I am asking this in relation to a comment by @Wladimir Palant on my answer to another thread. In his comment, Wladimir compared Mongolia to the Warsaw Pact countries in being heavily influenced by the USSR.

My question is, what form did such influence take? Can people give clear examples where the USSR intervened in Mongolian affairs?

There are three items I have uncovered so far. Firstly the Red Russians inspired and aided the communist revolution in Mongolia after the White Russians had already intervened there. Secondly during WWII, the USSR sent troops to Mongolia to hold the Japanese and later invaded north China from Mongolia. Thirdly, the USSR held about about 50,000 troops in Mongolia until recent times.

Can anyone expand on this list and to what extent was the USSR's influence welcomed, sought out, or opposed, by the Mongolian people.

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    Don't forget the economical dependency, Mongolia received significant help from the USSR. The Soviet influence in Mongolia was apparently strong enough to force country leaders into retirement and to hold them under arrest in Moscow. Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 13:54
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    @Wladimir Palant any evidence that he was held under arrest?
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 16:34

3 Answers 3


I'll start with a little background knowledge that I have of Mongolia. Tibetan Buddhism was readily accepted because its tantric nature incorporated many of the traditional shamanistic beliefs. This form of Buddhism took hold and helped "assimilate" Mongolia. By the 17th century Mongolia was incorporated under Chinese rule, having submitted to the Manchus, with whom they still had some common background. As China's last dynasty (Qing) weakened and eventually fell, Mongolia declared its independence.

However, the new Republic of China tried to occupy Mongolia as it had been a part of China for centuries. This is when Baron Ungern (White Russians) intervenes and kicks out the Chinese soldiers. Then the Soviets saw this as an opportunity to expand and in 1924 establish Mongolian People's Republic, effectively redeclaring independence from China.

Then the bad times came, Soviet collectivization of livestock, persecution of Buddhists, and the Stalinist purge(s). Essentially Mongolia was a part of the USSR and treated like any other part, it was defended from Japan during WWII but subject to the whims of the state. Introduction of vodka certainly ruined many.

In more recent times, Mongolia has leaned heavily on the Soviet Union for economic and political support. Most of Mongolia's state debt was written off, and they receive reduced price oil/gas exports.

So to answer your question, the comparison to Warsaw Pact countries is accurate in my opinion. USSR influence was very deep and extensive and continues in this century.

Sources: The Changing World of Mongolia's Nomads by Melvyn Goldstein and Cynthia Beall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolia National Geographic Magazine (I'll add the precise issue given the chance to search my collection)


Soviet influence was apparently pervasive in all the public sphere in Mongolia. Wikipedia has a whole separate article on Mongolian economy during the time which shows in many ways that Mongolia was closely monitored and guided by the Soviets. Here's one typical extract:

Mongolia's five-year plans were coordinated with those of the Soviet Union beginning in 1961 and with Comecon multilateral five-year plans beginning in 1976. Annual plan coordination with the Soviet Union, which was made official in signed protocols, began in 1971. Mongolian planners were trained by Soviet planners and cooperated with them in drafting long-term plans, such as the General Scheme for the Development and Location of the Mongolian People's Republic Productive Forces up to 1990, produced in the late 1970s; and the Longterm Program for the Development of Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation Between the Mongolian People' Republic and the USSR for the Period up to 2000, signed in 1985.


The use of the Cyrillic script in Mongolia (which is still used today, although the traditional Mongolian writing system is now making a comeback) is another place where the USSR's influence on Mongolia can be seen.

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