What Stalin knew about Genghis Khan

Anand Nyamdavaa
2 min readSep 1, 2019


It seems Stalin knew a lot about Chinggis Khan and Mongolia. In the protocols of meetings between Stalin and various Mongolian political leaders, Stalin mentioned Chinggis Khan on many occasions. After 1940s, however, Stalin doesn’t mention him anymore. Why? I can only speculate. But first, let me translate some of the passages where Chinggis khan is mentioned:

  1. Protocol of meetings between Stalin and high level Mongolian government officials, 1933:

This (Lamaism) is a state within a state. Chinggis Khan would not have accepted this. He would have slaughtered them (lamas). You know what we did with the Orthodox church. Taking this example you should also do the same with them. (pg.61)

2. At the reception of the Mongolian Embassy, Mongolian Prime Minister Genden raised a toast to Stalin. Later he raised a toast to Eliava (another Georgian), Deputy Minister of the Light Industries. 1934

Stalin retorted: When Chinggis Khan’s General Jebe traveled to Georgia, there is a legend he stayed overnight with one of the Georgian families. From that time the family came known as Eliava. Genden (Mongolian PM) would like to become Chinggis Khan. He (Eliava) is Chinggis Khan’s dog. (page 83).

Some of the witnesses of this reception heard Mongolian Prime Minister say to this: If a Georgian can become King of Russia, why I cannot become king of Mongolia? (this was not in the protocol)

3. Protocol of meeting between Stalin and PM Genden, 1936:

Lamas are the example of (your country’s ) backwardness, not development and prosperity. During the times of Chinggis khan there were no lamas. Lamas were the symptom of the Mongol Empire’s collapse. (page 119)

In 1937, PM Genden was executed. Eliava, the Georgian whom Genden praised was also executed. Stalin never mentions Chinggis Khan or Mongol Empire with the subsequent Prime Ministers. PM Genden was famous for being temperamental and outspoken. He argued on many occasions with Stalin and rumoured to have slapped the Father of Nations.

It appears, Stalin when mentioning Chinggis Khan, in his characteristic ambiguous manner, told him not be too independent and behave. Genden was actively dragging his feet and didn’t want to arrest, jail and kill the lamas. Subsequent PM were more accommodating.

Source: General Authority of Archives, Academy of Sciences of Mongolia. Stalin and Mongolia. 2010. Ulaanbaatar. National Central Archives.

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