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Consulate of the Russian Empire in Urgoo

The People’s Party Born from a Conflict of Interest

While Urgern was in power in Huree, the delegation sent to Omsk to ask for Soviet help continued on its way. As luck would have it, the invasion of Urgern eventually caused the mission to be successful. 

     The delegation, led by Danzan, went from Omsk to Moscow where they even met with Chicherin, but they were unable to obtain promises for practical help. The young Soviet government, which was itself caught in the cross-fire of a civil war in the country, was cautious about interfering in the complicated Mongolia problem. Moscow promised to extend military, material and financial aid to the Mongols through Comintern and its Mongolian-Tibetan department in Irkutsk.

     According to Rinchino, Comintern had eighty million rubles for carrying out a revolution in the east, of which three million rubles were designated for the Mongolian revolutionaries through the Mongolian-Tibetan Department in Irkutsk. 

     They were talking a strange and incomprehensible language about struggling only against the rich and the nobles. From the very beginning, the members of the People’s Party did not plan to fight their own nobility and especially did not intend to rise against the Bogd Khan, and so the help which the Mongols were seeking was not the help the Soviets were offering. The Mongols pursued only the single objective of driving the Chinese from Mongolia.

 Soviet Decision due to Urgern

     Fortunately, a mad general, without anybody’s prompting, did what the Soviets were extremely reluctant to do. The Bolsheviks in Moscow, Irkutsk, and Verkhneudinsk, immediately offered to help the People’s Party oust the White Guards of Baron Urgern, and began extending all possible aid and support. 

     During the fall and winter of 1920-21, Soviet work was intensified to publish and distribute the newspaper, upgrade the organization level of the Party and train personnel. A newspaper, Mongolyn Unen (Truth of Mongolia) was published in Irkutsk, perhaps with money from Comintern in Moscow or the Mongolian-Tibetan Department; six issues were published and distributed among the Mongols living in the border areas.

     Although the Soviets theoretically hated the rich and the nobles, and politically they disliked Baron Urgern, they had to come up with principles to please the Mongols, who were concerned only with the Chinese. And so shortly after Huree was seized by Urgern, a conference of the People’s Party was organized in Troitskosavsk on AMrch 1-3, 1921. It was later agreed that this conference would be considered the First Congress of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP); since then March 1 has been observed as the Day the MPRP was founded. There is some truth in this, and at this conference, the MPRP, which later proclaimed itself “An inalienable part of the world Communist movement”, became a Marxist-Leninist party under Soviet pressure. 

Party Manifesto

As capitalism and industrialism have developed in Europe, the proletarians, who are oppressed and exploited under capitalism, are uniting under revolutionary ideology and forming the People’s Party, and are freeing themselves from the shackles of capitalism.

The Soviets Find Themselves in a Difficult Position 

     A few days after the Congress, on March 13, 1921, the Provisional People’s Government of Mongolia, a kind of government in absentia, was formed under the chairmanship of Chagdarjav. 

     The government had five ministries: the Special Western Military Unit, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the War Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the National Guard. Immediate action was taken to set up a national army and work was gone done on the northern frontier to develop propaganda and draft soldiers. On March 18, 1921, the Chinese troops in Kyakhta were attacked. The newly formed People’s Army had about four hundred men with only four machine-guns.

     The Soviets had the means of issuing their demands through the established refugee government and the political party which had already taken on a Communist form. 

     But Beijing did not answer their missives. Chen Yi, who fled to Kyakhta through Makstenek after the second crushing onslaught of the mad Baron, asked Soviet Russia to send the Red Army to destroy Urgern. Moscow once again requested permission from Beijing to send the Red Amry to Mongolia to fight Urgern. It was a compromising position for the Soviets but when Urgern invaded Huree and Chen Yi arrived in Troitskosavsk to request assistance, the Soviets who had been conflicting amongst themselves reached a united decision. The Comintern introduced a proposal to the Mongolian delegation to from a refugee Mongolian government, creating a political party armed with revolutionary theory to administer the government, and to set up a national army. The military force would be used to defeat Urgern. Nonetheless, to raise the Mongols’ spirits, the Soviets would have to let them fight the Chinese in Kyakhta, but also help the Chinese by letting them go home through Russia. Since Urgern was waiting to kill them, the Chinese soldiers had no way to return home except through Russia.

Invasion of Kyakhta

     It was relatively easy to crush the Chinese troops, who were totally demoralized and disorganized at their defeat by Urgern and who were struggling in the frozen land of Mongolia. But numerically, the Mongols were far too weak. While the Soviets had no desire to get involved in any conflict against the Chinese, they feared that if they failed to support the Mongols the Mongols might not participate in the world revolution, let alone fight against Urgern’s forces. Thus, the Soviet troops donned Mongolian feels and fought side-by-side with the Mongols.

     On the one hand, the glory of defeating the Chinese must not go to Urgern. The Mongols’ only request was to be free of the Chinese. The delegates who came to seek assistance sided with Urgern and since they were liberated, they thought no further action was needed. There was a possibility that they might even stand against the Red Soviets.

     Urgern had already defeated the Chinese who had invaded Mongolia. To decrease the importance of his actions, the Soviets started a rumor that the 10,000 soldiers in Kyakhta had been defeated by D.Sukhbaatar’s 400 soldiers. In reality, the Chinese army who escaped to Kyakhta consisted of only 1500 soldiers, 500 of whom were professionals and the remaining 1000 soldiers new recruits.

     The Soviets helped almost all of them to return home safely through China by letting them escape to Troitskosavk. Such was the agreement they had made with Chen Yi, who arrived in Troitskosavsk first. 

Chronology

  • 1921, March 1-3: A conference of the People’s Party organized in Troitskosavsk on March 1-3, 1921. It was later agreed that this conference would be considered the First Congress of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP).
  • March 13: The People’s government established, when seven members.
  • March 18: The Mongolian National Army defeated the Chinese in Kyakhta with the help of the Soviets.
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