Political Reform in Mongolia 1995

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<p>Political Reform in Mongolia: Between Russia and China Author(s): Tom Ginsburg Reviewed work(s): Source: Asian Survey, Vol. 35, No. 5 (May, 1995), pp. 459-471 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2645748 . Accessed: 30/03/2012 12:50Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p> <p>University of California Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Asian Survey.</p> <p>http://www.jstor.org</p> <p>POLITICALREFORM IN MONGOLIABetween Russia and ChinaTom GinsburgTransforming socialistregimes can be broadlycharacin terized twoways. The Chinesemodelin whicheconomic liberalization is without adopted political competition beenreplicated varying has to degrees in Asian socialistregimes theLao People's Democratic by other Republic and the SocialistRepublicof Vietnam.In contrast, EasternEuropean the modelis one ofpolitical change proceeding apace with economic reform. An interesting combining case of elements these twomodelsofsocialist transforof mation that Mongolia, is the formerly Mongolian People's Republic. For 70 yearsa client stateof theSovietUnion,Mongoliawas sometimes known as the unofficial "sixteenth republic" the USSR. Followingthe radical of in changes Eastern Europein 1990,Mongolia'sCommunist Party introduced politicalpluralism unlikeits counterparts thosecountries, Monbut in the golianPeople's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has retained powersince 1990 and despiteallowingelectoral competition politicalfreedom.It has introducedsignificant economic whichmaysoon beginto produce reforms, positivegrowth. was Sovietbloc nations, Amongformer Mongolia'seconomy themostdeon as of assistance measured a percentage GDP. Whenthe pendent outside Soviet bloc disintegrated cut offits aid to poorersocialistcountries, and economic the Mongoliaexperienced mostserious peacetime collapseanynaroadhas proved tionhas facedduring century.' Mongolia'spolitical this Yet Sovietrepublics.There to smooth remarkably compared mostof theformer the and to the havebeenno violent attempts overthrow government, although conflict by and largebeen has has opposition beenactiveand vocal,politicaland in is candidate theJurisprudence Social Tom Ginsburg a doctoral of at The author wouldliketo thank PolicyProgram, University California Berkeley. Hashbatyn on of Hulanand Dan King forhelpful comments a draft thisarticle. ? 1995 by The Regents theUniversity California of of for 1. PeterBoone,"Grassroots EconomicReform Mongolia," in paperprepared theconferin ence,SocialistEconomies Transition, Foundation, Asia May 1993.</p> <p>459</p> <p>460</p> <p>VOL.XXXV, 5, MAY 1995 NO. ASIANSURVEY,</p> <p>This articletracespolitical resolvedthrough negotiation compromise. and in of democracy 1990 in reform Mongoliasincetheestablishment multiparty its how withan emphasis understanding theMPRP was able to maintain on in era. the dominant position a multiparty It arguesthat MPRP's short-term of resilience been based on a combination tacticalsavvyand residual has is era. this publicsupport cultivated theone-party Although support diin to deepen, MPRP has shownan ability the minishing economic as problems its to adaptto changing conditions will likelycontinue maintain domiand future. nantposition theforeseeable for</p> <p>in between Russia and China,Mongoliahas a Situated thegrassland steppes little thousand whomare semiof overtwomillion people,severalhundred intact traditional lifestyle. Most of therenomadicherders livinga largely in Ulaanbaatar hero). Modem (red mainder concentrated thecapitalcity, are in with of Mongoliais bestunderstood thecontext its complexrelationship China. From1691 until1911,Mongoliawas ruledby theManchuconquertheir identity Mongoltribes maintained distinct orsofChina,butthenomadic to vis-a'-vis agriculturalists the south. Their desire for independence the of state with declaration an independent nobility's culminated theMongolian in 1911 in theaftermath theChineserevolution. This state of was led by the lama who was boththe Buddhist Bogdo Khan,recognized a reincarnated as a reflecting temporal spiritual and leader. Therefollowed periodof turmoil, Russia. discord boththenew Republicof Chinaand Tsarist in internal of In 1921a group Mongolian of revolutionaries gainedcontrol thecountry as with helpoftheRussianRed Army.The Bogdo Khanwas re-installed the his was monarch after deathno reincarnation identified; a constitutional but the under leaderthecountry renamed Mongolian was the People's Republic included Party shipoftheMongolian People's Revolutionary (MPRP), which elements. a coalition bothrightist leftist of and of Soviet assistanceplayed an essentialrole in the re-establishment The intiof centuries Chinesedomination.2 after Mongolian independence Russia and Mongoliaforthenextseven decades materelationship between Chineseintervention, in reflected partthefearamongMongolsof renewed nationhood forRussia was perceived thelesserof two evils. Mongolian as totalreliance theSovietUnion,and this on carried with thepriceof nearly it the was seen as acceptable theleadership. Amongthepopulation, close by</p> <p>Background</p> <p>(Bloomington, Century Ind.: IndianaUniversity Mongolsof theTwentieth 2. Robert Rupen, History Mongolia(London: KeganPaul, 1989),2nd of Press,1964);C. E. Bawden,TheModern edition.</p> <p>TOM GINSBURG 461</p> <p>identificationtheMPRP with successful of the anti-Chinese nationalist movetoday. for its mentof the 1920s is critical understanding survival</p> <p>thoseofthe 1924 closelyparalleled Political developments Mongoliaafter in USSR. Consistent withtherise of Stalinin the SovietUnion,thetwenties in and thirties saw a seriesof violentpurgesand forcedcollectivizations lamaseries and Buddhist Mongolia,whichbrokethepowerof theremaining roughly 15% over 100,000persons, traditional nobility. someestimates, By traditional culofthepopulation, that werekilledduring period.3Mongolian Mongolia'sdicalphabet introduced. was ture was repressed, thecyrillic and of the tators evenbecameknown junior as versions their Sovietcounterparts: his (1928-52), who eliminated rivalsto power, ruthless Horolyn Choibalsan became "Mongolia's Stalin"; his successor, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal for effect the on (1952-84), became"Mongolia'sBrezhnev" his stultifying country. the split, USSR tooka moreactiverole in the Following Sino-Soviet the of and its throughstate, stationed troops development Mongoliaas a buffer the outMongolian toward Chinesewas exacTraditional animosity territory. and wereexpelled.The economy became erbated, in 1980 Chineseresidents into of 95% increasingly integrated that theUSSR, and by the 1980s,nearly of Mongolia'strade was withtheSovietUnionand mostof therestwithits allies on the Councilon MutualEconomicAssistance (CMEA).4 Signs of changein the USSR led the MPRP in 1984 to replaceTsedenbalwitha with undertaken a undoubtedly Batmonh, succession younger leader, Jambyn from two Moscow. Behindthescenes,however, groupsstruggled approval reform for the Cautious calls for beganto appearas the powerwithin party.5 of was initiand deteriorated further, in 1988 a program "renewal" economy and Gorbachev's Following policiesofglasnost perestroika. ated, paralleling of the theRussianexample, initial processwas objective Mongolia'sreform rather thanreplaceit. to revitalize socialisteconomy the theoretiresided the Governmental throughout communist period authority Presidium, by callyin theGreat People's Hural,controlled itsseven-member power. and in the Council of Ministers.In fact,the MPRP monopolized and were not tolerated, theMPRP estaband Politicalcompetition dissent and overthemedia,theeconomy, all aspectsof lisheda network control ofin and S. K. Soni,Reignof Terror Mongolia,1920-1990 (AbseconHigh3. D. Dashpurev 1992),pp. 44-45. Book Company, lands,N.J.: International PoliticalEconoin in 4. CevdetDenizerand Alan Gelb,"Privatization Mongolia," Changing 1994),p. 68. ed. Colo.: LynneReinner, mies,VedatMillor, (Boulder, p. and 5. Dashpurev Soni,Reignof Terror, 79.</p> <p>Period The One-Party</p> <p>462</p> <p>ASIANSURVEY, VOL. XXXV, NO. 5, MAY 1995</p> <p>publiclife. The country divided was into18 provinces reflecting traditional administrative divisions, theseweresubdivided counties, and into each with its own communist party cell. The political system theMPR during of this periodhas been described "totalitarian intent, less so in factand as in but effectiveness."6 relatively The loose system control of reflected vastly the dispersed self-sufficient and nomadicsociety whichgovernment in provides fewofthepeople'sbasic needs. Despitethecollectivization herding the of in 1950s,thenomadic lifestyle herdsmen of continued families and livedas individualunitsin their traditional pastures.Therewas little threat grassof rootspolitical organization against communist and therefore need rule, little for in repression thecountryside. samecouldnotbe said for The urban areas, for who especially intellectuals, experienced tight control repression.7 and in One of thepoorest nations thecommunist bloc,Mongoliareceived significant external assistance.The economy heavily was subsidized theSoby vietUnion and its trading the regime, CMEA. Subsidiesincluded blanket grants coverthe chronic to budgetdeficit and were appliedto trading arrangements infrastructure and construction projects.Massive inflows aid of and goodsmeant that averageherdsman of the a standard enjoyed farbetter livingthanhe would have had without them. Public healthprograms and wereextended evento remote items education and herding families, luxury from Eastern Europewereavailableat low prices. Improved living standards contributed thelegitimacy theMPRP, whichbecamea relatively to of popular communist party, especially thecountryside. party in The claimedlinks with national the heroSukhbaatar, led the1921revolution is univerwho and fromthe Chinese. These of sally perceivedas the liberator the country claimswerereinforced the mediaand education through state-controlled sysviews. All of theabove factors werecruwhichrepressed alternative tems, the cial in endowing partywithlegitimacy underpinned MPRP's the and intoa democratic survival era.</p> <p>in fall Followingthedomino-like of communist regimes Eastern Europe,a in reformist group called the MongolianDemocraticUnion was formed in Ulaanbaatar December1989. Earlythenextyear,it beganto call forthe demonstrations the main squareof on to regime standdown and launched overhow to strike.The MPRP was divided Ulaanbaatar well as a hunger as to whether in respond.At the 19thParty Congress March 1990,it debated</p> <p>1989-1992 Transition:</p> <p>6. Paul Hyer,"MongolianPeople's Republic," World in Encyclopedia PoliticalParties, of GeorgeE. Delury, ed., 2nd edition (New York: Factson File, 1987),p. 750. 7. Dashpurev and Soni describe thisin some detailin Reignof Terror.</p> <p>TOM GINSBURG 463</p> <p>Square had as force, itsChinesecounterpart donein Tiananmen with respond regimes. European as or June, to launchreforms in theEastern theprevious resigned won the day, and Batmonh the groupwithin party The reform was replacedas Committee. Batmonh MPRP Central along withtheentire of minister by of chairman theGreatHuralandhead-of-state the48-year-old Ochirbat.A new, and supply,Punsalmaagiyn economicrelations foreign of and was Committee appointed, a new secretary-general Central younger that announced itwould the later, Parliament theMPRP named. Two months to to amendtheConstitution deletethereference theMPRP's "leadingrole" new politparties.It wouldalso create and to legalizeopposition in society and and legislature, thenew postsof president a ical institutions: bicameral electionsin Mongolia's parliamentary multiparty The vice-president. first werecalled forJuly1990. history for point theMPRP. Unlikeits a of Thus,thespring 1990marked turning did the in Europe, party notdissolveorhandoverpower counterpartsEastern and changein itsleadership, rather, madea generational it to theprotestors; to power,it called snap elections give the opposition seekingto maintain but were demonstrations catalytic, timeto organize.The opposition minimal openness from calls forgreater the also stemmed that thereforms followed of since 1988. Despitethemagnitude that the within party hadbeenbuilding werethedomesunclear howwidespread it just change, remains thepolitical on werebased narrowly parties The opposition for ticpressures reform. first Europeand had who theurbanintelligentsia had been educatedin Eastern in events there thefallof 1989. These parties closelythedramatic followed StateUniverat of loose groupings academics theMongolian around formed for Party, example, of sity. Much of the leadership the Social Democratic deand mathematics physics of was composedof members theUniversity's was made up of Partyleadership while the NationalProgress partments,8 of the Party, largest theopposition OnlytheDemocratic economists.9 young was stillheavily but membership thatsupport could boast broader groups, base lackeda significant The opposition in parties concentrated Ulaanbaatar. amongtheherdspeople in thecountryside.10 the was electedcomprising Great legislature In 1990 a new bicameral elected assembly Huralwas a national HuralandtheSmallHural. The GreatB. R. S. 8. These included Batbayar, Gonchigdorj, Lamjav,and P. Ulaankhuu. D. the included leaderof theparty, Ganbold,and thehead of the economists 9. Prominent in economists theopposition wellknown S. Movement, Batsuh.Other Progress National related StockMarketDirector and Jargalsaikhan his brother, Bank Governor Central former included ZoIjargal. by were affected the politicalchanges,see Melvyn 10. For an analysisof how herdsmen Calif.: of Beale, The ChangingWorld Mongolia's Nomads(Berkeley, and Cynthia Goldstein Press,1994). of University California</p> <p>464</p> <p>NO. 5, MAY 1995 VOL. XXXV, ASIANSURVEY,</p> <p>period. It was of as by districts, in the nominalelections the communist minister the appointing prime of majoraffairs state, for responsible deciding The Small Hural was a the and amending Constitution. and the cabinet, and representation, was responsiby elected proportional parliament standing in legislation betweenthe GreatHural sessions. ble forpassingordinary parties won 40% out, turned and opposition Over95% of theeligiblevoters the Hural, bodywith formal the oftheseatsin theSmallHural. ButtheGreat withan overwas the powerto constitute government, moreconservative established the This reflected party's MPRP membership. whelningly rural and organizational financial and in network the countryside its significant...</p>