Modernisation of Ulaanbaatar: Westernisation as a way of Urbanisation

Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal , Former Leader of Mongolia, meeting Soviet leader
Mongolian army, wearing identical to those Soviet soldiers who are stationed in Mongolia
Mongolian government push Cultural Revolution to improve the education system

In order to establish socialist material and technical base in the People’s Republic of Mongolia, it is required to raise the welfare of the workers in the ideology and culture of socialism in socialism. To achieve this, all adults should be literate, sanitation, health and culture be fully introduced into the life of the people. The Mongolian government decided to conduct a series of cultural campaigns throughout the country. (MAezluf, 2017) The civilization in Mongolia

is westernization. Between 19th and 20th century, the Mongolian government developed a desire to introduce Western-style culture in Mongolia. The MPRP Central Committee and the Council of Ministers decided that “the further development of the country’s culture will only be pursued by the Soviet culture …”.  During the 20th century, which was the era of Mongolians learning Western culture through Russia, the official message of the official Prime Minister Yu Tsedenbal was “Russian is the key to learning”. (ЦЭНДДОО,2017) With a combination of raising awareness and administration of cultural campaigns, many Russian cultures and traditions have been introduced to families and communities.  Herdsmen were required to migrate to and settle in urban city away from nomadic in the 1960s.  A large group of nomadic herding families, began to form clusters. As a result of the cultural campaigns, they learned new ways of life- the culture of urban life and live in urban settings. Mongolians’ lives and minds were westernized.. The cultural campaigns coincided with the urbanization of Ulaanbaatar. (Nyamdavaa, 2017). Ulaanbaatar were becoming more and more urbanized with more and more herdsmen. A city urban form is closely related to the living modes and habits of the citizens. Therefore, the commercial and industrial zones were plotted and the residential apartments were introduced in the 1975 plan. As Ulaanbaatar was under the Soviet influence, extensive green spaces are significant in city planning – Green Corridor and public parks – to promote the sense of public and socialist.



Marzluf, P. (2017). Literacy under Authority: The Mongolian Cultural Campaigns. The Journal of Asian Studies, 76(1), 135-157

Nyamdavaa, Anand (2017). Cultural Push. Quora. Accessed on 13th December, 2018.

ЦЭНДДОО (2017).  Улаан хувьсгалч ба усанд ордог хувьсгалч. Accessed on 13th December, 2018.

1 Comment on “Modernisation of Ulaanbaatar: Westernisation as a way of Urbanisation

  1. I find it interesting how urbanization and perhaps modernization is linked to the western here in Ulaanbaatar. The clear definition and therefore separation of Soviet ideas as the “west” reflects the wider context of disparity between the two sides of the globe during this period.
    It would be nice to know more of how the nomads adapted or did not adapt to urbanization as a whole, and whether these policies have improved or modernized Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia in the long run.

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