Monday, 23 January 2012

CASE 383 - The history of Mongolia

Nomadic tribes that periodically plundered agriculturally based China from the west are recorded in Chinese history dating back more than 2,000 years. It was to protect China from these marauding peoples that the Great Wall was constructed around 200 B.C. The name Mongol comes from a small tribe whose leader, Ghengis Khan, began a conquest that would eventually encompass an enormous empire stretching from Asia to Europe, as far west as the Black Sea and as far south as India and the Himalayas. But by the 14th century, the kingdom was in serious decline, with invasions from a resurgent China and internecine warfare.

The State of Mongolia was formerly known as Outer Mongolia. It contains the original homeland of the historic Mongols, whose power reached its zenith during the 13th century under Kublai Khan. The area accepted Manchu rule in 1689, but after the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the fall of the Manchus in 1912, the northern Mongol princes expelled the Chinese officials and declared independence under the Khutukhtu, or “Living Buddha.”

Mongolia lies in central Asia between Siberia on the north and China on the south. It is slightly larger than Alaska. It is the biggest country in the world that doesn't touch sea

The productive regions of Mongolia—a tableland ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 ft (914 to 1,524 m) in elevation—are in the north, which is well drained by numerous rivers, including the Hovd, Onon, Selenga, and Tula. Much of the Gobi Desert falls within Mongolia.

In 1921, Soviet troops entered the country and facilitated the establishment of a republic by Mongolian revolutionaries in 1924. China also made a claim to the region but was too weak to assert it. Under the 1945 Chinese-Russian Treaty, China agreed to give up Outer Mongolia, which, after a plebiscite, became a nominally independent country.

A 20-year treaty of friendship and cooperation, signed in 1966, entitled Mongolia to call on the USSR for military aid in the event of invasion. Thus allied with the USSR in a dispute with China, Mongolia began mobilizing troops along its borders in 1968 when the two powers became involved in border clashes on the Kazakh-Sinkiang frontier to the west and at the Amur and Ussuri rivers.

In 1989, the Mongolian democratic revolution began, led by Sanjaasurengiyn Zorig. Free elections held in Aug. 1990 produced a multiparty government, though it was still largely Communist. As a result, Mongolia has moved only gradually toward a market economy. With the collapse of the USSR, however, Mongolia was deprived of Soviet aid. Primarily in reaction to the economic turmoil, the Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won a significant majority in parliamentary elections in 1992. In 1996, however, the Democratic Alliance, an electoral coalition, defeated the MPRP, breaking with Communist rule for the first time since 1921. But in 1997, a former Communist and chairman of the People's Revolutionary Party, Natsagiyn Bagabandi, was elected president, further strengthening the hand of the antireformers. Then, in 1998, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, a pro-reform politician, became prime minister, but parliamentary cross-purposes led to his resignation, and a succession of prime ministers followed.

In 2005, Nambaryn Enkhbayar of the former Communist party MPRP became president, and Miyeegombo Enkhbold, also of the MPRP, was elected prime minister in 2006. Enkhbold resigned in Nov. 2007 after the MPRP ousted him as chairman of the party, citing his weakness as a leader. Sanj Bayar succeeded Enkhbold as both party chairman and prime minister.

Unprecedented violence and rioting followed June 2008's parliamentary elections, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency. Five people were killed, hundreds were injured, and more than 700 people were detained. Preliminary results gave 45 seats to the governing MPRP and 28 seats to the opposition Democratic Party. International observers did not report any irregularities in the voting, but the Democratic Party accused the MPRP of fraud. Meanwhile, Mongolia continues to be plagued by poor economic growth, corruption, and inflation.

In presidential elections, former prime minister, Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj (opposition Democratic Party), defeated incumbent Nambaryn Enkhbayar Won (MPRP) in a 51% to 47% victory. Elbegdorj took office in June 2009. Prime Minister Bayar resigned in October 2009, citing health reasons. He was succeeded by Foreign Minister Sukhbaataryn Batbold.

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