/ mɒŋɡoʊlɪə /
1. A landlocked socialist republic in central Asia; Also called: Mongolian People's Republic, Outer Mongolia.
2. A vast region in Asia including the Mongolian People's Republic and China's Inner Mongolia.
Country in E Central Asia, bounded N by Russia and S by China.
The 1992 constitution provides for a 76-member parliament, the People's Great Hural (assembly), elected by a simple majority voting system for a four-year term. Parliamentary deputies must obtain the support of at least 50% of the electorate in their constituencies. The president is popularly elected for a four-year term.
Inhabited by nomads from N Asia, the area was united under Genghis Khan 1206 and by the end of the 13th century was part of the Mongol Empire that stretched across Asia. From 1689 it was part of China.
After the revolution of 1911–12 Mongolia became autonomous under the Lamaist religious ruler Jebsten Damba Khutukhtu. From 1915 it increasingly fell under Chinese influence and not until 1921, with the support of the USSR, were Mongolian nationalists able to cast off the Chinese yoke.
In 1924 it adopted the Soviet system of government and, after proclaiming itself a people’s republic, launched a program of “defeudalization”, involving the destruction of Lamaism. In 1931, when two provinces revolted against the Communist Party, religious buildings were destroyed and mass executions carried out on the orders of the Soviet dictator Stalin. An armed uprising by antigovernment forces 1932 was suppressed with Soviet assistance. Marshal Horloogiyn Choybalsan, a former independence fighter, was the effective ruler of the nation until his death in 1952. China recognized its independence 1946, but relations deteriorated as Mongolia took the Soviet side in the Sino-Soviet dispute. In 1966 Mongolia signed a 20-year friendship, cooperation, and mutual-assistance pact with the USSR, and some 60,000 Soviet troops based in the country caused China to see it as a Russian colony.
Isolated from the outside world during the 1970s, under the leadership of Yumjaagiyn Tsedenbal (1916–1991)—the nation's dominant figure from 1958— Mongolia underwent great economic change as urban industries developed and settled agriculture on the collective system spread, with new areas being brought under cultivation.
Tsedenbal was deposed 1984 by Jambyn Batmuntch.
foreign contact and influence
After the accession to power in the USSR of Mikhail Gorbachev, Mongolia was encouraged to broaden its outside contacts. Cultural exchanges with China increased, diplomatic relations were established with the US, and between 1987 and 1990 the number of Soviet troops stationed in the country was reduced from 80,000 to 15,000. Influenced by events in Eastern Europe, an opposition grouping, the Mongolian Democratic Union, was illegally formed Dec 1989 and spearheaded a campaign demanding greater democratization. The Communist Party (MPRP), meanwhile, became committed to political and economic reform.
Free multiparty national elections and local municipal and people's hurals were held July 1990. The MPRP secured 83% of the seats of the central parliament and 62% of the seats in the Little Hural, the central committee of the MPRP. The principal opposition body, the Democratic Party, led by Erdenijn Bat-Uul, captured only 5% of the seats.
The new assembly elected the MPRP's Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat as president and Dashiyn Byambasuren as prime minister Sept 1990. In March 1991 Budragchaa Dashyondon was elected head of the MPRP to replace the allegedly too conservative Gombojavyn Ochirbat. In the wake of the anticommunist repercussions of the failed Aug 1991 anti-Gorbachev coup in the USSR, President Ochirbat resigned from the MPRP. Twelve former members of the MPRP were subsequently charged with corruption during their terms in office.
toward a free-market economy
The government embarked on an ambitious but, in the short term, painful program to achieve the transition from central planning to a market economy by 1994. Prices were freed, the currency was massively devalued, a new banking system and stock exchange were established, privatizations began, and the country joined the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. GDP declined by 10% in both 1991 and 1992, despite the inflow of more than $300 million of Western aid.
In June 1991, the word “Republic” was dropped from the country’s name and in Oct a law was passed providing for the private ownership of land. A new constitution came into force Jan 1992. In June 1992 parliamentary elections the MPRP won a resounding victory. Free-market economist Puntsagiyn Jasray was elected prime minister by an overwhelming majority. In the country’s first direct presidential election June 1993, Punsalmaagiyn Ochirbat was reelected, having stood on behalf of two small opposition parties, the National Democrats and the Social Democrats.
Inner (Chinese Nei Mongol) Autonomous region of NE China from 1947
area 450,000 sq km/173,700 sq mi
features strategic frontier area with Russia; known for Mongol herders, now becoming settled farmers
physical grassland and desert
products cereals under irrigation; coal; reserves of rare earth oxides europium, and yttrium at Bayan Obo