Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal


Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal
Юмжаагийн Цэдэнбал
ᠶᠠᠭᠤᠮᠠᠵᠢᠭ᠎ᠠ ᠶᠢᠨ ᠼᠡᠳᠡᠨᠪᠠᠯ
Tsedenbal in the 1970s
Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Great Khural
In office
11 June 1974 – 23 August 1984
Preceded bySonomyn Luvsan (acting)
Succeeded byNyamyn Jagvaral (acting)
11th Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
26 January 1952 – 11 June 1974
Preceded byKhorloogiin Choibalsan
Succeeded byJambyn Batmönkh
General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
In office
22 November 1958 – 24 August 1984
Preceded byDashiin Damba
Succeeded byJambyn Batmönkh
In office
8 April 1940 – 4 April 1954
Preceded byDashiin Damba
Succeeded byDashiin Damba
Personal details
Born(1916-09-17)17 September 1916
Davst sum, Uvs aimag, Outer Mongolia
Died20 April 1991(1991-04-20) (aged 74)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting placeAltan-Ölgii National Cemetery
Political partyMongolian People's Revolutionary Party (1936-1984)
Spouse(s)Anastasia Filatova
ResidenceIkh Tenger Complex[1][2]
Nickname(s)Бал дарга ("Chief Bal")[3]
Military service
Allegiance Mongolian People's Republic
Branch/serviceEmblem of Mongolian People's Army.svg Mongolian People's Army
Years of service1936-1984
RankMongolian Army OF-10 - Маршал МНР (1944-1972).png Marshal

Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal (Mongolian: Юмжаагийн Цэдэнбал,[a] Yumzhaagiin Tsedenbal [jumt͡ʃɑɡiːŋ t͡sʰɪtənpɑɮ]; Russian: Юмжагийн Цэдэнбал, romanizedYumzhagyn Tsedenbal [jʊmʐɐˈɡɪjn t͡sɪdɪnˈbɑɫ]; 17 September 1916 – 20 April 1991) was the leader of the Mongolian People's Republic from 1940 to 1984. During his political life, he served as Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Great Khural (head of state), Prime Minister of Mongolia (head of government) and General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (head of the ruling party). He was the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc country, serving over 44 years in office until his expulsion in August 1984.

Early life

Tsedenbal was born to a poor ethnic Dörvöd nomadic family in Zorigt Khan hoshuu of the Unen Zorigt Khan aimag (present day Davst sum in Uvs aimag). He was the fifth of eleven children in his family (three of his siblings died in infancy).

In 1925 Tsedenbal became among the first students in the newly organized public school in Ulaangom, graduating in 1929. The same year Tsedenbal went to Irkutsk to continue his education. He spent about nine years between Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude, where he learned the Russian language and later obtained a degree from the Siberian Finance and Economics Institute.

Party career

Mao at Stalin's side on a ceremony arranged for Stalin's 70th birthday in Moscow in December 1949. Behind between them is marshal of the Soviet Union Nikolai Bulganin. on the right hand of Stalin is Walter Ulbricht of East Germany and at the edge Mongolia's Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal.
Tsedenbal (far right) at USSR Leader Joseph Stalin's 70th birthday ceremony with Chinese Communist Leader Mao Zedong and German Communist Leader Walter Ulbricht.

In 1939, having returned to Ulaanbaatar, Tsedenbal worked first as a deputy minister, and then as the Minister of Finance from 1939 to 1940.[4] Additionally, he was the governor of Bank of Mongolia at that time.[5] In 1940, at the 10th Congress of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, he became the party's General Secretary at age 23 and again in 1958 during his premiership.

Rise to power and tenure as leader of Mongolia

After taking over minor leadership in 1952 following Marshal Khorloogiin Choibalsan's death, Tsedenbal successfully purged his political rivals: Dashiin Damba in 1958–59, Daramyn Tömör-Ochir in 1962, Luvsantserengiin Tsend in 1963, and the so-called Lookhuuz-Nyambuu-Surmaajav "anti-party group" in December 1964. He held this office until 11 June 1974, when he eventually became head of state, thus making him the supreme ruler of the Mongolian People's Republic.




Relations with the USSR

His foreign policy was marked by efforts to bring Mongolia into ever-closer cooperation with the USSR. Still, Tsedenbal and his group of party leaders (such as Tsagaan-Lamyn Dugersuren and Damdinjavyn Maidar) were dissatisfied with the economic role that the Soviet leadership assigned to Mongolia. While the USSR prodded the Mongolian government to concentrate its efforts on the development of agriculture and the mineral sector, Tsedenbal and his followers sought to foster rapid industrialization even in the face of Soviet opposition.[6] At the same time, Tsedenbal was cautious enough to frequently express his loyalty to the Kremlin and portray his intra-party critics—including Daramyn Tömör-Ochir, Tsogt-Ochiryn Loohuuz, and others—as "pro-Chinese factionalists" and "nationalists."[7]

Tsedenbal (left) with Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov and East German leader Erich Honecker in 1971.

With the full backing of the Soviets, Tsedenbal successfully purged his political opponents. During his reign as head of the state, Tsedenbal submitted requests for the incorporation of Mongolia into the USSR on five to eight occasions, but these proposals were invariably rejected by the Soviet leaders.

With the intensification of the Sino-Soviet border conflict in the 60s, the signing of "The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the USSR and the Mongolian People's Republic" in Ulaanbaatar in early 1966 by Brezhnev and Tsedenbal, allowed the Soviet Union to station troops in Mongolia to ensure mutual defense,[8] being the first time that foreign troops would be stationed in the republic.[9]

Relations with China

In the early years of his rule, he favored balanced relations between Mongolia and China. In 1959, Tsedenbal was in Beijing for the 10th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.[10]

At the time of the Sino-Soviet split, Tsedenbal decisively sided with the Soviet Union and incurred China's wrath. Despite this, the two countries managed to sign a border treaty in 1962.[11] In the early 60s, he signed an order expelling all Chinese citizens from Mongolia. The resolution was met with outrage: "Break off Tsedenbal's dog's head," was written onto the Mongolian embassy, and Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai stated that "Comrade Tsedenbal is trampling on diplomacy."[12]

Other communist nations

In July 1956, he welcomed North Korean leader Kim Il-sung on a state visit.[13][14][15] As it relates to the Korean conflict, Tsedenbal, during a 1971 visit of the North Korean Deputy Premier in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution, declared that his nation "strongly support the struggle of the Korean people to unify the motherland by peaceful, democratic means and for the liberation of South Korea."[16] During the Vietnam War, he supported the Soviet position, in part due to the stance of the Chinese in this regard.[17]

Tsedenbal visited Bucharest on 9 September 1957,[18] becoming the first Mongolian leader to visit Romania. His relationship with President Nicolae Ceaușescu proved to be frosty, being critical of the latter for his more independent foreign policy.[19]

Other nations

Mongolia under Tsedenbal increased its participation in international organizations, attempting first in 1955 to have the MPR join the United Nations (with the request being vetoed by Taiwan) and being admitted into the UN in 1961. Under Tsedenbal, Mongolia established ties with West Germany on January 31, 1974.[20]

During a February 1973 visit to New Delhi, a Indo-Mongolian joint declaration was signed by Tsedenbal and Indira Gandhi.[21] Furthermore, he supported India in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, at the expense of relations with Pakistan.[22]


Other policies

In 1970, Mongolia under his leadership was awarded the UNESCO Special Prize for Literacy.[12]

Views on the incorporation of Mongolia in the USSR

He was an adamant supporter of the incorporation of Mongolia into the USSR, particularly in the 60s and 70s. Years earlier in 1950, Tsedenbal and others went to Marshal Choibalsan, demanding that Mongolia petition to be permitted to join the Soviet Union, noting on the example of Tuva. In response, he was severely rebuked.[23][24] The only other Eastern Bloc leader with similar aspirations was Todor Zhivkov.

He later reversed his views: In an interview, his son Zorig told that Tsedenbal, while on vacation in Crimea at the invitation of Leonid Brezhnev, had exchanged views with him on the topic. At one point, Brezhnev asked him, "Why not join us?" Initially, Tsedenbal attempted to evade the question. After Brezhnev became irritated and repeated the question, Tsedenbal responded, "As the head of state of Mongolia, I have one thing to say. We are ready to cooperate 100 percent with the Soviet Union in all areas, including the economy, culture, arts, sports and defense. On the most important condition that we remain an independent state."[25]


Tsedenbal during a visit to Beijing in 1952.

Tsedenbal was forced into retirement in August 1984 in a Soviet-sponsored move, officially on the account of his old age and mental weakness but at least partly because of his opposition to the process of Sino-Soviet rapprochement that had started with Leonid Brezhnev's Tashkent speech in March 1982. Jambyn Batmönkh became the general secretary of the MPRP. Tsedenbal was removed a month after receiving Vietnamese head of state Trường Chinh and just days away before he was due to attend a ceremony in honor of the 45th anniversary of the Soviet-Mongolian victory in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.[26][27]

Later life and death

Tsedenbal remained in Moscow until his death. During this period, Tsedenbal repeatedly asked the Central Committee of the MPRP and the Mongolian Embassy in Moscow to visit him, but no one accepted his request. In 1990, he was deprived of the title of Hero of the MPR, Mongolian state awards and the military rank of Marshal of the MPR.

He died on 20 April 1991 at a Moscow hospital.[28] According to a medical report, the cause of death was "bile duct cancer, purulent poisoning and chronic liver failure."[28] After he died, his body was brought to Mongolia five days later, where he was buried with military honors.[28] The funeral was held at the Officers' Palace on April 29, and was taken to the Altan-Ölgii National Cemetery for burial.[28] Many complained that the government commission did not allow the public to say view his body.[28] After spats between government members arose over how he should be buried, the then-Minister of Defense, General Shagalyn Jadambaa, ordered that he be buried with the honors of a general.[28] When Tsedenbal's wife arrived in Ulaanbaatar from Moscow to attend Tsedenbal's funeral, the Mongolian prosecutor's office attempted to interrogate her.[29]

By the decree of President Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat in 1997, the 1990 decree was invalidated.


A statue of Tsedenbal in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

In Mongolia, Tsedenbal is remembered for successfully maintaining a path of relatively moderate socialism during the Cold War.[citation needed] A statue of Tsedenbal was built in 2000 on the plaza in front of the National Drama Academic Theater which has since been renamed to Tsedenbal Square (Цэдэнбалын талбай). The statue and its surroundings were refurbished in 2013.[30] On September 21, 2016, the Erdenet Mining Corporation was named after him.[31]

In 2019, Mongolian filmmakers produced a biographical film of Tsedenbal.[32] His son Zorig founded the Tsedenbal Academy in Mongolia.[33]

Personal life

His Russian wife, Anastasia Filatova (Анастасия Филатова), was often said to be the most powerful political figure in Mongolia[34] due to her close relationship with the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. They had two children, Vladislav (7 October 1949 - c. 2000) and Zorig (born 11 March 1957). The sons' surnames were reduplicated from their patronymic in Russian (e.g. Владислав Цэдэнбалович Цэдэнбал). His granddaughter Anastasia Tsedenbal (Анастасия Зоригновна Цэдэнбал), born in 1985, graduated from the Lomonosov Moscow State University as an African researcher.[35][36]



  1. ^ Mongolian Script: ᠶᠠᠭᠤᠮᠠᠵᠢᠭ᠎ᠠ ᠶᠢᠨ


  1. ^ "Khaltmaa Battulga refused to settle in state residence: Media".
  2. ^ "New president of Mongolia to live in walking distance from his office, unofficial sources say".
  3. ^ https://tsedenbal.mn/hiisen-ajil/%D0%BC%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BC%D1%8D%D0%B4%D1%8D%D1%85-%D0%B1%D0%B0%D0%BB-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B3%D0%B0/
  4. ^ "Монгол Улсын Сангийн яам". Монгол Улсын Сангийн яам.
  5. ^ Монголбанк. "Bank of Mongolia". Bank of Mongolia. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  6. ^ Balázs Szalontai, Tsedenbal’s Mongolia and the Communist Aid Donors: A Reappraisal. International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter 35 (November 2004), p. 18.
  7. ^ Sergey Radchenko, Mongolian Politics in the Shadow of the Cold War, Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (Winter 2005–06), pp. 95–119.
  8. ^ "The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the USSR and the Mongolian People's Republic". International Legal Materials. 5: 341–343. March 1966. JSTOR 20690048.
  9. ^ Li, Danhui; Xia, Yafeng (2018). Mao and the Sino-Soviet Split 1959-1973. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 247.
  10. ^ Peking Review. National Day, 1959. October 6, 1959. No. 40. pp. 4-6
  11. ^ "China-Mongolia Boundary" (PDF). International Boundary Study. The Geographer, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (173): 2–6. August 1984. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  12. ^ a b "Өнөөдөр маршал Ю.Цэдэнбал агсны төрсөн өдөр". sonin.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  13. ^ Holstine, Jon D. (January 16, 2015). Recent Outer Mongolian International Relations: A Time Capsule. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9781312670143 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Mission of Friendship: Friendly Visit of the D.P.R.K. Government Delegation to the U.S.S.R. and Other Fraternal People's Democracies". Foreign Languages Publishing House. November 27, 1956 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Kim, Cheehyung Harrison (2018-11-06). Heroes and Toilers: Work as Life in Postwar North Korea, 1953–1961. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-54609-6.
  16. ^ https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115201
  17. ^ https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117701
  18. ^ "Wilson Center Digital Archive". digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  19. ^ "Монгол-Румыны харилцааг эерүүлсэн Ж.Батмөнх". www.baabar.mn | Шилдэг нийтлэлчдийн клуб. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  20. ^ "Улс төрийн харилцаа". Монгол улсаас Герман улсад суугаа элчих сайдын яам. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  21. ^ Indo-Mongolian relations, Pg 7
  22. ^ Wangchuk, Rinchen Norbu (2018-04-26). "When The World Stood Aside, Mongolia Backed India In Recognising Bangladesh!". The Better India. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  23. ^ Atwood 2004, p.105.
  24. ^ Becker 1992, p. 97
  25. ^ "iToim.mn - ҮНЭНИЙ ТАЛД". itoim.mn. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  26. ^ Mydans, Seth (24 August 1984). "Mongolia Removes ITS Ailing Leader". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "Л.Нанзад: Хуйвалдаанаар харь газарт цөлөгдсөн бид өрөвдөлтэй байсан". www.zms.mn (in Mongolian). Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Ю.Цэдэнбал агсны гэгээн дурсгалд". Улаанбаатарын сонин. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  30. ^ "Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal Statue".
  31. ^ sonin.mn: “Эрдэнэт” үйлдвэрийг Ю.Цэдэнбалаар овоглоно, нийтэлсэн: 2016-09-21, хандсан 2016-09-21
  32. ^ "Biopic about Marshal Yu.Tsedenbal". News.mn. July 29, 2019.
  33. ^ "Как рязанская девушка стала первой леди Монголии". Kaktakto?! (in Russian). 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  34. ^ Leonid Shinkarev, Tsedenbal Filatova Khoyor: Hair Durlal, Erh Medel, Emgenel (Munkhiin Useg Publishing,Ulaanbaatar 2004).
  35. ^ Легендарные люди Монголии. Анастасия Ивановна Цеденбал-Филатова (1920—2001)
  36. ^ Ко Дню России в Монголии возложили венок к памятнику выдающейся соотечественницы А. Филатовой

Further reading

  • Batbayar, Tsedendambyn. Modern Mongolia: A Concise History. Ulaanbaatar: 2002.
  • Nadirov, Sh. G. Tsedenbal and the Events of August 1984. Trans. Baasan Ragchaa. Bloomington (Ind.): Mongolia Society, 2005.
  • Rupen, Robert. How Mongolia is Really Ruled. A Political History of the Mongolian People’s Republic, 1900–1978. Stanford (Cal.): Hoover Institution Press, 1979.
  • Shinkarev, Leonid. Tsedenbal i Filatova. Liubov’, vlast’, tragedia. Moscow and Irkutsk: Izdatel’ Sapronov, 2004.
Party political offices
Preceded by General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Party
April 8, 1940 – April 4, 1954
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Party
November 22, 1958 – August 24, 1984
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Mongolia
January 26, 1952 – June 11, 1974
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Presidium of the State Great Khural of Mongolia
June 11, 1974 – August 8, 1984
Succeeded by