A Soviet Satellite: Outer Mongolia Today

Courtesy Reuters

FOR many years past Mongolia has been loosely divided into two areas: Inner and Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia, which borders on China, has been incorporated into new special administrative areas in China, and is therefore politically indistinguishable from that country. Outer Mongolia, with which this article is concerned, has an area about a third of that of the United States, and supports a population of nearly 700,000, most of whom are half-nomadic. Over this huge domain, which abuts for more than a thousand miles on Asiatic Russia, Moscow now exercises what to all intents and purposes is an overlordship, keeping Outer Mongolia practically closed to the outside world. For this reason reliable information about Mongolian conditions is difficult to obtain.

Outer Mongolia has long been a football between China and Russia not only because of its position as a buffer state but also because of its chronic weakness. In the seventeenth century, after its decline from world power, it came under the dominion of the Manchu emperors of China, but when the Manchu dynasty came to an end in 1911 the country declared its independence of the new Chinese Republic. This was the signal for constant manœuvering between China and Russia, which was expressed in a series of invasions of Mongolia. In 1915 the Sino-Russo-Mongolian tripartite agreement established Mongol autonomy under Chinese suzerainty, but the régime was short-lived, and in 1921 Urga, the capital, was occupied by Soviet troops and Outer Mongolia again proclaimed its independence.

Russia in 1924 recognized Chinese sovereignty over Outer Mongolia; despite that fact it remained independent, and in 1924 it established a republican form of government closely modeled on that of Moscow. The extent of the relationship may be gathered from a description of the machinery of government. The dictatorship of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia is paralleled in Mongolia by the dictatorship of the so-called People's Revolutionary Party, and the Mongolian Government is powerless to make any important decision or to undertake any responsible work without the sanction

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