Editorial: Mongolia celebrates 20th anniversary of Democratic Revolution

Exactly 20 years ago, young Mongolians started to discuss about need of change in Mongolian social and political life. That is how the democratic revolution started and changed political and social landscape in the country.The need was much felt among young generation.During Young Creative Workers National Conference on Dec 10, 1989, several young people including Elbegdorj Takhia, current President questioned social and political path Mongolia has been on last 70 years and authority of powerful MPRP and state leaders.

It was hard to distinguish between MPRP and Government as both merged into one-all powerful machine that run the country efficiently under Soviet instruction. Chairman of the Party was also Chairman of Council of Ministers.

Peaceful gatherings of thousands of people and eventual hunger strike in Sukhbaatar square of Ulaanbaatar by Democratic leaders forced the powerful Political Bureau of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party to resign.Many supported the Revolution of the White-Horse Year (1990). Demonstrations broke up in Darkhan, Erdenet and Khovsgol and Selenge aimag centers. Unlike the bloody confrontations between street protesters and security forces in Romania, Mongolian security forces did not act against their own people. Mongolian Government and ruling MPRP leaders generally recognized that they can not go against the wind of Perestroika (Restructuring) and social reform. Mongolia must catch up with rest of the Eastern Bloc countries by throwing social reform and change.

Many enthusiastically participated in the revolution despite being ignorant about market economy and democracy. The old, bureacratic leaders of the party and state must go was the rallying cry.

After the constitution was amended allowing multi-party system and organization of first free parliamentary election in 1990, many people felt what society Mongolia is heading to. Soviet aid and subsidy stopped. Grocery shelves became practically empty. Food was rationed through monthly food coupons.Privatization of state assets started. Unemployment soared as state plant and factories closed. Many felt nostalgia for good old times of Communism where everything was provided by state. That will be another topic though.

The democratic revolution of 1990s brought freedom of expression, religious freedom and economic freedom. Mongolians proved once again we are pragmatic people who can adapt and live with changing trends and social condition.

President Elbegdorj awarded many veterans of Democratic Revolution today. Bat-Uul Erdene, Democratic legislator was awarded with title of Labor Hero.I still vividly remember very Russian looking-bearded man who came to my native aimag Selenge in March of 1990. Straight from train station he came to central square of Sukhbaatar city to meet with gathered people who waited for him in the middle of night. He explained to the people about what is happening in Ulaanbaatar and need for change.The man's name was Zorig Sanjaasuren, one of founders of Democratic movement in Mongolia.

Kudos to thousands of ordinary Mongolians who took to the streets in 1990s and pressed for social change and the political leaders who realized needs of times.

By Ganbat, Editor of MonInfo News Service
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