Historical Path of Mongolia's Statehood and Independence

Excepts from the statement made by H.E.P.Ochirbat, President of Mongolia on the occasion of the 790th anniversary of the foundation of the Mongolian State and the 75th anniversary of Peoples revolution. Ulaanbaatar, July l,1996

...The Mongolian history of the 20th century has been a history of long struggle of the Mongolian people for independence, renaissance and democracy. Let us briefly review our independence, renaissance and democracy. Let us briefly review our history.

We, Mongolians, have been able to record in the 20th century a progress which was not possible during the last three centuries. Specifically, we have first of all safeguarded and consolidated our national freedom and independence. At the same time, while orienting ourselves toward the common values of human civilization, we have been able to make great strides in the fields of culture, education and health care.

The 1990 democratic revolution could not have been possible without the victory of the 1911 and 1921 revolutions. And it would be difficult to describe the fate of the state to be perfected, of the society to be reformed, as well as of the country to be developed. It would be pertinent to remember the price that we had to pay to safeguard our freedom.

Starting from the end of the 19th century, when its rule weakened, the Ching ruler, in order to resist foreign incursions and evade internal crisis, in 1901 began to introduce some reforms in Mongolia as part of their overall New Administration policy. This policy led to the violation of many restrictions regarding which understandings had been reached with the Manchu state, including the provisions of the Law on Outlying region, which had been adopted in 1691 at the Dolonnor conference and had since been observed for 200 years until 1891. According to that law it was prohibited to allow immigrants to settle in Mongolia, to work at gold mines, to farm or utilize water resources. For example, the arrival of Chinese settlers led to land ploughing and farming, influencing the religion and customs which had evoked the resentment of the Mongolians and had naturally met with widespread protest. It is in these circumstances that in July 1911, the Khalkha princes. High functionaries and lamas met secretly and decided that the time had come for the Mongolians to protect their state, religion and territory, their freedom and revive their state independence. It is as a result of this active struggle in 1911 that the national revolution occurred, as a result of which Mongolia separated itself from the Manchu administration, once again declared its state independence and on 29 December Jebtzundamba Khutukhtu YIII was proclaimed Bogd Khan, head of the religion and the State. Thus Mongolia revived its state independence and a new era of state renaissance began in the 20th century.

The successes and achievements of the national revolution awakened the national consciousness and will of the Mongolian people. As a result new, progressive changes took place in the society. As to the State, a Parliament with advisory powers, composed of upper and lower houses, was established; the army was modernized. New customs, leasing and taxation regulations were introduced. Schools and cultural establishments were opened. The state began publishing books, sutras and newspapers. Commodity and money relations developed and small business increased.

One year after revolution China abolished the Manchu rule and a civil State of China, dominated by capitalists and landlords, was proclaimed. Although Mongolia and China had overthrown the Manchu yoke almost at the same time, the latter tried to hinder the other's independence.

One of the vivid examples of this is the tripartite agreement concluded in 1915 between Russia, China and Mongolia. In that agreement the parties only interpreted the notions of "suzerainty" and "autonomy" differently, but the Mongolian side had agreed that Outer Mongolia would recognize China's suzerainty and had thus put its signature under the document. This implies that Mongolia does not recognize any "autonomy" but rather it recognizes relationship whereby it would be under partial Chinese jurisdiction and aegis, and that the other parties would respect this status. One of the documents to prove this is the Sino-Russian declaration of October 23, 1913, whereby Russia recognized China's suzerainty over Mongolia. In fact the 1915 agreement confirmed China's suzerain status. Some historians tend to interpret the agreement as if Bogd Khan's Mongolia was an autonomous part of China. However, this contradicts with historic reality. The reason is that politically the word "autonomy implies a province that is a part of a state , with its territory also forming a part of that state and being within the latter's domain, it exercises extremely limited rights, In other words, while "suzerainty" defines special relationship between big and small separate states, "autonomy" defines relationship between the subjects of one single state. The Russian October Revolution of 1917 prevented the 1915 agreement to cause real damage to and restrict Mongolia's independence, since one of the subjects of the agreement ceased to exist. This brought about change in the relations of our two neighbors that rendered impossible for the agreement to be carried out.

Some aggressive forces having realized that the independence of Mongolia could not be shaken by the above-said methods, tried to overrun Mongolia by military force. Thus, under the pretext of protecting Mongolia from the bolshevik danger, Kuomintang troops led by Hsu Shu-cheng invaded Mongolia from the South in 1919, while Baron Ungern, a fugitive of the October Revolution, infiltrated into the country from the North in 1920. These invasions threatened the freedom and independence of the Mongolian people.

We should note with pride that the Mongolian nation has never been short of patriots who fought for the inviolable independence of the nation. This time the revolutionary struggle was led by Ts. Bodoo, S. Sukhbaatar, Kh. Choibalsan and their comrades-in -arms. The Mongolian People's Party established by them, seized political power, expelled foreign aggressors from the country with the assistance of Soviet Russia, and protected its independence and established a limited monarchy with People's Government in 1921. . .

. , , The struggle between capitalist and socialist ideologies started in earnest in the world with the victory of the October Revolution in Russia and the pursuance of the goal of building a socialist order.

History testifies that when Mongolia was faced with the question of choosing its state structure and path of development, many Mongolian intellectuals put forth and debated their ideas. In 1921-1924 measures were taken to restructure local government by democratic elections and to democratize the state establishments. The transition from an absolute monarchy to a limited one with people's government and then gradually to a Republican form of government was indeed a great progress in the evolution of the State structure.

Mongolia has traversed 70 years along the road of socialism, copying and following the principle of proletarian dictatorship and choosing the path to socialism by adopting the ideology of class struggle, following the path of non-capitalist development as well as enshrining the above-said in its first Constitution. This was a clear manifestation of how Comintern Soviet Russia's foreign policy strongly influenced Mongolia's choice of the road of development and its State structure. While following this path we achieved a lot and made great progress. We also made mistakes and errors.

In Mongolia foreign rooted theory of class struggle and the doctrine of irreconcilable contradictions between the rich and the poor as well as of proletarian dictatorship, according to which social development is ensured by elimination and burying of the rich by the poor of the capitalist by the proletarians had become a universal guidance. As a direct consequence of that, many of the genuine patriots, hundreds of outstanding party, state and army people that had distinguished themselves during the revolution, a well as honest members of the party, monks and clergymen, ordinary citizens had fallen victims to the persecution. This repression can not be justified and forever will be a dark page in our history.

Nevertheless, the political persecutions could not destroy the foundations of the peoples power because the Mongolian people considered the peoples power as a guarantee of their freedom and independence and strongly depended and consolidated it under all circumstances.

In any case, Mongolia has come to this day safeguarding its freedom and independence preserving its unique nomadic civilization, while at the same time keeping pace with the progress and development of mankind.

From the last historical lessons we have learned that freedom and independence are the most cherished ideals of any nation. We have faced and overcome many challenges to our national independence.

The Declaration of war by the USSR against Japan and the ensurance of its victory set the stage at the Yalta Conference of the USA, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for recognizing the status quo of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1945 as well as for the Chinese recognition of Mongolia. According to this agreement, on August 8, 1945 the Soviet Union declared war against Japan and the following day Mongolia also declared war against Japan and fought shoulder to shoulder with the Soviet Army. The declaration of war at that time was not an act of revenge for the 1936 border provocations and the 1939 Japanese aggression at the Khalkhyn Gol region, nor an act of aggression to invade Japan, but it was a demonstration to the world community that Mongolia is an independent and a peace-loving State, and that it was duly contributing to the cause of eliminating the hot bed of World War II in the Asia-Pacific region by sending its troops. Mongolian patriots sacrificed their lives in this war...



...On September 2, 1945 Japan signed the act of capitulation. Yet, this did not lead to the full guarantee of Mongolia's independence.

China raised yet another precondition for recognizing Mongolia's independence: it would do so if Mongolia's aspiration for independence would be confirmed by the Mongolian people themselves in a national referendum. So the people of Mongolia cast their votes confirming their status of being citizens of an independent Mongolia in a national referendum conducted on October 20, 1945. The Chinese Kuomintang Government, which had long been considering Mongolia as a part of China, had to recognize the independence of the Mongolian People's Republic and signed the protocol in the establishment of diplomatic relations on February 13, 1946. Only 3 years later, in 1949 People's Revolution won in China which led to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. This created favorable external condition as for strengthening the independence of the Mongolian People's Republic.

The Government of the MPR recognized the People's Republic of China and established diplomatic relations with the latter on October 6, 1949, laying the foundation for good-neighborly and friendly relations between the two countries. The two countries concluded the Treaty in 1962 and pledged to respect each other's independence and coexist peacefully.

Since 1990, relations between Mongolia and China have been developing successfully on the basis of the universal principles of cooperation between the nations of the world. In 1994, Mongolia and the PRC concluded the Treaty of friendly relations and cooperation, agreeing on such vital principles as mutual respect of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-aggression. This relations between our two countries have entered a new stage, which are fully in accord with the interests of our peoples.

The relations between Mongolia and the Soviet Union, which had been successfully tested during the difficult war years, developed in all spheres on the basis of the Treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance concluded in 1946 as well as the Agreement on economic and cultural cooperation.

The delimitation of the borders between Mongolia and the Soviet Union started with the conclusion of the Treaty of 1958 and was completed in 1979 by their demarcation.

Mongolia and the Russian Federation concluded the Treaty of friendly relations and cooperation in 1993, incorporating all the positive in our historical traditional relations and agreed to further develop our relations and cooperation on the basis of the principles of mutual respect of sovereignty, independence and non-interference in each others affairs. Thus, our relations are successfully developing and expanding in all fields.

The 20th century has become the most important era in our efforts to ensure our country's independence and state sovereignty on the principles of international law and of territorial integrity and to achieve the socio-economic goals by developing equitable, friendly relations with our two neighboring great powers and demarcating the borders.

It should be pointed out that during the 20th century Mongolia has not only relied on others support in its search for guaranteeing its freedom and independence. It also mobilized its efforts and possibilities to achieve this goal.

Cardinal changes have taken place in our external environment. Today, Mongolia has become a full-fledged member of the United Nations, maintains diplomatic relations with more than 130 countries and has thus found its proper place in the community of nations. Mongolia is pursuing an open policy. It has overcome its restricted and closed status and is developing relations with many states and nations. Mongolia has defined the principles and areas of developing its relations with such influential countries as Germany, France and the United Kingdom in the form of agreement or declaration. As regards the USA and Japan, these principles have been declared at the highest level.

At this time when the threat of a nuclear war persists Mongolia has declared its territory a nuclear weapons free zone and has obtained the support of all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including its two neighbors as well as the support of the international community as a whole. Thus Mongolia has been taking concrete measures to ensure its security by political and diplomatic means.

Mongolia regained its state independence at the beginning of this century, followed the communist path of development for 70 years and from the beginning of the 1990s it chose the path of building and developing a humane, civil, democratic society, combining political and economic democratic changes.

It is impossible to separate the present reform process from the previous 70 years of historic development. There can be no reform isolated from history. Likewise, it is impossible to separate our last 75 years from the 800 years history since the establishment of the first Mongolian State. The unlimited wisdom of the Mongolian statehood has led this nation from generation to generation together with its culture and civilization, and creative vitality.

As a result of disregard for Mongolia's central state authority and the "Great Yasa" laws, in the middle of the 17th century Mongolia's unified state broke down into the inner Mongolian Chahar kingdom, Outer Mongolian khanate and 4 Orad union of the Western Mongolia. Since Mongolia lost its unity, the Manchus were able to subjugate inner Mongolia in 1634. The Manchu state, that was established on the foundations of the Zurchid Empire, was gaining strength and at that time was considered to be the most dangerous enemy of the Mongolian state. In the face of the growing danger of Manchu invasion, in 1691, the Mongolians pursued a flexible policy of voluntarily coming under the protection and patronage of the Manchu emperor. Thus they were able to preserve their state intact, the people and livestock pure, and make the Manchus defend them from the danger of foreign invasion for more than 200 years. This was, as they say, a truly wise state policy that is much stronger than a sharp sword or a prevalent force. This policy found reflection in the Law on Outlying region, which was adopted at the Dolonnor conference in 1691 and applied for 200 years until 1891. There are many facts to prove that. To cite just a few, 18 years after Mongolia had voluntarily joined the Manchu empire, the "Khalkha Juram" law was drafted in 1709 (on the 28th day of mid-summer month of the year of Ox) and adopted at the meeting of all-Mongolian princes and ministers, headed by Tusheet khan. The Mongolian state which was under the protection of the Manchu emperor, applied the law for about 100 years. Thus Enkh Amgalan khan (Kang XI) ruled that the cases involving the newly joined khalkhas be tried by their own laws. Even after the adoption by the manchus of the law on ministry for administering Outer Mongolian state affairs in 1789 the "Khalkha juram" law was still used. The status of Bogd khan's ministry for administrative affairs stipulated that in the cases involving aimag and khoshun people, the general Mongolian laws shall be applied. All these testify that Mongolian laws had been in use. It is said that one does not enter others monastery with own bible. When living under the Manchu protection, Mongolians applied their "Khalkha Juram" laws. Isn't it a proof that Mongolia was not invaded by the Manchus, that did not lose its independence nor was it destroyed? Symbolic sovereigns and symbolic adherence to others existed at that time, just like they do today. For example Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is considered to be Australia's sovereign head of state while nobody in the world puts to question Australia's sovereignty and its United Nations

The self-governing states of the British empire had been known as "dominions". It is said that dominions pledged allegiance to the British crown and had joined the British Commonwealth of Nations. In international relations the dominions were considered independent states and subjects of international law. Since the notion "dominion" implied somehow inequality and subordination to another subject am the term was abandoned in 1947. Instead, the term "member of the Commonwealth" of Nations" was adopted. It could be deduced from the above that between 1691 and 1911 Mongolia had retained its relative independence and that it could be considered that it was a dominion of Manchu Ch'ing empire.

The fact that the Khalkha and Oirad princes, the nobility, the venerable lamas and other State and religious leaders had united all the Mongolians that had been fighting each other, under the banner of one religion, and through this spiritual unity had saved and protected the nation by that wise and sound policy, permitted Mongolia to restore its state independence in 1911 with Bogd Khan as the head of State and served the basis for declaring once again the State independence.

I would like to express my deep respect to the sacred memory of the Khalkha, Oirad princes and venerable lamas who were waging wise struggle for saving and protecting the nation during the Ch'ing empire.

Historians and scholars have proven that Mongolians have more than 2000 years of historical tradition of statehood. 790 years ago, on the memorable 16th day of the first summer month of the year of Tiger of the fourteenth sixty-years-lunar cycle or on May 25 1206 by Georgian calendar, Chingis Khan convened on the upper bank of Onon River the Great Assembly of Mongolian princes based on the ancient tradition of the Mongolian state institutions and by raising the state nine white banners he proclaimed the establishment of the Great Mongol State uniting the Central Asian "felt dwellers".

Thus, a powerful Asian empire called the Great Mongolia was born on the vast territory extending from the Great Khingan Mountains in the east to the Tenger (Tian Shan) mountains in the west, from the Sayan Mountains and Lake Baikal in the North to the Great Wall in the South.

Different tribes emerged and created their states on the ancient Mongolian territory, like the Huns, Syanbi, Nirun,Tureg, Uighur, Kidan and exactly 790 years ago a powerful state of genuine Mongolian nation uniting all the Mongolian tribes was created.

The establishment of such a powerful state of the Mongolian nation ruled by Chingis Khan, who emerged as the supreme master on the historical arena from an austere social life of that time and with rigid laws, with one banner and symbol, with its own foreign policy and a centralized economy, a small but a powerful army, with a unique national culture and civilization, with a universal Mongolian language and script. The emergence of such a truly independent State that was not subjected to any other State, was indeed a great event in the history of the Mongolian society.

Chingis Khan explained the creation of the great Mongolian State uniting all Mongol tribes in the following way: "The Eternal Blue Heaven had empowered my humble body to govern thousands of subjects. This happened because there was no order throughout the steppes. Children do not listen to their parents, youngsters do not follow the elders, husbands do not trust their wives, wives are not able to stand their husbands words, followers do not respect the master, noblemen do not perform their role among their subjects, the rich do not support the poor, people do not think of living in tranquility everywhere and the order in tribes and relations have entirely weakened the state. Everywhere one goes, there is a lot of people acting willfully. Even liars, thieves, traitors, and bandits have appeared. Therefore, following the will of the people, from this moment on I will strive to enforce authority and correct them and work towards bringing peace and happiness on our territory"...



... The Great Mongolian State that emerged on par with other Asian powerful nations in the early 13th century captured the attention of other countries and evoked the encroachments, threats of war and attempts to invade by force. Therefore, deterring and preventing the threats of other neighboring nations and keeping the border areas peaceful was one of the top priority tasks of Chingis Khan. While uniting all Mongolian tribes under his single rule, he believed that of vital importance in the development of the Mongolian society was to enhance and consolidate the country's power, to check foreign invasions and to safeguard the independence the nation.

On the other hand, foreign interventions prompted disunited nations to unite. This could be certified by the letters exchanged between France's Ludwig IX, Philip IY "the fair", on the one hand and the Mongolian Emperor Munkh, IL Khan Argun, IL Khan Uliit in 1253, 1289, 1305 requesting Mongol assistance in the war against the Cristians and asking for help in turning war into peace.

18 Russian Kingdoms, fighting amongst themselves had been under the protection of the Golden Horde for 238 years, which contributed to the creation of a united, powerful Russian empire. It will not fully correspond to historic truth if one argues that during that period the Golden Horde state made plundering raids and occupied the Russian kingdoms. There was neither demand nor possibility for the Mongolians to do so. How could the State of Golden Horde protect the Russian kingdoms from external attacks and keep them under its aegis if it had made plundering raids or occupied them.

History also notes that the Mongolians had contributed to reversing the disintegration process in China and participated in laying the foundations of a united China, and carried out reforms in Central Asia named after Gazan Khan.

As a result of the military conquests of Chingis Khan, many countries situated between the Central part of Northern China and the Southern Siberian territory, from Manchu Zurchid empire to Caspian Sea were included into the administration of the Mongolian empire. His sons and grandchildren further expanded the occupied territories and established a great empire extending over the Euroasian landmass.


History testifies that all conquests bring misfortune and suffering to peoples and create obstacles to their progressive development. History also shows that one of its many consequences may be its positive influences on the process of the formation of nations by turning the internecine conflicts into agreements and unity. The Mongolian conquests too had negative positive consequences. We, Mongolians, are not proud of the tragic lessons of history. Civilized mankind is in a position to appraise realistically the consequences and subtle meaning of such negative phenomena.

As we see from historical interpretations, Chingis Khan's conquests had been described in black colors and slandered by the Ankara tamplers who had spread a "black legend" after they betrayed the Mongols and had been defeated near Ayn Jalut in 1260.

The legend alleges that "The Mongols are tatars and the tatars are hell's barbarian envoys, emerged from the Lower continent. They torture war prisoners. They annihilate every living being, and destroy buildings, farm fields, parks". These terrifying allegations were spread all over Catholic Europe and the entire Christian world and have poisoned the people's minds and frozen their hearts.

The famous Russian scholar, Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev, wrote in this regard that this "black legend" caused no less mischief than the "black death" (i.e. the plague).

At last in 1307 one night by the order of the king of France Philip IY "the fair", the notorious tamplers were rounded up, some of them were burned in Paris and others were sent to jail.

However, all the enemies of Philip IY "the fair" came to the defense of the tamplers and started to justify their activities. They had spread their ideas, among which was the myth that the tatars were indeed evil messengers.


Dr.L. Gumilev wrote: "A well-targeted accusation is a powerful weapon. The only precondition for it to succeed is that the would be deceived ones should have as little information as possible about the subject. In such circumstances even a not very foolish person can hardly find out the truth. During the 14th -15th centuries in Europe there was general lack of knowledge of Eastern Asia, and in particular, people had no idea about the history of the region. This created an ideal condition for spreading various insinuations without any fear of being exposed. Thus the "black legend " about evil tatars spread all over Europe.

Today, civilized nations have come to understand this distortion of the ancient history. As for the Mongolians, we are able, at last, to once again pay respect to the glories and the feats of our great Khan.

The Mongolian statehood reached its zenith as the Great Mongolian Empire because it was based on the traditional oriental social system and the source of its development were the matter and mind (Yen and Yan) principles, which were taken not as something conflicting but rather in its unity. In other words, while the power was centralized in the h ands of a ruler, a flexible policy of give and take was practiced.

When the United Mongolian State was established in 1206, the tendency towards unity prevailed over that of disunity. The time was not only propitious for the exercise of some form of democracy but there was indeed a need for it. During that period there were two different organizations, the "Council of Wisemen" and the "Great Khurultai /Assembly) which exercised roughly similar functions of the present-day parliaments. This reflects the fact that Chingis Khan took the above tendency into consideration and combined the one man rule with the elements of democratic form of governance. Such a well developed political system inherited from the days of the Huns served as the fertile soil for the growth of a powerful state system. Chingis Khan used to call on the "Council of Wisemen" and listened to their recommendations and proposals on topical issues. "The Great Assembly" was made up of the Khan, his sons, close relatives, influential princes and other high officials of that time. The Assembly deliberated upon and adopted decisions on such important issues as the selection of the Khan, making war and concluding peace. As we see today, to be a politician participating in the affairs of the State, one has to be highly educated and knowledgeable and must be armed with correct political thinking as well correct political thinking as well as the ability to look far ahead, to be both a strategist and a tactician. Thus the involving of so many eminent persons of the time in the Great Assembly was truly a wise decision.

he Mongolian State followed Chingis Khan's teachings of shamanist values that harmoniously blended the contradictions between the law as the power of central authority. That is why this served as a model for many countries.

Chingis Khan introduced a ranking system among his subjects and organized social relations on the basis of rules of respect for and subordination to the nobles. The "aravt" or the unit of tens, inherited from the times of the Huns, became the basic unit of the new ranking system. Chingis Khan divided the population of the country into units of tens, hundreds, thousands, headed by noblemen, as well as, into the guards, nine /generals/ commanders, the Privy Ministers, the State judge, the Prime Minister and the Khan, making 11 rank altogether. In setting these ranks personal talent, military feats and the incumbent's contribution to State affairs were taken into account. The rights and obligations of all ranks were strictly codified. The ranking system introduced subordination in the society, strengthened order and improved organization.

Subordination is not just a rule imposed by force, blind obedience or a cult. It is an important norm of ethics based on social consciousness and dialectic nature of rights and obligations.

Chingis Khan, after completing the reformation of the administration system, started to rapidly improve the country's economy. During the reigns of Chingis and Ogedei Khans, the Mongolian economy stabilized and grew steadily. A wide range of economic reforms were carried out which included raising the livestock, developing artisan shops for the production of armaments and goods, land farming, constructing new towns and settlements, digging wells, establishing horse relay stations, expanding trade routes and others.

After the proclamation of the Great Mongolian state, Chingis Khan in his address gave the following assessment of the feat of his people: "My people who braved heroically without fearing sufferings and dangers, closed ranks around me and shared my joys and sorrows and who make up this great nation is truly the greatest of all nations. During the times of trail and hardships my people demonstrated their utmost fidelity to me until I attained my goal.." In this context it is evident that when the axiom expressed as "A state relies on its people and looks after their well-being, the people, in turn, defend and respect the state" is observed, the basis of success of the country's activities is secured.

Later Khubilai Khan changed the name of the Empire and renamed the Great Mongolian Empire to the Great Yuan dynasty and moved the capital of the Empire from Kharkhorum to Beijing. Even so during the reign of the Yuan dynasty Mongolia remained the nucleus of the Empire. Kharkhorum enjoyed the status of the second capital and maintained the role of being the political, economic and cultural center of Mongolia proper.

Even when the Mongolian khans resided in Beijing palaces and ruled from there, the Mongolian people continued to live in native Mongolia raising and tending their livestock.

In 1368, when the Yuan dynasty collapsed under the blow of the insurgence of the Chinese people, the khans and princes moved with their army back to Mongolia and made Kharkhorum once again the capital city...

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