|Mongolia Table of Contents
Mongolia's communist party was established on March 1, 1921, with 164 members in a country that previously had no political parties. At that time, it was called the Mongolian People's Party. In August 1924 at the Third Party Congress, the party assumed its current nomenclature, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party. It was the only political party, modeled closely after the organizational structure and party program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It has followed the Soviet example during most of its existence, and it continued to do so in mid-1989.
The authoritative Party Program, the fourth in Mongolian history, which was adopted in 1966, states that party organizations serve as "the directing and guiding force of society and the state," and at the national level are decisive in setting policy, developing programs, and making key personnel appointments. Below the national level, party organizations and personnel ensure the implementation of the Party Program, maintain political discipline, and supervise appointment to all party and non-party organizations.
Following the pattern of ongoing developments in the Soviet Union, high-level substantive discussions of party organizational reform measures were being held in 1989. One measure under consideration would have government bodies play an enhanced role as consultative bodies in the party's policy-making process. New senior government bodies that eventually could disperse some of the party's closely held power were being discussed. Consideration also was being given to the devolution of some decision-making powers from upper party levels to the primary party organizations. Nevertheless, in the late 1980s, top-level party organizations still continued to hold exceptional authority, dominating the governmental, economic, and military life of the country.
As of April 1988, party membership was reported at 89,588, an average of 1 in 11 of the adult population. According to the Rules of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, "anyone of the working people, acknowledging the Party Program and Rules, actively participating in their implementation, working in a party organization, and implementing all party resolutions, may be a member of the party." Membership was open to males and females at least eighteen years old, although those between eighteen and twenty years could earn party membership only through acquiring a good record as a Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League member.
A candidate for party membership must be sponsored by a party member who has held a full membership for three years. After sponsorship, a candidate's acceptance into the party was discussed by a general meeting of the appropriate party cell and was considered resolved if at least two-thirds of those attending approved. Conversely, expulsion from the party was decided by a vote of at least two-thirds of party members present, but it was effective only after confirmation by the appropriate party committee at the next-highest level. Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party membership increased by 16 percent during the period 1981 to 1986.
The party congress, convened regularly every five years, is theoretically the most authoritative body in the Mongolian party system. The Nineteenth Party Congress of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, convened in May 1986, was attended by 851 delegates--for 79 percent of whom it was their first party congress. An overview of the composition of the delegates revealed that 66 percent also were deputies to the People's Great Hural or to assemblies of people's deputies. Thirty-three percent were workers in industry, construction and communications; 17 percent were collectivized herdsmen; and 50 percent were white-collar workers, including members of the military and the intelligentsia. Seventy-nine percent were of the majority Khalkha nationality.
These statistics showed predominantly urban and educated delegates, and they indicated the professionalization of the Mongolian leadership, much like what had occurred in the Soviet Union by the 1960s. In 1986 women accounted for 21 percent of the total number of delegates, which suggested a substantial representation within the leadership until this figure was balanced against the 30 percent of total party membership that women held in 1986.
The party congress also elects the Central Auditing Commission, which examines and verifies state expenditures. The Nineteenth Party Congress elected a Central Auditing Commission of twenty-three members, smaller than the previous commission of thirty-one, elected in 1981. Eighty-three percent of the commission's members were newly elected.
The Nineteenth Congress also stated its commitment to the existing Party Program, which in essence is dedicated to completing the "construction of socialism" in Mongolia. The Party Program contains the concepts and goals to be realized through the five-year plans and implemented by the government bureaucracy. As stated in the program, the party's role is to instill total commitment among citizens toward this goal: "The party will devote unflagging attention to organizing resolute struggle against views and morals as well as survivals of the past alien to socialism in the minds and lives of people." Extolling the values of patriotism and "proletarian internationalism," the program dictates that Mongolia "will educate the working people in the limitless love and devotion to their homeland, the Soviet Union and other countries in the socialist community. . . ."
Because the party congress of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party meets in regular session only every five years, it cannot serve as the governing party organization. Rather, one of its key functions is to elect the Central Committee, the body that sets the tone and establishes the overall leadership for the country.
The Central Committee elected by the Nineteenth Congress in 1986 included eighty-five members and sixty-five candidate members. It was a smaller body than the Central Committee elected at the Eighteenth Party Congress in 1981, which had an additional six members and six candidate members. Fifty-seven members were reelected to the Nineteenth Central Committee, eleven were promoted from candidate membership, and seventeen were newly appointed. No full members were demoted to candidate membership, but twenty-four retired, died, or had been removed. Candidate members filled the places of former Central Committee members. The number of members on the Nineteenth Central Committee was smaller than that of its predecessor, but the number of new members increased by 20 percent and of new candidate members, by 77 percent. Thus, the composition of the new Central Committee suggested trends toward reducing the size of the senior party leadership, toward adding new members, and toward initiating the newcomers through service first as candidate members.
In 1989 the Central Committee had twelve departments responsible for managing specialized functions including a general department for overseeing and coordinating party affairs. The departments supervised cadres affairs; ideological matters; party organization; military and security affairs; foreign relations; planning and budget; industry; agriculture; construction; transportation and communications; and education, science, and health. Another key body, the Party Control Commission, is subordinate to the Central Committee and is responsible for maintaining internal party discipline and for dealing with incidents that challenge party authority. There also were a Higher Party School and an Institute of Social Studies (formerly the Party History Institute), both of which had the status of a Central Committee department.
Political Bureau and Secretariat
The Political Bureau is elected by the Central Committee to conduct the party's business between plenary sessions of the Central Committee and to provide the top leadership for the party and the country. As the senior policy-making body, it establishes specific goals; and it regularly evaluates the progress of national programs.
The Secretariat also functions between plenary sessions, and it is the administrative center of the party apparatus. It is elected by the Central Committee to oversee implementation of the Party Program and party resolutions and to select leading cadres. This last function gives the Secretariat nomenklatura, the authority to make appointments to the key positions in both the party and the government bureaucracies.
The ruling hierarchy was stable during the 1980s. In May 1986, the Political Bureau included seven members and three candidate members. The Secretariat was composed of six secretaries. Batmonh was reelected general secretary of the Central Committee. These elections produced few changes; four leaders were retained as both Political Bureau members and secretaries of the Central Committee. Three leaders were retained as members of only the Political Bureau, and three were elected candidate Political Bureau members. Two new secretaries were elected to the Central Committee. This leadership group, averaging fifty-nine years of age, was changed somewhat at the third plenary session--or fully constituted meeting--of the Central Committee in June 1987, when one Political Bureau member retired and was replaced by a candidate member. By 1989 the Political Bureau had been reduced to nine members after the death of one candidate member. Two Political Bureau members mentioned as likely successors to Batmonh were Bat-Ochiryn Altangerel, a former Ulaanbaatar first secretary, and Tserendeshiyn Namsray, a member of the party Secretariat and chairman of the MongolianSoviet Friendship Society.
Some party leaders held concurrent key government positions. For example, Batmonh was chairman of the Presidium of the People's Great Hural, and Sodnom was chairman of the Council of Ministers, or premier. All Political Bureau members and candidate members also were deputies to the People's Great Hural. The known substantive responsibilities of the top party leadership covered several specialties: party disciplinary affairs, law and administration, foreign affairs, building and construction, and industry.
Regional and Local Party Organizations
A general understanding of the size of the party structure below the national level was provided by reports in January 1981 that recorded "twenty-seven provincial, town and equivalent-level party committees, seven urban district party committees, 256 basic-level committees, and 2,600 party cells." In March 1989, Batmonh noted that there were 3,199 primary party organizations, or cells. Party first secretaries of aymags and those of the three autonomous cities, usually were represented on the Central Committee. In addition to their key party organizational responsibilities, these regional leaders had the important duty to implement the party's economic policies and programs within the areas under their supervision. In fact, active participation in the current party programs emphasizing economic development was regarded as essential to the regional leaders' success; this probably explained their participation on the Central Committee. Two other key posts, probably equal in rank to aymag first secretaries, were held by leading party representatives in the state Railroad Administration and the army's Political Directorate.
Aymag-level and somon-level party organizations are formed by election of the conferences of representatives within the respective jurisdictions. These committees control the executive and the legislative institutions of government as well as economic enterprises. Meeting in plenary sessions at least twice a year, the committees' regular daily business is conducted by an elected bureau of seven to nine members. Bureau meetings are held once or twice every fourteen days to hear reports and recommendations, to discuss implementation of higher-level decisions, to coordinate and to assign cadres' work, to approve acceptance of candidate members, to assign cadres to non-party organs in territorial units, to provide leadership to party cells and to evaluate their achievements and shortcomings, and to maintain party discipline within various subordinate organizations.
The party cell is considered the primary party organization. Every party member has to belong to a cell. These bodies exist in industrial enterprises; agricultural cooperatives; state farms; and educational, cultural, and other establishments. Cells are formed from not fewer than eight party members or candidates for membership. The cell's responsibilities include recruitment of party members, training and ideological development of the membership, and party discipline. When there are fewer than eight members to be organized, a party section is formed; it has responsibilities similar, insofar as possible, to those of the party cell.
The Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League, founded on August 25, 1921, is the party's most important auxiliary. The Party Program describes the organization as the party's "militant assistant and reliable reserve." In 1986 the league had 235,000 members between fifteen and twenty-eight years of age and was a significant element in reinforcing the party ranks and in contributing to social and economic development. A good record as a youth league member was a prerequisite to selection for party membership. Seminars, lectures, and technical schools were run under league sponsorship to raise the ideological, educational, and cultural standards of Mongolian youths. The league also played an active role in preparing youths for service in the armed forces by instilling patriotism and by encouraging participation in reserve training programs to maintain a high level of physical fitness.
The league structure resembles that of the party, with a Central Committee, a Political Bureau composed of members and candidate members, and a Secretariat. Tserendorjiyn Narangerel, who was sixty-eight in 1989, was elected first secretary of the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League in 1984. In 1986 he was elected to the party Central Committee and became a deputy in the People's Great Hural. Narangerel's predecessor until 1983 was Lodongiyn Tudev, who became editor-in-chief of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party newspaper, Unen (Truth). In addition to Narangerel, the top league leadership in 1989 included a second secretary and four secretaries. Below the national level, the league included committees led by first secretaries in various-level units that had structures comparable to that of the party. The league belonged to the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Union of Students.
The Sukhe Bator Mongolian Pioneers Organization, named after the revolutionary hero, Damdiny Sukhe Bator, and founded in May 1925, was supervised by the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League. With a membership, in the late 1980s, of 360,000, it served children ages ten to fifteen. In 1989 its head--and chairman of the Central Council--was concurrently a secretary of the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League Central Committee. Like the youth league, the Pioneers Organization is meant to involve the children in active work and service in fulfilling party goals. It sponsored rallies focused on labor themes; provided medals for good progress in work and study; and encouraged the ideological, moral, and educational development of children. The organization also hosted sports competitions, art reviews, and festivals. In the summer, the organization operated camps to enhance the physical training and the education of youths.
Mongolian-Soviet Friendship Society
Although party-sponsored mass organizations existed for women, laborers, the elderly, and creative artists, the largest mass organization in the late 1980s was the Mongolian-Soviet Friendship Society, established in 1924. With 580,000 members in 1984, the society was chaired by Political Bureau member Namsray, and it included most of the country's prominent leaders. As the name implied, its mission was to strengthen friendly ties and cooperation with the Soviet Union. The society furthered this goal by sponsoring films, exhibits, and lectures and by conducting an annual friendship month celebration preceding the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution on November 7. Another body, the Federation of Mongolian Peace and Friendship Organizations, acted as an umbrella association, serving other international friendship societies.
The Mongolian Women's Committee was established in 1924. This body operated through women's councils established in industrial centers, businesses, and schools in cities, towns, and aymags. Lubsanchultemiyn Pagmadulam chaired the group in 1989. The federation had approximately 5,000 women's councils that sponsored rallies, educational activities, and work-related training, and it monitored national health care and maternal issues for those sixteen years and older. It supported raising the level of culture among youth and enhancing the quality of their upbringing by instilling moral values. In 1946 the organization affiliated with the International Democratic Federation of Women.
The Mongolian Trade Unions originated in 1927. In 1989 it included 600,000 members, grouped into four categories of trade unions: industry and construction; agricultural workers; transportation, communications, trade, and services; and culture and enlightenment. Trade union organizations ran production and training conferences, and they participated in collective agreements between the managements of enterprises and trade union committees. They also articulated issues of concern to the work force, supervised social insurance programs, and oversaw the observance of labor legislation. These and other powers were vested in law, particularly in the National Labor Law. Schools run by labor organizations focused on improving the qualifications and vocational education of factory and office workers.
The highest body in the organizational structure of the labor unions was the Congress of the Mongolian Trade Unions, which elected a central council and an auditing commission. In 1989 the Central Council of the Mongolian Trade Unions was chaired by BatOchiryn Lubsantseren, also a member of the party Central Committee and the Presidium of the People's Great Hural. A presidium--composed of the chairman of the Central Council of the Mongolian Trade Unions, a deputy, and two secretaries--and a four-person secretariat provided the leadership for the subordinate trade union councils and committees. About 3,000 committees operated at the primary factory level. The composition of the trade unions in the late 1980s was 50 percent industrial workers, 30 percent office and professional workers, and 20 percent agricultural workers. In a population that was 58 percent working class, and in a work force that was 95 percent unionized by 1984, trade unions played an important role. How well they performed was another question. At a party Central Committee plenary session in December 1988, the Central Council of the Mongolian Trade Unions was criticized for not adequately protecting workers' interests. The Mongolian Trade Unions was affiliated with the Soviet-sponsored World Federation of Trade Unions.
Other Mass Organizations
Like most other professional groups in Mongolian society, journalists were organized into a mass organization. By 1989 the Union of Mongolian Journalists had 800 members, more than half of them formally trained as journalists. Ninety-seven percent of the membership had received higher education. In 1989 the press in Mongolia was undergoing major changes, and the effect of these changes on this body still was unclear.
There also were "creative unions" to organize writers, artists, and composers. Their main purpose was to ensure that artistic content supported the party's social and political policies. The top leaders of these mass organizations usually served on the party Central Committee. In 1984 the Writers' Union included a sixty-one member committee with seven presiding author-secretaries.
A newer mass organization, established in 1988, was the Culture Fund of the Mongolian People's Republic. Its purpose was to protect monuments and key examples of Mongol history, literature, and architecture as well as to recover cultural treasures that have been taken out of the country. It was funded by voluntary contributions.
The attempt to organize segments of the country's population extended to elderly citizens. The Union of Mongolian Senior Citizens was established on March 25, 1988, with 120,000 members. Its purposes were to make the elderly more productive and involved in the country's development as well as to study and to improve the health of the aging. The organization had a chairman, a deputy chairman, a 150-member executive Committee, a 15-member presidium, and a 7-member central auditing committee. An important subcommittee of this mass organization, reflecting the World War II legacy of military service, was the Committee of War Veterans.
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Source: U.S. Library of Congress