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The Revenge Against the Buriads

Stalin had no intention, nor did he have any plans, to allow the Mongols free will. In Mongolia there were two groups whom Stalin hated: the Buriads, who had drifted away from Russia after the October revolution, and monks, who had launched an armed uprising, opposing the new Soviet-Style structure. This was a hatred that sought revenge. Many thousands of Buriads crossed the northern Mongolian borders, fleeting the October revolution and the ensuing Cold War. Fifteen thousand eight hundred Buriads had settled along the Eg, Onon, Ulz, Eroo, Herlen, and Halh rivers in Mongolia. At the start of Soviet collectivization, a new wave of Buriads began, running from this catastrophe to Mongolia, and by 1930 the number of Buriads registered in Mongolia had reached 30,000.

     Along with this, when the dangerous plague of communism penetrated Mongolia, many of them fled across the southern borders to Manchuria. Thus, Buriad nationals were divided and scattered inside the borders of three nations.

     Since the 1930s the USSR had insisted on repatriating all refugees who had committed crimes in their territory. On May 26, 1930, a government resolution on immigrants was signed by Sodnom on one side and Okhtin on the other. By the end of 1932, D.Namsrai, Head of Internal Affairs, and the Russian advisor Dubrovski were called the Moscow. Upon their return to Mongolia, at a special meeting of leaders and advisers held between September 9-18, 1933, the question was raised about the Buriads who had emigrated to Mongolia and were working for the Japanese. 

The Lhumbe Affair

     The revenge began with a small incident that became known as the “Lhumbe Affair”. This incident, which led to the mass extermination of Buriads and was the dress rehearsal for massive killings in 1937, is difficult to grasp and its beginnings still remain obscure. Lhumbe was the original of the Rural Revolutionary Youth, along with Genden, Eldev-Ochir, Badrah, and Shijee.

     To begin with, a rumor was spread throughout Dadal sum in the spring of 1933. A certain man named Erentsengiin Damdin, also known as Shodoev, from Norovlin sum in Hentii aimag, was said to have fled to Manchuria in 1929 while serving in the army. However, Shodoev was seen visiting households in his native region. An agent of the Internal Affairs committee in Dadal Sum, coincidentally also named Danzan, received “into his hand” an “extremely threatening letter” written by the above-mentioned Damdin. Danzan sent the letter to L.erentsen, Chief of the Aimag Security Office, and by the following morning, the letter was already lying on the table of D.Namsrai, head of the Internal Affairs Committee. 

     Agent Danzan, who had first got hold of the letter, had a reason to hate the “Japanese spy Tsevegjav” mentioned in the letter. Although Danzan himself had a wife who was pregnant, he had an affair with a 21-year-old girl who happened to be Tsevegjav’s girlfriend. He framed Tsevegjav, Chairman of a Cooperative, in order to hit him with a criminal charge for not selling animal parts, such as heads and feet, which were left in his storehouse to rot. Tsevegjav was sacked and dismissed from the Party.

     However, the former Cooperative Chairman Tsevegjav not only held onto his fiancee but also through his connections managed to have an article published in the newspaper Unen about how he was a victim of false charges. The article claimed that Danzan himself had dictated the incriminating letter to his secretary D.Gombodorj and, on the back of the sheet, he had noted, “What an awfully interesting matter! These agents and spies of Japan should be immediately arrested. Danzan, July 2, 1933”.

     Just a few days later, the “spy” Tsevegjav was arrested and he fingered several people as his leaders, among whom were such prominent figures as M.Tseveen, Chairman of the City Committee of the Union of revolutionary Youth and J.Lhumbe, Secretary of the Central Committee of the MPRP. When Tseveen was arrested and interrogated he confessed, “Lhumbe was the leader of our counter-revolutionary organization”.

Purge Against the Buriads 

     Hundreds of people were involved in this Lhumbe Affair, which received the official title of “The Case of Counter-Revolutionaries and Japanese Spies”. Eventually, an ad hoc commission, headed by the Chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee D.Namsrai, prosecuted 317 people.

     Froom the Hentii group, 174 people were prosecuted in December 1933 and 110 people from the Eastern group were prosecuted that same month. Since Lhumbe slowed justice by refusing to plead guilty, the central group was prosecuted later, in July 1934. Fifty-six were executed, 260 were sent to prison for three to ten years, and 126 were taken to the USSR. Of the 317 prosecuted persons, 251 were Buriads. Among them, 151 were herdsmen and twenty-two were lamas. Among those executed was a pregnant woman by the name of D.Dangajid. She was the first woman in contemporary history to be shot by court order.

     The Halhs involved in this incident were mostly people of high rank such as Lhumbe himself, former Prime Minister Ts.Jigjidjav, Chairman of the State Supreme “Court J.Gonchigsuren, and former Chairman of the Internal Affairs Committee, N.hayanhyarvaa, were charged with heading up the espionage rings.

     lhumbe was taken to the Soviet Union and was interrogated in turn by Russians Soroklin until December 1933, but they failed to make him confess. After he returned home on January 20, 1934, he “conceded” to Luvsansharav, Demid, and Namsrai, and was shot. The door was thus opened for the punishment and genocide of the Buriads who had fled Greater Russia. Both the Buriads and Halhs came to understand that the idea of a united Mongolia would bring terror.

Manchuguo Knocks on Mongolia’s Door

     The long-standing problem of Sino-Japanese relations was settled on September 18, 1931. When the Chinese attempted to blow up a rail bridge in Manchuria, the Japanese started on the offensive and subsequently established their control over Mukden (present-day Shenyang). Following orders from Manchuria’s governor, the Chinese troops retreated without resistance. 

     Almost three years later, on February 19, 1934, the Japanese declared the establishment of Manchuguo, with Mukden as its capital, producing shock throughout the world. Thus, another puppet state was set up in central Asia following the examples of Mongolia and Tannu Tuva (the Urianhai region north of Mongolia). With the creation of Manchuguo, Mongolia had acquired its fourth neighbor, along with the USSR, China, and Tannu Tuva. The southern corner of Mongolia’s border assumed critical importance: it made it possible for Mongolia to have direct contact with japan, which now held Manchuria. The border skirmishes which had occurred along the Soviet-Manchurian border now shifted to the Mongolia-Manchuguo border. But Stalin did now want Mongolia to have any direct communication with Japan. Therefore, on November 27, 1934, the Soviet Union and Mongolia reached a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the two countries would “provide mutual support to prevent the occurrence of war and provide assistance in the event of an attack either against Mongolia or against the USSR.


  • 1935: Delegates of the MPRP participated at the 7th Great Conference of the Comintern.
  • 1936: The Internal Affairs Office expanded and became the Ministry of Internal Affairs Ministry. Mutual assistance protocol was signed between the MPR and the USSR. The MPR passed a law regarding criminal inquiry and publishment.

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