Declaring Mongolia a republic was a single matter. Two days after Soviet representative Alexei Vasiliev said that the “Comintern would salute the proclamation of Mongolia as a republic”, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party’s (MPRP) Central Committee made the proclamation. On June 7, its plenary meeting decided to seize the Bogd Khan’s seal, transform Mongolia into a parliamentary republic, celebrate the national holiday on July 7, and declare the year 1911 as the first year of the State of Mongolia.
Struggle for Power
The Third Congress of the MPRP took place on August 4-31, 1924 and it was announced that the ultimate goal of the MPRP is to achieve communism, and Mongolia will pass the capitalist stage of development.
This singular social system, the “noncapitalist way of development” that the Soviets had imposed on Mongolia and other Soviet Central Asian republics, was, in fact, a form of police rule by the Soviet state machinery. The decision of the Third Congress of the MPRP constituted a de facto recognition by the Mongols themselves of the Soviet sovereignty in Outer Mongolia. To make it de jure for the Mongols, a constitution had to be written.
The Third Congress of the MPRP was also marked by intense struggles for power within the ruling elite. The contest was mainly between commander-in-chief Danzan and Rinchino, and between Rinchino and Cmointern representative Ryskulov.
Rinchino had been a friend of Danzan for many years, and both were instigators of the plot to assassinate Bodoo. However, from 1923 on, Danzan grew steadily opposed to the idea of bypassing capitalism. He felt increasingly irritated with the aggressiveness of the Soviets, and their ideology. He learned from Marxism that societies pass through explicit stages of development, and therefore was doubtful about Rinchino’s theory of bypassing.
The third Congress became an arena of battle between the two men. For twenty-two days Danzan, who was elected to chair the Congress, was hindered from doing his work and had to go to great lengths to assume his function. He vengefully opposed Rinchino’s new six-point revolution. “Today in Mongolia”, he declared in Congress, “there are no home-grown capitalists [to fight], so we do not need this revolution now. Our ten objectives cannot be casually revised, only because Rinchino and his cohorts happen to have new ideas”.
The Decision of the Third Congress
The ultimate goal of the MPRP is to achieve communism, and the party is moving again towards this goal bypassing the capitalist stage of development by… Mongolia, unlike many nations in the world, should not suffer from reactionary capitalist oppression… and can move towards a genuine popular order.
The Execution of Danzan
To eliminate this “representative of capitalist elements” Rinchino started looking for allies. He found one in young Dambador, presidium member of the Central Committee. Twenty-five years old and fairly well educated, Dambadorj was the most radical Marxist in the MPRP leadership. United by a common ideology, Rinchino and Dambadorj set out to wage a “class struggle” against Danzan. Deeply resentful at the turn the events were taking, Danzan left the Congress. When Choibalsan, a fresh convert to Rinchino’s side, suggested that the Congress be adjourned, Rinchino, driven by his desire to destroy his enemy, welcomed the suggestion. At this very moment, Dambadorj exclaimed, “Let us entrust Rinchino with the arrest of Janjin Danzan!” and so Danzan fell into Rinchino’s grasp. Within twenty-four hours Danzan and Bavaasan had been arrested and executed. The execution took place at Sharhad, on the outskirts of Huree. The Soviet plenipotentiary Vasilev made a speech at the Third Congress explaining the execution:
“Once we discovered a breach of order, we… as true masters, rectified it and restored order. Do not be frightened by what has happened. You have done right. This was one of those cases where, to avoid mass destruction, you must resort to one or two executions. I believe that what you have done will contribute to the consolidation of relations between the USSR and Mongolia”.
No Other Choice
Many have concluded that the Third Congress defined the direction of Mongolia’s later development. However, the Mongols did not choose anything for themselves. The choice was made by others. What happened to Mongolia in 1924, as a result of the Third Congress of the MPRP, was that it joined the communist world.
Elbegdorj Rinchino (1888-1938)
His name is Russian might have been Elbeg Dorjievich Rinchinov. Like the spelling of his name, the man’s political convictions and the means by which he attained power in Mongolia have remained obscure. He was born in 1888 into a herder family in Buriatia. Around 1910 he studied at Saint Petersburg University and became a communist. Later he abandoned the communist and joined the Socialist revolutionary party (the SRs, or Esser). He had been to Mongolia several times as a member of research expeditions and was along with Shumyatskii and others a member of a clandestine revolutionary group.
In 1919 he took part in the conference of supporters of Greater Mongolia in Dauria and was even selected as “Minister of Foreign Affairs”, a position which testifies to his influential standing. As a Bolshevik, he had a strong desire to make social reform in Mongolia and as a Mongolian, he wanted to resurrect Pan-Mongolia. He initiated the idea to establish a country that would serve as a shield between Russia and China. In 1919, Rinchino wrote about this idea of his in an article in China’s Nash Puti newspaper.
In 1920, when “The First Seven” Mongols of the People’s Party went to Deed Ude and Irkutsk, he was the Mongolian Tibetan representative at the Far Eastern Section of the Bolsheviks Siberian Bureau, and because he spoke both Mongolian and Russian, he played a crucial role. He was most likely trusted by Shumyatskii. It seems that Shumyatskii told “The First Seven” to consult with Rinchino regularly.
Rinchino was not only the translator of most of the documents that the Russians had written for the Mongolian People’s Party but also was the author of several of them. He also participated in editing the newspaper Mongolyn Unen. Later Rinchino was promoted to be Head of the Mongolian-Tibetan Section of the Siberian Bureau. The MPRP which was established in 1920, found its form under Rinchino’s initiation and administration and in 1924 it became a communist party. One of his creations was communist Mongolia since it was he who administered the Transitional process. Rinchino played a major role in the independence of Mongolia. Until his return home in 1925, he was the commander of Outer Mongolia.
He taught at the University and helped to form many new revolutionaries. Rinchino was assigned as a professor at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, where until his execution in 1938.
- 1924, May 20: The death of Bogd Javzandamba.
- August: MPRP’s Third Congress was held.
- October 24: A commission, headed by Prime Minister Tserendorj, was set up to draft the new Constitution.
- November 8: The First People’s Hural (Assembly) was held.
- November 26: The MPR was declared and the Constitution issued. Huree was renamed Ulaanbaatar.