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Mongolia-Foreign Sources

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The major foreign source for media information in the late 1980s, as it had been since the 1920s, was the Soviet Union. Foreign news consisted mainly of edited material available through the Soviet news agency, Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza (TASS). Other foreign bureaus located in Ulaanbaatar were the Soviet Agentstvo Pechanti Novosti (APN) and the East German Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst (ADN). MONTSAME had a staff based in, or visiting and reporting from, all capitals of its communist allies. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and books came from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. No newspapers from the United States or Britain were being distributed in Ulaanbaatar in the late 1980s. Also, distribution channels reportedly have been faulted for causing lengthy delays in deliveries to subscribers and readers. English-language materials include Mongolia Today, a magazine geared to foreign consumption, published monthly by the Mongolian embassy in New Delhi and distributed in Mongolia.

The existing political system, ruled by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, was firmly established in Mongolia in the late twentieth century. Beginning in 1989, however, major revisions of the country's government and party structure were being undertaken, patterned after reforms going on in the Soviet Union. Although it was too early to assess the situation adequately in mid-1989, these measures were expected to meet with bureaucratic resistance, as had occurred in other communist party-ruled states undergoing reform. Still there were certain factors--political and international--that might be expected to work in favor of the reform program's success: a stable political leadership, a tradition of political conservatism and conformity, and an international climate that continued to lessen external pressures on Mongolia. The emerging relaxation in internal politics and the thaw in key external foreign relations might, if they lasted, afford Mongolian leaders valuable opportunities to establish a sense of national identity and some measure of cultural authenticity, both probably essential to Mongolia's revitalization and revival in the 1990s.

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Mongolia's contemporary politics have not been so widely studied by Western scholars as have the traditional historical subjects. A shortage of qualified linguists, the inaccessibility of the country to foreign scholars, and the fact that Mongolia has not played a major independent role in international affairs, were the main reasons for the dearth of scholarship and reporting. The most recent and inclusive source in the English language is Mongolia: Politics, Economics, and Society by Alan J. Sanders. Sanders also reports frequently on all aspects of Mongolia in the Far Eastern Economic Review. Victor P. Petrov's, Mongolia: A Profile, although dated, is also helpful. Useful articles and annual survey articles dealing with Mongolian politics appear in Asian Survey. Robert A. Rupen's How Mongolia Is Really Ruled explores the dynamics of Mongolian politics and demonstrates the importance of external factors, mainly the Soviet Union. The primary source on Mongolian legislation and legal documentation was William E. Butler's The Mongolian Legal System. A detailed study of the Mongolian Constitution is provided by George Ginsburgs in "Mongolia's `Socialist' Constitution," in Pacific Affairs.

Mongolian foreign policy matters were dealt with in Thomas E. Stolper's China, Taiwan, and the Offshore Islands, and in more detail in the annual Asian Survey articles and in Robert A. Scalapino's Major Power Relations in Northeast Asia. The United States government's Joint Publications Research Service publishes translations of selected Mongollanguage and Russian-language material. Mongol radiobroadcasts and periodicals are translated and published in the United States government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: East Asia. The annual editions of the American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies and the Bibliography of Asian Studies also should be consulted for current publications on Mongolian government and politics. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of June 1989

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