The fall of Communism in the 1980s, leading to the Democratic Revolution in the 1990s, resulted in drastic changes in Mongolia’s societal perspective. Since that time, 28 years have passed, yet almost no difference can be seen between the written history of today and that of the past, when the whole of Mongolian society was driven by Soviet ideology. We are misinforming Mongolia’s post-Democracy generations, by passing along those written histories and literature, steeped as they are in this ideology.
This book is written as a corrective to this situation; it presents Mongolia’s history during this period, without the influence of ideology because we believe Mongolians deserve to know their own path, to better understand their situation today. We have attempted to write a comprehensive history book with fresh eyes, based on scientific research evidence. It is our fervent hope that the information contained herein will benefit everyone interested in the history of modern Mongolia. Since the Democratic revolution, archives of Mongolia and Russia that were once private have opened for public review, leading to the publication of many documents related to the history of Mongolia in the 20th century.
In addition, people’s oral stories and historical memories are starting to emerge now, as their desire to know their history, especially 20th century history, is flowering. However, the amount of research being done with these archival documents seems low in Mongolia. Thus, this book is an attempt to write the history of Mongolia from 1911 to 2017, without any ideological influence. During the Socialist period, our history could not be called ‘Mongolian history;’ instead, we were to name it the history of the “Mongolian People’s Republic,” the term given to us in 1924 due to Soviet presence here. Under this terminology, thousands of records of written history were distorted, due to the participation of those Soviet scientists who formulated the ideologies, in concealing underlying facts and realities. Mongolia has been passing along ideologically-fuelled viewpoints on social stratification, politics, history and traditions, thus providing inaccurate information to Mongolians. To give an example, Mongolian people believe that the history of modern Mongolia began from the People’s Revolution of 1921, an ideological reflection of Soviet ideology because it reflected a date after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. But, according to the historical sources, the beginning of modern Mongolia is marked, indisputably, by the 1911 revolution.
This book covers the modern history of Mongolia, beginning with the revolution for independence from the Manchu Empire declared in 1911, through to 2018. It is divided into the following periods: Restoration of the Bogdo Khanate in Mongolia 1911-1919; Mongolia during the Constitutional Monarchy period 1921-1924; Mongolian People’s Republic 1924-1990; and the Democratic period in Mongolia from 1990 to today. For ease of comparison, each period has a section for politics, economics, foreign affairs, society, culture and education. This standard structure was intended to eliminate any bias toward real events and historical figures; it relies only on archival sources for validation. The objective of this book is to change the conservative and conventional mind-set of people toward Mongolia’s modern history, by providing fact-based evidence. For instance, the story of Choibalsan, the respected minister who could arguably be called the ‘Mongolian Stalin,’ is not what it seemed. In order to present a historical biography, we aimed to evaluate the individual as a social entity, as well as the people of Mongolia. It is important to note that Mongolians have true meaning in the history of their journey, and telling these stories truthfully will edify future generations.
This book also aims to answer questions such as: what are the stories of Mongolia’s last century? what have these stories taught us;? how can we learn from Mongolia’s existence as a nation? The history of Modern Mongolia reminds us that forgetting one’s own history, culture, and traditions is a threat to the nation. That is why, in this book, we attempted to reveal the facts of the bitter history that destroyed the values of the Mongolian nation’s existence: elimination of the succession of the golden lineages; ridicule of the intellectuals and scientists; and unconcern for the people. It is hoped that future generations of Mongolians will have their own view on these matters, and that they will be able to see Mongolia’s national interests as a priority. For it is those young people, who have learned from their own history, who will be honored as a member of a respected civilization.
The history of Mongolia that we publish here will contribute to the transformation of Mongolia’s social consciousness, history, literature and intellectual thought. Hopefully, Mongolian society in future will be one that favours democracy and justice, with an ideology that is free from foreign ideological influence. The first and second parts of the book, “Renascent Bogd Khanate Mongolia” (1911 – 1919) and “Mongolia of Constitutional Monarchy” (1921-1924), respectively, were written by Sc.D., Professor O.Batsaikhan. Part three, first period “Mongolian People’s Republic (1924-1959), was written by Ph.D. Professor Z.Lonjid; part three, second period “Mongolian People’s Republic (1959-1990)” was written by Ph.D. Ch.Enkhbat. A special chapter on “Unforgettable lessons: the great purge and genocide in Mongolia” was written by Professor S.Baatar. Part four “Mongolia’s transition toward Democracy (from 1990-present)” was written by independent researcher and journalist S.Amarsanaa.
Translated by Amar Batsaikhan (Part 1. 2), Dashdulam Budsuren, Naranchimeg Jukov (Part 3), Delgermaa Ganbat (Part 4). Edited by Roberta Lee Charpentier (USA). The history of Modern Mongolia (1911-2017) project was funded by the ‘Mongolian Scientific and Research Institute for National Freedom’ and supported by the Konrad Adenauer-Foundation.
Professor Batsaikhan Ookhnoi