission to define the Mongolian-Manchurian border in the autumn of that year.

After 1941, Mongolia's economy was readjusted to support the Soviet Union in every way possible, including providing funding for several Soviet military units. In the summer of 1945, the Soviet Union used Mongolia as one base for launching the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, a successful attack against the Japanese. The preceding build-up brought 650,000 Soviet soldiers to Mongolia, along with massive amounts of equipment. The Mongolian People's Army played a limited support role in the conflict, but its involvement gave Stalin the means to force the Chinese side finally to accept Mongolia's independence.

The 1945 Sino-Soviet Treaty and Mongolia's Independence

The February 1945 Yalta Conference provided for the Soviet Union's participation in the Pacific War. One of the Soviet conditions for its participation, put forward at Yalta, was that after the war Outer Mongolia would retain its "status-quo." The precise meaning of this "status-quo" became a bone of contention at Sino-Soviet talks in Moscow in the summer of 1945 between Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek's envoy T.V. Soong.

Stalin insisted on Republic of China's recognition of Outer Mongolia's independence - something that it already enjoyed de facto even as it remained a part of China de jure. Jiang Jieshi resisted the idea but eventually gave in. However, Jiang extracted from Stalin a promise to refrain from supporting the Chinese Communist Party, partly as a quid pro quo for giving up Outer Mongolia.

Thus, the Sino-Soviet Treaty guaranteed Outer Mongolia's independence. But it also ended Khorloogiin Choibalsan's hopes for uniting Outer Mongolia with Inner Mongolia, which remained in China's hands. Choibalsan initially hoped that Stalin would support his vision of Great Mongolia but the Soviet leader easily sacrificed Choibalsan's vision for Soviet gains, guaranteed by the Sino-Soviet Treaty and legitimized by the Yalta agreements. In this sense, the Sino-Soviet Treaty marked Mongolia's permanent division into an independent Mongolian People's Republic and a neighboring Inner Mongolia.[4]

Cold War politics (1945 - 1985)

Secure in its relations with Moscow, the Mongolian government shifted to postwar development, focusing on civilian enterprise. Mongolia was at this time one of the world's most isolated countries, having almost no contact with any nation outside of the Soviet Union. After the war, international ties were expanded and Mongolia established relations with North Korea and the new Communist states in Eastern Europe. Mongolia and the People's Republic of China (PRC) recognized each other in 1949, and the PRC relinquished all claims to Outer Mongolia. However, Mao Zedong privately hoped for Mongolia's reintegration with China. He raised this question before the Soviet leadership as early as 1949 (in meeting with Anastas Mikoyan at Xibaipo), and then, having been firmly rebuffed by Stalin, in 1954, after Stalin's death. In 1956, following Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin, the Chinese leaders attempted to present Mongolia's independence as one of Stalin's mistakes in meetings with Mikoyan. The Soviet response was that the Mongols were free to decide their own fate.[5]

In 1952, Choibalsan died in Moscow where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer. He was succeeded as General Secretary of the MPRP by Yumjaagin Tsedenbal. Unlike his predecessor, Tsedenbal was enthusiastic about incorporating Mongolia as a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. The idea met with strenuous opposition from other MPRP members and was abandoned.

In the 1950s relations between the MPR and the PRC improved considerably. China provided much needed economic aid, building up entire industries in Ulaanbaatar, as well as apartment blocks (for example, the so called "120 myangat district"). Thousands of Chinese laborers were involved in these projects until China withdrew them after 1962 in a bid to pressure Mongolia to break with Moscow at the time of worsening Sino-Soviet relations.

After the beginning of the Sino-Soviet dispute, Mongolia briefly vacillated, but soon took a sharply pro-Soviet stand, being one of the first socialist countries to endorse the Soviet position in the quarrel with China. Military build-up on the Sino-Mongolian border began as early as 1963; in December 1965 the Mongolian Politburo requested the Soviet Union to station its military forces in Mongolia. In January 1966, with Leonid Brezhnev's visit to Mongolia, the two countries signed a mutual assistance treaty, paving way to Soviet military presence in the MPR. In February 1967, following weeks of worsening Sino-Soviet tensions, Moscow officially approved the stationing of what became the 39th Soviet army in Mongolia.

With Soviet encouragement, Mongolia increased its participation in communist-sponsored conferences and international organizations. This was not done without some difficulty as Mongolia was widely seen in the international community as a Soviet appendage rather than an independent country. In 1955, Mongolia attempted to join the United Nations, but the request was vetoed by the Republic of China (ROC), which maintained their (renewed) claim over Mongolia. Mongolia became a member of the UN in 1961 after the Soviet Union threatened to veto the admission of all of the newly decolonized states of Africa if the ROC again used its veto. Diplomatic relations with the United States were not established until the end of the Cold War. Mongolia became a bone of contention between the Soviet Union and China during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s because of the presence of Soviet nuclear arms.

By the start of the 1980s, Tsedenbal became increasingly authoritarian and erratic. Following a series of party purges, he was expelled from office in August 1984 on the pretext of "old age and mental incapacity". The removal of Tsedenbal had full Soviet backing, and he retired to Moscow where he lived until his death from cancer in 1991. Jambyn Batmönkh took over as GS and enthusiastically plunged into the reforms implemented in the Soviet Union by Gorbachev.

Collapse (1985 - 1996)

After Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, he implemented the policies of perestroika and glasnost. The atmosphere of reform in the Soviet Union prompted similar reforms in Mongolia. Following mass demonstrations in the winter of 1990, the MPRP began to loosen its controls of the political system. The Politburo of the MPRP resigned in March, and in May the constitution was amended, deleting reference to the MPRP's role as the guiding force in the country, legalizing opposition parties, creating a standing legislative body, and establishing the office of president. On July 29, 1990, the first free, multiparty elections in Mongolia were held. The election results returned a majority for the MPRP, which won with 85% of the vote. It was not until 1996 that the reformed MPRP was voted out of office.

The USSR withdrew its troops stationed in Mongolia, and its technical and financial assistance, between 1987 and 1992.[6] Subsequently, the foreign and defense policy of Mongolia profoundly changed: “Maintaining friendly relations with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China shall be a priority of Mongolia’s foreign policy activity. It shall not adopt the line of either country but shall maintain in principle a balanced relationship with both of them and shall promote all-round good neighborly co-operation."[7]

See also


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