What is the historical perspective on Choibalsan’s legacy in Mongolia.

Choibalsan during the Khalkhin gol war in 1939

Kh. Choibalsan was a Mongolian political and military leader from 1930s to his death in 1952. He has lived through tumultuous times and was Mongolia’s leader through its darkest periods in the modern times. His legacy is complicated and needs a thorough understanding of the events that were occurring during those times.

In the recent years, a lot of information from those times have been de-classified and researchers got to work on these materials, both in Russia and Mongolia. We have a better understanding of what was going on. Before writing about his legacy, let me give a brief introduction.

Khorloohin Choaibalsan was born as Dugar on February 8th, 1895. He was a fatherless son of a woman named Khorloo. He grew up and got education in the monastery where he was given a different name, Choibalsan.

In 1911, Mongolia declared itself independent from the Qing dynasty and a monk, Bogd khan, became its leader. The new government worked hard to bring modernity to Mongolia. Choibalsan, among other young people were chosen to be sent to a Russian gymnasium in Irkutsk. After several years, Soviet Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent calamity forced all the Mongolian children to be sent back home. Choibalsan as a young man witnessed events occurring in Russia and became interested in Communism. When he came back, Mongolia was reoccupied by the Chinese Gomindan forces.

He and several young men decided to resist this and became revolutionaries. This is how the famous Revolutionary Seven became to be. Choibalsan, because of his knowledge of Russian played a crucial, albeit secondary role. Since the first repressions of 1920s, he rose in power and has subsequently became one of Mongolia’s longest serving leaders. So what are his legacies?

Choibalsan shortly after he became a Prime Minister

Some of his darkest legacies:

Some of his positive legacies:

So, what is the historical perspective on Khorloogiin Choibalsan’s legacy in Mongolia?

In the last decade or so, Mongolian researchers and historians were granted an unprecedented access to the materials and reports from that time period. Many of the secret archives, both in Russia and Mongolia, were opened up. There is probably decades worth of information to process. Some of the books that have been written recently are simply gems, and treasure trove of information.

Together with availability of this information, there has been a lot of interest about the time period. Books and a movie were made about the life of Choibalsan. It is probably too early to say how would the next generation would judge him. Is he going to be vilified or regarded as a hero? I think it is important to understand both sides of the argument to have a fuller picture.

Some of his lgeacies: the city named Choibalsan is still there.

This statue was built in 2016 in Choibalsan city.

the statue in front of National University of Mongolia is still there

the mausoleum in his and Sukhbaatar’s honor was torn down and rebuilt in other place, in 2006

Have a go and visit Mongolia FAQ

A Mongol from the land of Blue skies. www.mongoliaFAQ.COM

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