Talk with a Delegation of the Mongolian People’s Republic

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The delegation of the Mongolian People’s Republic arrived in Moscow on November 2, 1921. Its members were: Danzan, head of the delegation, Minister for Finance and Chairman of the Central Committee of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party; Sukhe-Bator, Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Revolutionary Army and War Minister; B. Tserendorzh, Deputy Mirister for Foreign Affairs; Djon-Van-Shirnin-Dandin, representative of religious circles, unofficial member of the delegation; Batukhan, adviser and head interpreter. The object of the negotiations was to conclude an agreement between the Government of the RSFSR and the People’s Government of Mongolia. The draft agreement was considered and approved by the Narrow Council of People’s Commissars on November 3, 1921 (see Collected Works, Vol. 53, Fifth Russian Edition, p. 324). On November 5, 1921, an agreement was signed by representatives of the RSFSR and the M.P.R. under which both parties engaged not to allow groups hostile to the other party to stay or be formed on their territories, and made arrangements for the appointment of diplomatic and consular representatives, the fixing of state boundaries, and customs arrangements. The Soviet Government handed over to the Government of the M.P.R. telegraph instalations in Mongolia belonging to the RSFSR

Lenin’s talk with the delegation took place in the Kremlin. A report of the talk was first published in the minutes of the Ninth Congress of the M.P.R.P., which was held from September 28 to October 5, 1934. The publication was reproduced from the reminiscences of B, Shumyatsky and B. Tserendorzh. The latter wrote in his recollections: “Lenin spoke for a long time with the members of the delegation. He lent an attentive ear to our stories, showed a lively interest in the most varied aspects of life in people’s Mongolia, and gave some useful advice. In particular, he drew our attention to the need for raising the level of education and culture among the Mongolian people, while at the same time stressing the need for developing the country’s economy to the utmost with a view to meeting all the requirements of the peopi.”

November 5, 1921

1st question of the Mongolian delegation: “Comrade Lenin, what do you think about the establishment of a People’s Revolutionary Party in our country and what is most important for us?’

Comrade Lenin outlined to our delegation our country’s international situation and pointed out that owing to the M.P.R.’s geographical position the imperialist powers, in case of war, would try to seize our country and use it as a jumping-off ground for military operations against another country. Therefore, Lenin said, the only right way for every working person in your country was to fight for state and economic independence in alliance with the workers and peasants of Soviet Russia. This fight could not be carried on isolatedly, therefore the establishment of a party of Mongolian arats was a pledge of success in their struggle.

The Mongolian delegation’s second question: “Will the national liberation struggle be victorious?”

Comrade Lenin’s answer:

“I have been in the revolutionary movement myself for thirty years and I know by experience how difficult it is for any people to liberate themselves from their external and internal enslavers. Although Mongolia is a cattle-breeding country and the bulk of her population are nomad herdsmen, she has achieved great progress in her revolution, and most important of all, has made good these successes by creating a People’s Revolutionary Party of her own, whose aim is to become a mass party uncluttered by alien elements.”

The Mongolian delegation’s third question: “Ought not the People’s Revolutionary Party be transformed into a Communist Party?”

Comrade Lenin’s reply:

“I should not recommend it, because one party cannot be ‘transformed’ into another.” Comrade Lenin explained the essence of a Communist Party as a party of the proletariat, and said: “The revolutionaries will have to put in a good deal of work in developing state, economic and cultural activities before the herdsman elements become a proletarian mass, which may eventually help to ‘transform’ the People’s Revolutionary Party into a Communist Party. A mere change of signboards is harmful and dangerous.”

Comrade Lenin elaborated on the idea that it was possible and necessary for the M.P.R. to follow a non-capitalist path of development, the main condition for which was hard work on the part of the People’s Revolutionary Party and the Government, so that this work and the increased influence of the Party and the authorities would result in a growth of the number of co-operatives, in the introduction of new forms of economic activity and national culture, and would rally the arats behind the Party and the Government in the interests of the country’s economic and cultural development. It was only from the islets of the new economic way of life created by the efforts of the Party and the Government that the new non-capitalist economic system of arat Mongolia would take shape.